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Erica Pearson

Reporter | Features
Phone: 612-673-4726

Erica Pearson covers faith and spirituality for the Star Tribune. Before joining the Star Tribune, she spent more than a decade at the New York Daily News, where she was an assistant city desk editor.


A Wisconsin native, Pearson has covered everything from immigration to cops and courts to lifestyle news.
Recent content from Erica Pearson
David Aquilina and his friends at Target Field.

Finding a sense of purpose and community helps combat loneliness

Joining a choir, a fix-it club or becoming a regular at a coffee shop is better for you (and those around you) than you realize.
The U.S. surgeon general issued an advisory last year calling loneliness a public health crisis.

What questions do you have for the U.S. surgeon general about loneliness?

Vivek Murthy issued an advisory last year calling loneliness a public health crisis.
An array of Girl Scout cookie boxes lined up on a table.

Are you a smart cookie? Test your Girl Scout cookie IQ

Think you know all there is to know about the iconic cookies? Take our quiz to see how you stack up.
Snowdrops poking through dry leaves.

Daffodils thought spring was here, but it's not

Here's what you can do to protect plants from our winter-like cold snap, (The snow may actually help.)
Jaw-dropping rainbow hues at Naniboujou Lodge near Grand Marais.

After Lutsen, what is the state of classic lodges in Minnesota?

These old-time lodges are steeped in history for Minnesota travelers.
Brandon Buchanan is working on finishing the lace crochet tablecloth that Kara King's grandma left incomplete when she died. Buchanan and King were ma

Grandma Jen was making a lace tablecloth when she died. A stranger stepped in to finish it.

The Loose Ends nonprofit connects volunteer crafters with unfinished knitting, crochet or sewing projects. Hundreds in Minnesota have signed up to help.
Are you lonely? You're not alone. Here's how to fight the loneliness epidemic.

Are you lonely? You're not alone. Here's how to fight the loneliness epidemic.

Our latest public health crisis is growing and impacts our health in surprising ways. But it has an antidote: social connection.
The Rev. John Nienstedt, archbishop of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, before his resignation in 2015 amid allegations of a clergy sex ab

Vatican bars former Archbishop John Nienstedt from public ministry in Minnesota, Dakotas

No crime was found under canon law, but pope calls Nienstedt's behavior "imprudent" and also forbids him from living in the three states.
Why is Gen Z obsessed with Snoopy? These Minnesotans offer a few clues.

Why is Gen Z obsessed with Snoopy? These Minnesotans offer a few clues.

Teens and twentysomethings are stalking CVS stores and donating blood to show their love for the 1950s beagle.
Christmas Eve service in 2022 at St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Minneapolis.

What are Minnesotans' most meaningful Christmas Eve traditions?

We mark the holidays with tamales, lefse, the classic movies, even an extended visit from Santa.
Evangelical pastor celebrates women in faith at her Minnesota megachurch

Evangelical pastor celebrates women in faith at her Minnesota megachurch

Pastor Becca Ketterling is uniting Pentecostal women at a time when other conservative denominations are limiting female leadership roles.
Share your most surprising and meaningful Christmas Eve traditions

Share your most surprising and meaningful Christmas Eve traditions

Fondue? Oyster stew? Midnight mass? Family ski? For a story, Star Tribune reporter Erica Pearson is collecting Minnesota Christmas Eve traditions. Share yours.
Showers for caregivers, with gifts, games and support, aren't a thing — yet

Showers for caregivers, with gifts, games and support, aren't a thing — yet

Two artists are trying to "culture hack" the idea of honoring caregivers into existence.
Rabbi Marcia Zimmerman of Temple Israel will share a message during Minneapolis’ annual interfaith Thanksgiving service.

Minneapolis' Thanksgiving interfaith service offers unity in divided times

The annual holiday tradition has heightened importance for Jews. Muslims and Christians as war rages in the Middle East.
Rabbi David Locketz of Bet Shalom in Minnetonka said he wants his congregation to know they aren’t alone.

