About us
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Our Mission

Inclusive, Intergenerational, and In Community
Walking together the words and ways of Jesus. We welcome all God’s children whatever their race, gender, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, nationality, ethnicity, marital status, physical or mental ability.  Following Christ’s example, we open our hearts, minds, and doors to welcome all.

All about Lake Harriet UMC

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As United Methodists, we have an obligation to bear a faithful Christian witness to Jesus Christ, the living reality at the center of the Church’s life and witness. To fulfill this obligation, we reflect critically on our biblical and theological inheritance, striving to express faithfully the witness we make in our own time. (source: http://www.umc.org/what-we-believe/basics-of-our-faith)

Our History

The United Methodist Church was formed when the Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren Church merged in 1968. But we trace our heritage back to the movement begun in 1729 in England by John and Charles Wesley. Find out more about our history.
The people of The United Methodist Church are part of the second largest Protestant denomination in the United States. Our worldwide connection includes approximately 12.8 million members. Below, you will find a brief list of some of the distinctive characteristics of our denomination. The United Methodist Church is:
  • Global: Today we speak many languages and live in many countries—with different cultures, ethnic traditions, national histories and understandings of Christian faith and practice.
  • Connectional: Every United Methodist congregation is interconnected throughout the denomination via a unique, interlocking chain of conferences. The United Methodist Church practices representative democracy in its governance. Conferences elect delegates who are authorized to act and vote. Learn more about our structure.
  • UMC Family Tree: The United Methodist Church was formed when the Evangelical United Brethren Church and the Methodist Church merged in 1968. But we trace our heritage back so much farther than that. From a small movement in 1700s England, our church is now global with more than 12 million members around the world. While our languages, cultures and nations of origin may differ, a common mission and history unite us in powerful ways. Find out why we say our church is Wesleyan, missional and connected.
  • Concerned about social justice: For more than 200 years, The United Methodist Church and its predecessor bodies have expressed concern for God’s children everywhere — the poor, the orphaned, the aging, the sick, the oppressed and the imprisoned. Learn more about how we serve.
  • Inclusive: All persons are welcome to attend our churches and receive Holy Communion, and are eligible to be baptized and become members. 
Minnesota Annual Conference
Pictured: Lake Harriet UMC, our district superintendent, the Minnesota Annual Conference, and MANY congregations and organizations are leaders in the way forward. Lake Harriet UMC is one of many churches, organizations, and individuals that has signed a statement by the group “Minnesota Methodists.”
To see the statement and to learn more about the work of Minnesota Methodists, click here.
Lake Harriet leadership and pastors continue to be active in the way forward. Check the website and church communications for updates.
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Our Story
Who and what Lake Harriet United Methodist Church is today is rooted in the past. Our church is like a giant tree, whose trunk connects us all, The roots are where we have come from – unseen, yet holding us steady and strong against the wind.
If we shake a limb, we touch a root. What makes Lake Harriet United Methodist Church unique is that we are grounded in strong traditions. Many of the programs we have now, we have had for the past one hundred years – re-newed and re-visioned certainly, but there all the time. We are a church with a tradition of strong preaching, mission, social justice, and outreach programs. We are known for outstanding lay leaders and a willingness to give our time and money to support the church and its ministry. Our theatre and music ministries are strong. We have an outstanding preschool. We are warm and welcoming to all. These strengths are rooted in our past and will carry us into the future.
Lake Harriet UMC celebrated its centennial in 2007.
In 1904, a group of Methodist families began meeting informally in the cottages of Linden Hills. By 1906, the families were holding Sunday school classes; and in 1907, this group became an official church when the Reverend Christopher Harper McCrea was appointed pastor. An early church historian records the origin of the church this way: “Lake Harriet Church, C. H. McCrea, was organized on September 9 [1907] with 35 members. The lot purchased two years ago [1905] for this enterprise was sold and the finest lot in the district secured.” This fine lot was located at 44th and Upton, and the building the group constructed was “48 by 50, built of frame with metal lathe and cement plaster, shingled roof, basement partially completed.” The historian concluded: “Brother McCrea has a great opportunity which he fully appreciates.”
As much as Lake Harriet Methodist members must have loved the grand church in Linden Hills, they outgrew it just the way they had outgrown the first one. After World War II, many young families began moving to the suburbs west of Lake Harriet to 50th Street. In 1948, under the leadership of Henry Lewis and his co-minister, Howard Huntzicker, the congregation purchased a lot at 49th and Chowen Avenue. The building of these two churches came at no small cost to a congregation that was going through tough financial times: a depression and two world wars. The church records from these yearly years are filled with accounts of fund-raising campaigns. Yet even through a time of church building, the congregation was committed, as it is today, to outreach and missions.
Source: excerpts taken from “Like a Tree: The Story of Lake Harriet United Methodist Church,” published in 2007. To read more of this document, click here.
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Worship at Lake Harriet United Methodist Church

a person holding a phone watching a livestream worship service, while lounging on a couch


