Church Mouse: St. John's Lutheran Church, Spring Valley

St. John's Lutheran Church is located at S520 Church Ave., Spring Valley, Wis. Kate Josephson / Contributor

The arrival of a black jeep had me convinced my timing was good. 

After enjoying being outside by the nice church building — including a glimpse of a sparkling stained-glass window through a plain glass door — I decided to go in the entrance off the parking lot. Dipping into the conveniently located women’s room led to the luxury of “champagne toast” hand soap. I thought it was probably a little better fragrance than avocado toast, it reminded me of toasted marshmallows and it wasn’t until later that an image of clinking together tall thin glasses of a bubbly celebratory beverage popped into mind.

I thought I’d read 8:45 was the start time. But the readings were well underway when I stepped farther into the building, hearing the alleluia sung before settling into a chair back by the office.


Pastor Amelia at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Spring Valley talked about the difference of “self-identifying” as Christians and actually following Christ, which she emphasized with a big arched arm wave as she strode a few steps in an oblique direction. 

She asked us to consider the “role and goal” of our MO — the actual mode of our operation. (If talking on the phone is your thing, she may have a calling for you … .)

The significance of “common language” was introduced (cheers to that), particularly as it pertains to what it means to grow, and the implications of being called to something you might not actually want to do.

There is to be future discussion of “unity” — identifying it as a term distinct from “sameness.”

We were encouraged to “tend and edify” — go beyond a level of “tolerance” by aspiring to loving acceptance for those/“them” we see as being other than ourselves.

During communion (after being greeted by a very pleasant woman making her way into the office) I wandered down the hall toward the kitchen area, admiring a series of framed paintings of the old church building. I wonder how the chicken BBQ went a few days earlier and how many people ate in the nearby park presided over by the big white horse statue.

There probably wasn’t champagne, but maybe marshmallows — and just maybe s’more unity.


Kate Josephson worked as a church secretary in Red Wing. She seeks out religious experiences wherever she goes.

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