Episcopal Starfish Dwelling

The Starfish Story: Original Story by: Loren Eisley
One day a man was walking along the beach when he noticed a boy picking something up and gently throwing it into the ocean.  Approaching the boy, he asked, “What are you doing?”

The youth replied, “Throwing starfish back into the ocean. The surf is up and the tide is going out.  If I don’t throw them back, they’ll die.”

“Son,” the man said, “don’t you realize there are miles and miles of beach and hundreds of starfish? You can’t make a difference!”

After listening politely, the boy bent down, picked up another starfish and threw it back into the surf.  Then, smiling at the man, he said, “I made a difference for that one.”

St. John's Episcopal Church in St. Cloud Minnesota

We can't help everyone but we can help one person at a time.  In that spirit, we're building a structure on our property to house one homeless person on our church's property.  The Starfish Dwelling is one of our faith community’s efforts to assist our local neighbors one person at a time. 

Over a year ago our church community moved a structure onto our property in an effort to help a member of our parish move from living on the streets to a more sustainable, self-relient lifestyle.  City officials later informed us that this structure did not comply with city ordinance or state building code.  As a result, we entered into a federal lawsuit arguing that the government was interfering with our practice of faith as stated in the Religious Land Use Act.  In an effort to settle the lawsuit and forego lengthy legal proceedings, we have come to an agreement with the city, hired an architect to draw up a state code compliant structure, and engaged the local techinical college to build our structure.  We are deeply indebted to the law firm of Gray, Plant & Mooty for their tireless (pro bono) assistance in negotiating this settlement.

Several businesses and members of our parish and local community have come together to assist us in making this mission a reality but it doesn’t come without a financial burden. As a congregation we are working diligently to keep all costs to a minimum:  Ambient Creations has provided the artitectual services that you see on this page;  St. Cloud Technical College is providing carpentry, plumbing and electrical labor as part of their academics for this 2017/2018 school year; Matthew Hall Lumber is providing building materials at a reduced cost;  C&L Excavating will provide foundational support; and Plaza Park Bank has allowed us to enter into a loan agreement to assist us in the cost of this project.

This page is one way you can help!  We hope  that you will take the time to consider how you can help us with this and other fundraising efforts we are planning in the future.  

Jesus said,  “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.”  (Matthew 25:40)  Come and walk with us! 

Blessings to you!

Donations to our church are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.

Donations (28)

  • Anonymous
    • $20 
    • 3 yrs
  • Margaret Potter
    • $1,000 
    • 3 yrs


Alexis Roy
Saint Cloud, MN
St Johns Episcopal Church
Registered nonprofit
Donations are typically 100% tax deductible in the US.

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