The Rev. Lowell Johnson Appointed to Greater Minneapolis Council of Churches Board of Directors

May 26, 2015

From Inez Bergquist, St. Mark’s Cathedral:

Deacon Rev. Lowell Johnson of St. Mark’s was recently appointed by Bishop Prior as representative of the Episcopal Church in Minnesota to the Greater Minneapolis Council of Churches. The May annual meeting of GMCC introduced Lowell as a new board member and recognized Inez Bergquist, who served GMCC as  chair of the advancement committee, as a departing board member.

The board of GMCC is comprised appropriately of representatives from all the main Christian denominations which are either clergy or lay members, and at-large community members who are committed people of faith.

Rev. Johnson replaced Inez Bergquist (pictured together above), appointed by Bishop Jelinek 12 years ago. The late Rev. Rosalie Heffelfinger “Rody” Hall preceded her as the ECMN representative.

The Greater Minneapolis Council of Churches, was started in 1905 as the Hennepin County Sunday School Association to offer workshops to Sunday School teachers. The name change in 1951 reflected a focus on social justice, uniting all Christian denominations in social action.

GMCC is headed by Noya Woodrich, an Augsburg graduate and Native of Alaska who grew up in Wisconsin, and was long time head of the Division of Indian Work at GMCC.

The current board chair is Paula Phillippe, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota director of Human Resources.

The St. Paul Area Council of Churches and the Minnesota Council of Churches focus on the St. Paul and statewide geographical areas-the Minnesota Council focusing on Refugee resettlement programs and interfaith programs, and St. Paul Council focusing on social service in St. Paul.

Minnesota Foodshare is the probably the best known of GMCC programs, which raises money and awareness for state food shelves. The Division of Indian Work, which addresses health and social needs of the Native community. is another large part of GMCC ministries. Other services include Kinship,  a youth mentoring service, pastoral education for prison and hospital ministry, senior services for home maintenance, and a program to promote self-sufficiency in the West African Community. A complete list of programs and descriptions are available on the website at

The Division of Indian Work has a culturally sensitive native food shelf program, called Horizons Unlimited, which the St. Mark’s Wells Foundation has funded in past years.

For more information, to volunteer for one of the programs or give a monetary donation, contact Robyn Baumgarten, congregational relations and volunteer coordinator at, phone 612-279-6312, or speak with Rev. Lowell Johnson at St. Mark’s (