Lake Harriet has a robust online worship service along with the 9:30 am in-person service! John Wesley said, “The world is my parish” and we believe this is true. People from across the metro area and beyond the state of Minnesota participate in online worship either during the live stream, or later when it is more convenient for them.


In the United Methodist Church, we serve communion at an open table. Everyone is invited! To learn more about Open Table, click below.

T-Coil hearing assistance is available

Throughout the sanctuary by turning your hearing aid to the T (telephone) position. For assistance, see a sound team member at the back of the Sanctuary.

Our building and sanctuary are fully accessible.

If you need access for wheelchairs or walkers in the sanctuary, see an usher.

Healing Prayers

Healing Prayers are offered on any fifth Sunday of a month.

Worshipping With Children

At Lake Harriet UMC, we embrace kids. Their sounds and presence remind us of the joy, spontaneity, and awesomeness of God. You spend enough time apart during your busy week; join us for worship as a family.

Babies & tots

Our nursery is professionally staffed and available for your child (6 months to 3 years). A beeper will notify you if your child could use your comfort. The Susanna Wesley room also provides space for families to take a break if needed. There you will have a visual of the Sanctuary through one-way glass and audio via speaker for the grown-ups, as well as the Children’s Library for kids.

Kids 3 years & up

Worship materials (books, bulletins, art supplies) are available as you enter the sanctuary. During the sermon, children have the option to accompany an adult leader to a kids’ space for a children’s message that relates to Sunday’s sermon topic. On Communion Sundays, we set this practice aside so we can all gather at God’s table together.

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Accessibility at Lake Harriet UMC
Lake Harriet United Methodist Church (LHUMC) is a vibrant, welcoming, reconciling congregation in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Since its organization in 1907, LHUMC has welcomed all, and felt a call to social action and outreach. The church has also outgrown two church buildings in its now 112-year history.

Our welcoming all is not just a nice saying, at LHUMC, all means all—Lake Harriet United Methodist Church believes all people are children of God, unconditionally loved by our Creator whatever their age, race, nationality, sexual orientation, gender identity, economic status, marital status, physical or mental ability.

Some of the ways LHUMC welcomes and is accessible to all:

  • Our parking lot features disability parking spaces.
  • The facility is fully accessible from our main exterior entrance, which features a drop-off area.
    • Our main entrance has a full-power automatic door, and features an elevator with access to the three levels of our facility. The elevator door speed is set to accommodate all abilities—not closing too quickly for those with disabilities.
  • ADA-accessible water fountains and bathrooms.
  • Braille bathroom and room signs.
  • Gender-neutral bathrooms.
  • The Sanctuary features wheelchair accessibility, wheelchair placement options in the front row, and in the center and rear of the sanctuary.
  • The Chancel/Altar/Choir area features ramp accessibility.
  • We have installed a lift in our Education Wing, making the entire Education Wing (Sunday enrichment classes and week-day preschool) fully accessible. We applied for, and received, a TEAM W Award to help defer the cost of this project
  • We have a hearing loop-enabled Sanctuary
  • Large print bulletins and hymnals.
  • We live-stream services for our friends at home, and provide sermon podcasts on our website.
  • We welcome children to every worship service, and provide children’s books reinforcing our message that God loves EVERYONE.
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Exploring Membership at Lake Harriet UMC
If you are interested in learning more about joining the church, simply email Pastor Karen Bruins (pictured), mark your Welcome Sheet during Sunday morning worship, or call the office at 612-926-7645 to share your interest.
Group of business people sitting in circle and discussing in the office. Mature woman talking with coworkers in a team building session.
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Called to be Good Stewards of the Planet

All United Methodists are called to be good stewards of the planet. One of our Social Principles about the Natural World explains: “All creation is the Lord’s, and we are responsible for the ways in which we use and abuse it. Water, air, soil, minerals, energy resources, plants, animal life, and space are to be valued and conserved because they are God’s creation and not solely because they are useful to human beings.”

