What does Sanctuary mean to you?

Hamline Church is called to be a Sanctuary for the City. We're asking our members--what does Sanctuary mean to you?


Healthy Church Initiative

Hamline Church is in the midst of the Healthy Church Initiative, a transformational visioning and strategic planning process for high potential churches.

Read our Report


In May 2016 Hamline Church adopted five strategic recommendations as identified in the Hamline Church Healthy Church Initiative (HCI) Report.  The recommendations include:

  1. Claim a larger vision to be a Sanctuary for the City
  2. Dare to be a destination church: get simple and excellent
  3. Feed the soul
  4. Strengthen the body
  5. Make a path to the church and a clear pathway into the community.

Over the summer, the HCI leadership team identified work areas based on the HCI report and then created eight Recommendation Teams. The team leadership developed a preliminary timeline for implementation.   The teams began meeting in late summer/early fall 2016. The information below outlines the teams, their work to date, and next steps.

The HCI Leadership Team: Pastor Mariah Furness Tollgaard, Maggie Nancarrow, Sharon Fields, Jan Bajunemi, Gil Young, Barb Deming & Walker Brault

HCI Coach: Rev. Cindy Gregorson, Director of Connectional Ministries for the MN United Methodist Church

For more information or if you’d like to learn more about how you can help, please contact Pastor Mariah.


Adult Spiritual Formation

Get ready for Small Group Meetings during Lent! We invite all members of the Hamline Church community to participate in these weekly gatherings of fellowship and renewal. Hamline Small Groups will provide an accessible, safe, supportive community for Hamline members and friends to explore our relationship with God, practice spiritual discipline, strengthen existing and build new relationships, and help us care for and share more deeply with one another. More details to come! In the meantime, contact one of the team members if you would be interested in leading one of the groups.

Team members: Gil Young (lead), Anne Thompson, Barb Edgar,  Kent Krueger, Mary Kay Bailey, Mike Arvola, Peggy Fisher, René Arvola, Terri Shefelbine


The building recommendation team is tasked with looking at the various aspects of the HCI report that pertain to the building and grounds of Hamline Church. A master facility project list was created this summer by members of the Building and Grounds team in consultation with the Church Administrator and the Trustees and previous reports such as the property condition assessment.  The project list includes everything from major capital improvements (like tuck pointing) to minor work like painting.

The team has identified four major areas of emphasis: Capital Projects & Campaign, Aesthetics Projects & Upgrades, Historic Preservation/ Outside Foundation, Green Building Values & Environmental sustainability.

Capital Projects & Campaign

The master facility project list identified a number of major capital projects that are necessary for the future preservation and care of the church building. The Building Recommendation team believes these type of projects will best be accomplished by a capital campaign.  They tasked a sub-committee to begin exploring the prospects of a capital campaign. The sub-committee is interviewing capital campaign firms and exploring additional financial support options including endowment funds and debt servicing options.

They will present their findings to the Church Council and, pending approval, the likely timeline is as follows: a feasibility study will be conducted in winter/spring 2017, the project list will be finalized in spring/summer, and the capital campaign will be launched in fall 2017.

Team members: Ray Faust, Roger Greiling, Pete Theisen, Sharon Fields and Pastor Mariah Tollgaard

Aesthetics Projects & Upgrades

This sub-committee is a collaboration between trustees and the building and grounds team.  The team has identified projects from the HCI report and master facility project list that would enhance the overall appearance and welcome of the church. The possible projects include updates to common areas and bathrooms, painting and plaster repair. The sub-committee is currently pricing prospective projects and developing a work plan for the next 6-12 months.  The Church Council voted to allocate a portion of the Paulson Bequest for these projects in addition to the endowment interest income funds annual used by the trustees for repair and maintenance projects.  We are hopeful that volunteer labor might be used for some projects!

Team members: John Jakel, Bob Sellers, Barbara Leary, Jeff Driesbach, Jan Bajuniemi, Teresa Reneke, Mary Kay Olson

Historic Preservation/Outside Foundation

The care and stewardship of our beautiful and historic church for the long term is a priority to the members and friends of Hamline Church.  This sub-committee is researching the creation of a separate foundation to make Hamline Church eligible for grants from outside funding sources that would support the care and preservation of the building. They will determine legal and tax implications and then make recommendations to the Church Council.

Team members: Jane McClure, Mary Bakeman, Gregg Dahlke

Green Team

A congregational green team formed to enhance our care of creation and help the church to model good environmental practices.  This team will participate in the HCI implementation process by ensuring that green values are present throughout decision-making and discussions about building improvements. To date the team is working to reduce our energy consumption and to reduce our waste by improving our recycling practices and expanding our collection of compostable materials through a grant from the MN Chamber of Commerce’s Waste Wise program. Hamline Church has also been chosen as a pilot-site for a program with Minnesota Interfaith Power and Light (MNIPL) that allows us to receive assistance from the US Green Building Council. The team continues to pursue solar array options for the roof of the education wing.

