Local Mission Spotlight: The Depot Church

Date posted: Friday 12 July 2019

The City of Hugo was originally formed around the Northern Pacific Railway Depot Station. The Depot was a place where the train would pause, refuel, and then go back into the world. It was the stopping place between the Twin Cities and Duluth. Pastor Brian Norsman thought, “What a concept for a church!”


The Depot Church could be a space to pause from the business of life, reflect on our identity in Christ, refuel with our Triune God and beloved community, then go back out into the world a little more whole. When we began worshipping together in community, Pastor Brian and I were moved by the community’s reaction to weekly communion. We found ourselves in conversations with people who couldn’t believe they were welcome to the Lord’s table of grace. For many, it had been a long time since they were even invited to hear and receive, “The body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ given and shed for you.” We have found The Depot Church is not just a place to pause, reflect, and refuel. It is a place of deep healing for many who had given up on being invited, welcomed.


It is such an honor to be on this train with with our Depot Church family and witnessing how God is moving, changing, growing, and leading. And this is not just a story about The Depot Church. This is a story about us, all of us. What God is doing at The Depot Church is being done through the many faithful people who continue to support local mission. The Depot Church is just one of the many beautiful communities reaching out to people who are looking for a place to belong.


Just in our St. Paul Area Synod we have eight mission starts. Joy Fellowship Chinese Church is the only Lutheran Chinese Church in Minnesota. The Good Samaritan Lutheran Church is intentional in reaching out to the Hmong communities on the East Side of St. Paul. Humble Walk is a worship community of seekers who meet at the Art House in St. Paul. Shobi’s Table does church out of a food truck for folks in St. Paul who struggle on the margins. Cristo Rey seeks to connect with the growing Latino population. Lydia Place is a collaborative community along the Green Line and University Avenue, in St. Paul’s Creative Enterprise Zone. The African National Ministry is an outreach to the Anuak Community in Minnesota. Lastly, The Depot Church in Hugo who serves those hungry for God’s grace in Hugo and the surrounding areas.


Everyday I thank God for you. We are called to do amazing things together as one body. Our mission together is God size. To see how the Creator of the Universe continues to work in us and through us is humbling and one wild adventure after another. Thanks be to God!


About the Author - The Rev. Jenny Sung is the Pastor of Mission Development at St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church in Mahtomedi, which launched The Depot Church in 2019. As a “church without walls,” the Depot Church worships at an elementary school, but carries out ministry in the community’s American Legion hall, homeless shelters, school carnivals, Lion’s Club kitchens, coffee shop tables, memory care facilities and more.