At Lake Harriet UMC, we believe in caring for our earth. We have updated our building to be more efficient, are avid recyclers & composters, and have installed a rain garden on our property to reduce run-off and solar panels on our roof to reduce our electricity draw.

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Safe Sanctuaries®

We want your children to be safe at Lake Harriet UMC. We train volunteers, participate in strategic planning, and screen all volunteers & employees who care for our kids, youth and vulnerable adults utilizing the UMC Safe Sanctuaries® policies.

Reducing the Risk of Sexual Abuse: Safe Sanctuaries® is one of the “social structures that are consistent with the gospel” (Book of Discipline, ¶122) allowing our sanctuaries, classrooms, mission encounters, camps and retreats, and all spaces where we gather to worship and serve God to be places of trust.
Training is required for all persons having direct contact with children, youth, and vulnerable adults in all activities connected with local congregations, annual conferences, and camp settings. The minimum standard of training shall include an annual orientation that includes information about the Safe Sanctuaries Policy; training in the supervision of children, youth, and vulnerable adults; and training in the identification and reporting of abuse.
Those who wish to serve in ministries with children, youth, and vulnerable adults must be actively engaged in the life of the congregation for at least six (6) months prior to service, including worship, Sunday School, mission opportunities, and other ministries so that the people serving with children, youth, and vulnerable adults are known in the congregation. Groups of children and youth will be supervised by two non-related, noncohabitating adults, and each supervising adult will be five years older or more than the oldest child or youth in the group.
Safe Sanctuaries® training stresses the importance of face-to-face training and conversation when online training is used. The opportunity to talk through case studies or issues specific to a particular context is imperative so that each person working with the most vulnerable has an understanding of what is expected.

The History of Safe Sanctuaries®

In 1990, Frank O’Neal, a teacher in Tennessee, set up a fund in honor of his mother, (Mattie) and his wife (Eleanor) to challenge and assist local congregations in ministering to families and children, targeted toward prevention, intervention, and elimination of child abuse. He believed that if information on abuse was made available to pastors that they would act. The first brochure listed resources that were available through the UM National Youth Ministry Organization, The General Board of Global Ministries, The General Board of Discipleship, United Methodist Communications, and the United Methodist Association of Health and Welfare Ministries. There was so much demand for the brochures that they had to put all of the secretaries on processing duties to keep up with it.
The 1996 General Conference of The United Methodist Church adopted (and subsequently readopted) a resolution aimed at reducing the risk of child sexual abuse in the church. The foundation for this is within the Social Principles on the Rights of Children (Book of Discipline, ¶162.C). There were also two related resolutions, “Putting Children and their Families First,” and “Sexual Ethics within Ministerial Relationships,” which is now “Sexual Misconduct Within Ministerial Relationships.”
Today, each Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church has a written and accessible policy. These policies stress the importance of the Biblical mandate from Matthew 19:14, “Allow the children to come to me, don’t forbid them, because the kingdom of heaven belongs to people like these children.” (Common English Bible)
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Rev. Karen Bruins

Lead Pastor

Søren Bijnagte

Business Administrator Facilities Manager

Ariel Johnson

Director of Children, Youth, and Family Ministries | Cherub Choir Director

Kay Halverson

Office Administrator

Tami Zvolena

Communications Director

Jungjoo Park

Director of Music Ministries

Thomas Johanson

Bells Choir Director

Andrea Wright

LHUM Preschool Director

Buffy Ess

LHUM Preschool Assistant Director

Elizabeth Melton

Volunteer Coordinator
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Read our Q&A document, addressing concerns from LHUMC Members.

Invitation to Generosity: Welcoming Children

Help make these plans a reality.  Make a pledge today.

May 2024
Things are going very well in the Welcoming  Children Initiative construction and program planning/operations. Here are two updates, one from Søren Bijnagte and one from Lake Harriet UM Preschool Director, Andrea Wright.

Building renovations are on track to be ready for our expanded preschool in September. The kitchen is slowly nearing completion. The kinks in the education wing are being worked out as we prepare for a big push in June when HVAC and plumbing on the lower-level, and fire sprinklers throughout begins. As we wait for the current preschool year to end, work on the upper level continues with the framing of walls and doors, and the installation of plumbing, electrical, and HVAC.

