A Church for You

St John's is a church and spiritual center for the whole community - whether you are here year-round or for only a few days or weeks a year. Together we cultivate faith, convene community, and create opportunities to discover the Spirit alive in each of us.

St. John’s is the church and spiritual center for our whole community.

Located on the shores of Madeline Island in the pristine waters of western Lake Superior, we sit among a 21-island archipelago comprising the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. Since 1925, we have been Madeline Island’s center of religious, spiritual and communal life in this vibrant, lively community.

We are a community of people living diverse lives surrounded by natural beauty. We are artists, painters, weavers, poets, writers, jewelry designers and more. We are singers, pianists, guitar players, song writers and band leaders. We are business leaders, professionals and entrepreneurs. We are families leading alternative lives off the grid and barely scraping by. We are farmers, tradespeople, hospitality workers, gardeners, historians, livestock breeders, fishermen and construction workers.

We are 300 year-round residents, about 2,500 seasonal residents, and tens of thousands of one-day visitors. We are 15 children attending a two-room schoolhouse. We are people whose mail is delivered across the waters of Lake Superior by ferry boat, windsled and ice road. We are people descended from missionaries, loggers, fur traders, lighthouse keepers, pioneer farmers and Ojibwe elders.

We are a small church, but we do big things! We welcome everyone, regardless of where they may be on their faith or spiritual journey. We are traditional. We are non-conformist. We celebrate the changing seasons, delighting in long, hot summer days and cocooning during cold, quiet winters. Come! See what we are all about!

Our People

Nathan Holst

Nathan Holst (they/he) is a pastor, organizer, and song leader who is incredibly grateful to be called to St. John’s Church on Madeline Island. Nathan is passionate about helping others discover their inner wisdom and calling in the world. They want to join others in dreaming of another world where justice flows and all reach for their best possibilities. They are often found biking, cross-country skiing, spending time with their partner and two young kids, or singing with Lake Superior.


Susan Sabre

I am thankful for my job as Office Manager at St. Johns.

It draws on many of my talents that I am so happy to share. From the details of QuickBooks accounting to the artistic design of the bulletins for Sunday worship, and much more, it is perfect for me. I am grateful I have such great people to support. Marina and Rachel couldn’t have been or be better mentors. 

In 1989, when I walked into Wood’s Hall and saw every style of floor loom and learned I could use them…well, I just moved here.  Sewing was my first art. I love working with fibers to create beautiful things. 

About 8 years ago I started raising Coton de Tulears – LakeSuperiorCotons.com. They are such wonderful little companion dogs. They have become the church dogs… and love to cuddle down in my box of recyclables. They greet everyone with a riot of barking which I know is out of their great affection for me. 

And occasionally I get to play the organ!!


Sheri Milburn

Music Director at St. John’s UCC on Madeline Island 

Sheri landed on Madeline Island 30 years ago and has been making music at St. John’s ever since. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in music and a Master’s in Education. In addition to providing worship service music and choral accompaniment, Sheri is also the Music Director for Positivity Theater for Youth and has provided musical support for numerous community productions and events. She worked for the School District of Bayfield as the K-12 Director of Gifted and Talented programming, and taught kindergarten and fourth grades there, as well as grades K-2 at the La Pointe School. Besides music, Sheri enjoys outdoor activities, reading, and spending time with friends.

Church Council Members

Debbie Knopf,  President

Julie Stryker, Vice President

Lee Baker, Secretary

Ralph “Max” Imholte, Treasurer

John Apitz, Member

Glenn Carlson, Member

Helen Cellon, Member

Michael Collins, Member

Mark Pass, Member

Marty Vadis, Member