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

Rev. Rachel Bauman

Rachel is pastor, the spiritual leader of the St. John’s community, where all members represent the full ministry of our church.

Rachel came to St. John’s in 2018 from First Congregational Church in Berkeley, California. She received her bachelor’s degree in political science and government from Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington, her master of education degree from the University of Vermont in Burlington, Vermont, and her master of divinity degree from Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley.

“I am excited about what God might be calling us to do,” Rachel says. “How might we continue to live into our call of being the church and spiritual center for the whole community? How might we deepen our ability to be a place where people can be nourished for their particular work in the world, including through worship, fellowship, classes and retreats? How might we nurture our children and help them incorporate God’s love into their daily lives? How might we be called as a body to respond to God’s call to be part of healing and loving the world? I feel so very blessed to be part of this church and this community.”

I am excited about what God might be calling us to do… I feel so very blessed to be part of this church and this community.


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

Lee Baker, Woods Hall Rep

Michael Childers, Secretary

Michael Collins, Member

Ron Harrold, Vice-President

Ralph “Max” Imholte, Treasurer

Rob Karwath, Member

Jerry Speckein, Member

Julie Stryker, Member

Marty Vadis, Member

Rev. Rachel Bauman, Pastor