Minnesota rabbis and imams help communities cope with fallout from the Israel-Gaza war

Local faith leaders are inundated with pleas from members who feel afraid, confused and angry.
Calvary Baptist Church is celebrating its 140th anniversary and fundraising to restore its steeple.

Landmark Minneapolis church beat the odds by thriving. Now the 121-year-old building needs some TLC.

The neighborhood mainstay is an architectural gem, but needs help to restore its steeple.
Margaret Renkl's latest book, "The Comfort of Crows" chronicles a year in her Nashville backyard. William DeShazer

Author Margaret Renkl wants you to fall in love with nature — in your own backyard

"The Comfort of Crows" writer will be in St. Paul for Talking Volumes on Nov. 1.
The big gift shop at the Walker Art Museum, shown here in 2016, is reopening with a whole new look next month.

At Walker Art Center, soon you'll be able to shop for furniture, 'collectible' home goods

The Idea House 3 "collectible design store" will sell furniture, textiles, lighting and tableware.
Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood are set to host a five-day Habitat for Humanity building event in St. Paul.

Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood will build homes for Habitat for Humanity in St. Paul

Thousands of volunteers will build dozens of homes in one block of the Heights redevelopment in 2024.
Jane Cavanaugh spoke at the St. Joan of Arc Catholic church in Minneapolis during a celebration honoring Catholic women leaders.

Minnesota women head to Rome in an effort to open the Catholic Church to female deacons

Pope Francis' monthlong synod also is addressing other sensitive topics, such as blessing gay couples.
Chronic pain is the most common reason for Minnesotans to enroll in the state’s medical marijuana program.

Marijuana may help with chronic pain. So may being in Minnesota's medical pot program.

While its effectiveness varies from person to person, using pot may lower long-term pain and curb opioid use.
Dora Zaidenweber testified at the State Capitol in March.

Dora Zaidenweber, Holocaust survivor and educator, dies at age 99

Zaidenweber gave powerful testimony to Minnesota lawmakers in March.
What's up with the 'JewBelong' billboards in the Twin Cities?

What's up with the 'JewBelong' billboards in the Twin Cities?

Lines like, "Judaism. Come for your girlfriend. Stay for the lack of hell" are sparking confusion, conversation.
Kelly Smith hosts the Mindful in Minutes podcast.

Kid can't sleep? Anxious? Minneapolis yogi and podcaster shares ways to cope

The author of "Meditation for the Modern Family" outlines how children and adults can keep calm.
Mashed potato wrestling has been a favorite event during Barnesville’s Potato Days festival.

Minnesota town's Potato Days to skip mashed potato wrestling this year

Past champ called the Barnesville showdowns the "Kentucky Derby" of spud wrestling matches.
A sleep mask under a starry sky of marijuana leaves

Can pot help you sleep better?

The answer is a qualified maybe.
’Twas the Night Before, Cirque du Soleil’s holiday show, will have a two-week run at Northrup.

Cirque du Soleil's holiday show is coming to Minneapolis for the first time

"'Twas the Night Before" is inspired by the classic Christmas Eve poem.
Two Minneapolis congregations held a celebration to mark the change in building ownership.

An aging Minneapolis church gave its building to a younger congregation

New City Church will focus on community and "healing justice."
Lou T. Fisk decorates the water tower in Madison, Minn.

Do you like lutefisk? Help this Minnesota town celebrate Norsefest competition

To take part in the 50-year-old fest in Madison, Minn., you need to be able to eat lutefisk — and keep it down for one minute.
Parishioners did the sign of the cross at the end of Friday Mass at St. Joseph Church.

A church is all this Minnesota town has, and it might be demolished

Parishioners at St. Joseph's in Rosen say the church is their community.
Sisters Natalie Redinger, center, and Heather Dewitt, center right, dance around a maypole at the American Swedish Institute in 2021.