Team members: Diane Krueger, Shirley Wright, Barb Edgar, Al Edgar, Mary Kay Olson

Staffing and Resource Audit Team

The Staffing and Resource Audit team met from late summer until October.  During that time, staff job descriptions were reviewed for possible future alignment, needs for the church were identified, and the staff identified areas where they are spending the majority of their time.  The team also worked on a congregation resource survey that will be sent out to identify areas of talent and interest of members and others who support and attend Hamline Church.  This data will then be used to identify resources for future mission and church work needs.  This information is vital to understanding the untapped talents at Hamline so they can be used as we move towards being a Sanctuary for the City and this HCI process.

Team members: Sharon Fields (lead), David Purcell, John LeFerve, Walker Brault, Mindy Greiling, Pastor Mariah Tollgaard


The Membership and Outreach team was tasked with implementing the aspects of the HCI report that pertain to hospitality and newcomer experience. This summer the team initiated a 4 week emphasis on hospitality practices through a sermon series, educational inserts in the bulletin and greeter training. Pastor Mariah and Maggie Nancarrow led the Ministry Core Team leaders in a training about hospitality at events, connecting with visitors, and intentional invites to upcoming church events. The team implemented a series of newcomer welcome events on Sunday mornings in the fall including newcomer meet-up, meet the staff and a membership inquiry class.  They officially welcomed 10 new members during worship on 12/4/16.  Next steps include the creation of a welcome/information center for Sunday mornings.

Team members: Stephanie Bowron (lead), Diane Milbrandt, Ross Hackenmiller, Beth Beaty, Carrie Faust, Virginia Anderson, Kristin Neurer, Jennie Theisen

Children & Youth

Our Spiritual Formation ministry team convenes as the HCI Children & Youth Team. This fall, we are very happy to announce that we’ve had over 60 kids involved in children and youth activities almost every week. Sunday School has 35 – 50 students each week. There are 16 students registered for Confirmation, and youth group attendance is between 18-24 bi-weekly. We are now at a critical mass for youth group, and moving to split the groups into two separate middle & high school groups.  We are developing an official safe sanctuary policy, which creates regulations and establishes routine training to prevent exploitation of children, youth, and vulnerable adults. You will also notice brightened, more carefully cared for Sunday School, Youth and Activity rooms.

Team members: Maggie Nancarrow, Amy Ireland (leads) and spiritual formation ministry team

Spiritual Leadership Development

The Healthy Church Initiative report called for us to examine how we live and work together as the body of Christ. Our team is specifically looking at ways to support congregation-wide leadership development and help everyone in the congregation to see themselves on a path of spiritual leadership formation. Within this broad focus, we have begun working with members of the church council, staff and the HCI leadership team, asking them to do three things:

  • Begin their own meetings with a “check-in” and “check-out” that invites people to share and connect with each other on a personal level, as John Wesley did when asking parishioners, “How is it with your soul?”
  • Complete a survey to help each person discern their own spiritual gifts; and
  • Develop a description for the teams they lead, answering the following questions: 
  • Membership
    • What is the mission of your team? 
    • How will you train your team members to complete this mission? 
    • Team responsibilities
    • Team leader responsibilities

Our next step is to host a spiritual leadership development training in early 2017 – stay tuned for date and agenda!

Team members: Barb Deming (lead), Linda Krueger, Amy Schultz, Pastor Mariah Tollgaard


The worship team will begin its work together this winter. The transition in the music director role delayed our formal start. However worship staff and leadership have begun to make changes such as digital recordings of the service, the addition of a microphone to enhance the sound of the choir, and increased involvement of youth and young adult participants. The team also designed and implemented the 2016-17 Hamline Music & Arts Series.  We will work with Dr. Marcia McFee, a renowned United Methodist worship consultant in summer/fall 2017 as recommended in the HCI report. This coaching is paid for by the MN Conference as part of our participation in the HCI process.

Team members: Richard Carrick, Kim Kasling, Ross Hackenmiller, Pastor Mariah Tollgaard, Bill Kimes, (others to be named)

Branding and Communications 

The Communications and Branding Team is working on two fronts: internal branding and external branding. We are working on projects that help members of the church tell our story: from the “What does Sanctuary mean to you?” project to more logistical things like external advertisements and marketing. This fall, we’re developing our presence on Google through AdGrants, and marketing through a leaflet in the Villager. You will get the opportunity to participate as we look for stories to tell about Sanctuary.

Team members: Maggie Nancarrow (lead), Ray Faust, Carrie Faust, Peter Quayle, Beth Beaty, and Craig Bowron