It’s back-to-school time and I don’t know about you, but at our house it’s a time of great anticipation. Waiting for the class schedule, waiting for the bus schedule, waiting to find out what team we are on, waiting for the new calendar that will shape how we spend the next nine months. And, as much as that waiting is ingrained in my experience, I much prefer the rhythm of October when most of the waiting is done.


Some of you know that for the past year I have been a part of a fantastic mission start team in Hugo. What that means is we were asked to go out and explore if Hugo is a fit for the grace-filled ministry like the one practiced at St. Andrew’s.

What you might not know- is the first step in mission exploration is prayer. So, for the last year, I have been in prayer and discernment with several wonderful people on what a grace-filled, community-centric church could look like in Hugo, MN. As we got engaged with the Hugo community, I wanted to jump in and say, “Yes!” let’s do this! At every corner- from the Tough Mudder run to the Good Neighbor Days to the launching of the St. Andrew’s Family Shelter- the community that gathered around our exploration team seemed hungry for community anchored in faith, love and grace. And yet, it wasn’t until this summer, when we brought our findings to the St. Andrew’s Church Council and area Synod to be approved to commence a church start in Hugo, that I felt the true confidence of what God is building.

The only question I consistently received is “what’s with the name?” From our marketing team to the church council, (and quite honestly even some of my own family members), people have asked, “Why The Depot?” The answer is simple: it came from the community of Hugo- a community establishing their own identity, a community hungry to gather, a community in need of a place to refuel.

In the church world we can get caught up in terminology of church plant, mission site, pop-up church, satellite church, etc. In fact, I’ve seen churches where this very discussion has split them apart. We are not interested in building a brand; instead we are quite simply widening our table. Rather than ruminate on what to call ourselves, we have stayed focused in mission. We are building community, extending grace and inviting more people into God’s family.

And, just like Abram and Sari and Jacob and Simon; Naomi and Saul and Joseph and Daniel, just a few of the names that change in the Bible, we find confidence in knowing we are called to be in community together, regardless of name. The Depot Church is a community of St. Andrew’s. A community committed to providing excellent ministry, proclaiming the gospel, living in Christ and serving others.

Our first worship service will be held Sunday, Sept. 16, at 5:15 p.m. in Oneka Elementary School, Hugo, Minnesota. Join us!

Pastor Brian Norsman