6 ways to celebrate the summer solstice in Minnesota

Minnesotans are embracing gatherings, festivals and quiet rituals to mark the longest day of the year.
Schulze Lake Beach in Lebanon Hills Regional Park was closed Friday.

Schulze Lake in Eagan closed due to potential viral outbreak

Beach, water activities off-limits in Lebanon Hills Regional Park until further notice
Missing kayaker's body found in Mississippi River in St. Cloud

Missing kayaker's body found in Mississippi River in St. Cloud

A boater called 911 to report the discovery at the St. Germain Street bridge.
Minnesota's class of 2023 offered heartfelt advice, crowd-sourced content and humor

Minnesota's class of 2023 offered heartfelt advice, crowd-sourced content and humor

Keynote themes include embracing "lived experiences," drawing your own Venn diagram for success
Humanists MN paid for two billboards, including this one at Como Ave. and Marion St., this spring.

Minnesota humanists take out billboards to spread the secular word

The state's largest group of nonbelievers aims to fight what they see as a push to impose Christian beliefs in government.
Crystals fill a spiritual need for anxious, stressed Minnesotans

Crystals fill a spiritual need for anxious, stressed Minnesotans

In times of anxiety and loneliness, stones like selenite and rose quartz are popular.
At the new Punk Rock Museum in Las Vegas, the old sign from Minneapolis’ defunct Triple Rock Social Club hangs behind the bar.

Planning a trip to Las Vegas? Here are 4 museums worth gambling on

Spots include a new punk-rock museum with a surprising Minnesota connection.
Sim Glaser, Minneapolis' rock 'n' roll rabbi, dies at 67

Sim Glaser, Minneapolis' rock 'n' roll rabbi, dies at 67

Drew Brockington is not really an astronaut.

Minneapolis writer behind CatStronauts graphic novels is ... allergic to cats?

Graphic novelist is set to appear at Talking Volumes event in Rochester.
How did egg coffee become a Minnesota tradition?

How did egg coffee become a Minnesota tradition?

This smooth brew was a common offering around the state before the proliferation of modern coffee machines. You can still find it, if you know where to look.
Amin Aaser gestured as he spoke during his nightly "Ramadan Camp" livestream show Wednesday night, March 29, 2023 from his Brooklyn Park studio. Amin

From his Brooklyn Park studio, this dad brings 'Ramadan Camp' to thousands

Amin Aaser founded Noor Kids to help give Muslim children a sense of pride in their religious identity
Child in purple coat hunts for Easter eggs at Renovation Church in Blaine.

More Minnesota churches are going all in on everything Easter — even the bunny

Massive egg hunts, petting zoos, even an egg roll food truck are part of a "holistic" approach to the holiday.
This Passover matchmaking service finds spots at Twin Cities seder tables

This Passover matchmaking service finds spots at Twin Cities seder tables

TC Jewfolk helps people find a seder or extend an invite.
Corned beef will still be on the menu for many Catholics this St. Patrick’s Day, even though the holiday falls on a Friday.

This St. Patrick's Day, it's OK for Catholics to eat corned beef in St. Paul, but not in New Ulm. Why?

Most Minnesota bishops have granted a special dispensation for the holiday, which falls on a Friday.
Sarah Moe is the founder of Sleep Health Specialists.

Don't lose sleep about 'springing forward'

A Twin Cities sleep educator answers all your questions about snoozing.
These Minnesotans are combining faith and fitness in surprising ways

These Minnesotans are combining faith and fitness in surprising ways

Physical well-being is part of mission of a growing number of churches.
This Mpls. pastor uses his church sign to spread joy — part dad joke, part holy missive

This Mpls. pastor uses his church sign to spread joy — part dad joke, part holy missive

At University Baptist, the Rev. Doug Donley telegraphs his church's mission and some humor.
Joan Lexau

Children's author Joan Lexau dies at 93; Minnesota was 'heart and home'

Joan Lexau, who died in January at age 93, wrote more than 50 books, including "That's good. That's bad." and "Striped Ice Cream."
Brian McNeill at his home in Minneapolis in 2020.

