When I arrived at St. Matthew’s, St. Paul in September 2005, I was delighted to encounter men, women and children not only of Norwegian, Swedish, and Irish ancestry, but also from Uganda, Nigeria, Jamaica and the Philippines. The Holy Spirit had placed our church close to the St. Paul Campus of the University of Minnesota, International Student Housing, and Luther Seminary. Men, women and children who had grown up in the Anglican Church abroad connected with us because our worship reminded them of home.
While the Spirit had worked through the St. Matthew’s community over the years to offer hospitality to Christians from around the world, church participants from other countries were on the margins of our church’s life. As first generation immigrants, many of them were working at least one job and going to school. Quite a few of our international parishioners were in the health care field where they ended up assigned to night shifts, which made their church attendance infrequent and church connections minimal.