“Lake Harriet UM Preschool is wrapping up our 70th year and it has been a whirlwind! We have many exciting end of the year events happening, our Annual Spring Concert on May 2nd, last field trip of the year to The Children’s Theater to see Frog & Toad, and will be hosting a teacher luncheon on the last day to celebrate the retirement of Sue Jordan after 26 years at Lake Harriet UM Preschool!

Enrollment for the upcoming year is full for all programming, infants, toddlers, and preschool. Families are so very excited! There is much work to be done over the summer months to prepare and we are looking for some volunteer help!

On Memorial Day Weekend, we are moving the entire preschool into storage so that construction can officially begin in the education wing on May 28th!

LHUMP will be offering a summer preschool option for our currently enrolled families to help bridge the gap between June and September while the education wing is under construction. The preschool will be setting up three classrooms in the church to serve families from June 3 – August 16.

We are beginning our search for teaching staff and have been delighted to have several teachers reach out to us with interest in joining the Lake Harriet UM Preschool teaching team! If you know anyone who is interested in employment at the preschool, please send them my way!”

– Andrea Wright, Director of Lake Harriet UM Preschool
We've had many new improvements! Check out our latest update in the PDF below:

As we prepare to welcome infants and children to a new child care center in September, lots of work is taking place right now.

Listen to the Big Announcement during Worship 12.17.2023

 On Sunday, September 24, 2023 a Church Conference was held to vote on beginning a capital campaign.  A brief presentation was given by Pastor Karen and Brandy Edmonds and Hilarie Dorsey from the Operations Team.  The capital campaign addresses current needs in the education wing (air conditioning, new heating system, air exchange) along with additional renovations to allow us to open a child care center (new bathrooms on the upper level, egress doors from the classrooms on the lower level, sidewalk on Beard Avenue, installation of non-porous, washable material for the floor, walls and ceiling of the basement kitchen.
This was followed by questions, answers, and comments.  The energy was very positive with several speakers expressing their support for expanding our ministry to include high quality childcare, with a sliding fee scale/scholarships for families that need assistance.  Several retired clergy, who are not eligible to vote at a Church Conference, offered their support, and encouragement as the congregation steps out in faith.  Affirmation for the Lake Harriet Preschool was offered by several.
The congregation paused for prayer before the vote, asking God to guide our church and our decisions, and a prayer for unity whatever the outcome of the vote.  The vote was 67 yes votes, 0 no votes, and 2 abstentions.  Following the vote, Rev. David McBride offered prayer.
The capital campaign goal is $300,000. The timeframe for the campaign is 18 months beginning January 1, 2024.  Church attenders (members, guests & constituents) are asked to prayerfully consider how they can support the capital campaign.  Those who are ready to make a pledge may do so by clicking DONATE.

Look for updates in the bulletin, e-news, and website as the capital campaign and the building renovations proceed.

Thank you, Lake Harriet for welcoming children!

August 27, 2023 Video Presentation Introduction of Capital Campaign Plan

On Sunday, August 27, 2023 a team of five; Pastor Karen Bruins, Søren Bijnagte, Dawn Uribe,
Brandy Edmonds and Hilarie Dorsey, gave an update on the strategic plan, and an exciting way for us to welcome and serve the children of our church, the Lake Harriet Preschool and the children and families of our community.

Download the presentation slides:

In 2022 church leaders and staff created the strategic plan for the next 3-5 years.
There are five bold steps that have been sharpened and refined as teams work on each step.
1) Advocate for racial and housing justice.
2) Connection groups
3) Deepen the spiritual well
4) Open a fully accredited child care center to serve the needs of our community.
5) Sanctuary updates and improvements
Questions may also be submitted via email to [email protected]
Please join us in praying for our church and community.
View detailed information in the Introduction Flyer:
Long-time members the Moffitts talk about the value of this capital campaign.
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The Minnesota Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church is the regional organization of United Methodist congregations in Minnesota. The United Methodist Church is the third-largest Christian body in the United States.

The churches of the annual conference are organized into five geographic districts: Big Waters, North Star, River Valley, Southern Prairie, and Twin Cities. Four district superintendents are appointed to oversee churches and pastors across the five districts.

Every year, lay people and clergy come together for an annual conference session, where they determine mission priorities, ordain ministers, hear challenges to grow in faith and witness, and celebrate how they have brought God’s love to others in Minnesota and around the world.

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Reconciling Ministries Network is committed to intersectional justice across and beyond the United Methodist connection, working for the full participation of all LGBTQ+ people throughout the life and leadership of the Church.