March 16, 2016
Cherokee Park United Church is located on Saint Paul’s West Side. The congregation is a merged congregation with roots going back to Saint John’s United Church of Christ, which began as an Evangelical church in 1920 and Cherokee Heights Presbyterian Church, which began in 1912. The two congregations merged in 1968. The West Side is located south of downtown St. Paul, west of South St. Paul and North of West St. Paul, a description members never tire of giving. The West Side is an economically and ethnically diverse community. It has been and remains a point of entry for many new immigrants.
Dr. Tim Johnson has been the pastor of Cherokee Park United Church since 1981 and retires on April 10, 2016. During his tenure he has served in numerous capacities in the Minnesota Conference UCC, including as moderator. In the fall of 2015 Pastor Tim was named West Sider of the Year by the local District Council and in January was named Local Legend in association with the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration. Both awards were a reflection of the commitment of Cherokee Park United Church to social justice.
During Pastor Tim’s tenure Cherokee Park United Church has established a strong reputation as a theologically progressive congregation, an advocate for LGBT citizens; among the very first to have all its electrical needs met through solar energy, a voice for immigration justice and a leader in antiracism work. Cherokee Park United Church in partnership with (ASDIC) Antiracism Study Dialogue Circles gave birth to an antiracism conference that is now in its 7th year and annually attracts over 400 people. The congregation has established a supportive relationship with the Mendota Mdewakanton Dakota Community and hosts a closing feast at their annual Pow Wow. Cherokee Park United Church partners with Clark/Grace UCC in an annual celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. and each year hosts a Sunday morning service celebrating Bishop Oscar Romero with bilingual worship.
The congregation has an average worship attendance of about 70, which includes a talented choir of 15 members who help lead the congregation in a creative blend of hymnody and world music. Those drawn to Cherokee Park United Church come because they appreciate a theologically progressive congregation, with a strong commitment to justice and where people know they can make a difference. The formation of community is core to the identity of Cherokee Park United Church with radical hospitality lived out through intentional practices of welcome.