We’ve driven past the A-frame building near the tracks hundreds of times. I’ve never been inside it. But like Pastor Scott said, True North Church in Cannon Falls isn’t so much about the building.

I remember him coming into the church building where I worked shortly after he and his family (chemical engineer wife and three sons, per the Chamber of Commerce’s recent video) moved to Cannon. My muddy shoes were by the side of the desk and I apologized to the man with really dark straight hair and steel-rimmed glasses — but I digress. In keeping with his approach to ministry he was out in the community introducing himself.

He’s currently doing a sermon series about hope. Going back a week to hear a previous sermon, he talked about noticing increased anxiety in the community at large, and thus a greater need for “koinonia” — spiritual connection. Pastor Scott commented that you don’t need to share uncomfortable details of your struggles in order to ask for prayers.

He also reminded us to, as the psalmist said, “Look to the hills.”

Emphasizing the need of each of us to, “get alone with the Lord,” he shared that he does that by going into nature. Others might listen to music, read or both. It’s important to “fight the urgency” to do something else while being soulfully restored. And as true as our internal compass may be, we were reminded that our vision is by nature limited.

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The message for Nov. 29, 2020, was about “Emmanuel” meaning “God with us.” We were assured that God is always near, personal and limitless. Our individual struggles are known and spiritual strength is available. Sometimes we may need to repent, which literally means “turn around.” (I remember Mom offering that as practical advice to find your way back, such as to your car in vast parking areas. Turn around and take note of what things look like heading back that direction.)

Pastor said that we’re not just a show for the almighty’s entertainment — God “takes an active role in history.”

There’s talk of creating a local chapter of the ecumenical youth organization, TreeHouse. It’s is being explored as a way to help teens gain a sense of acceptance, belonging and resilient hopefulness.