Pope's comments answer prayers for Twin Cities LGBTQ community

This week, the pontiff called on bishops to reject laws that criminalize being gay.
Scout Isaac Ortman has spent more than 1,000 nights outside.

Duluth Scout sleeps outside for more than 1,000 nights — and counting

For the 14-year-old, the challenge is "just fun."
Science Museum exhibit shows how bias is part of being human

Science Museum exhibit shows how bias is part of being human

The Bias Inside Us, a Smithsonian traveling exhibit, will be here through Feb. 24.
Pope Benedict XVI, photographed in Turkey in 2006, stepped down in 2013, the first pope in 600 years to retire.

Minnesotans set to remember Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI

Memorial Masses are planned at the Cathedral of St. Paul and the Basilica of St. Mary in Minneapolis.
This holiday will be the first shared by several congregations now housed at New Branches in Minneapolis.

One home, three churches — and a shared Christmas in Minneapolis

By banding together, three denominations are sharing a building and brighter futures.
St. Paul’s own big top Circus Juventas in St. Paul offers youth, from toddlers to young adults, training in a wide variety of circus arts.

10 novel 'kidsperiences' make great gifts

Dogsledding, llama-hugging, indoor ziplines and more offer fresh thrills for kids of all ages.
The River Valley megachurch, with multiple locations including this one in Apple Valley. is focusing on Christmas Eve services but not holding any ser

Church on Christmas Day? Some Twin Cities pastors are giving it a pass

Dec. 25 falls on a Sunday, but some Protestant churches say members would rather be home on Christmas morning.
These Minnesotans are pushing back against the rising tide of antisemitism

These Minnesotans are pushing back against the rising tide of antisemitism

They are combating hate with workshops and conversations.
The Kugel Kindness crew in the kitchen of Bet Shalom synagogue in Minnetonka.

2 hours, 20 kugels, 1 recipe for kindness: Minnesota synagogue delivers comfort

Bet Shalom group Kugel Kindness gives "a little lift" to fellow congregants with delivered meals.
The Rev. Patrick Neary will be St. Cloud’s next bishop.

Pope appoints Indiana native as new bishop in St. Cloud

Pope Francis appointed the Rev. Patrick Neary to succeed Bishop Donald Kettler.
Can you eat your Christmas tree? A Twin Cities forager reveals the answer

Can you eat your Christmas tree? A Twin Cities forager reveals the answer

Being able to correctly identify edible trees — and reach the branches — is essential.
A shrine to St. Cloud, the patron saint of the Diocese of St. Cloud, is inside St. Mary’s Cathedral downtown.

St. Cloud priest who pleaded guilty to sex abuse is dismissed from priesthood

While serving a prison sentence for criminal sexual conduct, Anthony Oelrich had remained a priest.
Angels of the Prairie Chapel and grounds in Cambridge., Minn. on Sunday October 23, 2022.

Minnesotans gave these three old churches surprising second lives

Abandoned spaces and forgotten altars are reinvented — as a brewery, vacation rental and wedding chapel.
Retha Dooley, recovery leader, dies at 74

Retha Dooley, recovery leader, dies at 74

A manager at Rolling Soles on Lake Street, she also helped build a community of outdoor skaters.
Toddler shot, wounded in Minneapolis, police say

Toddler shot, wounded in Minneapolis, police say

The girl is hospitalized but not gravely injured.
Task force finds drugs, guns and nearly $100K in northern Minnesota home

Task force finds drugs, guns and nearly $100K in northern Minnesota home

The bust took place at a home in Virginia, Minn.
Art teacher Bill Kobe was excited to find treasures for his class at the Circulation Day event at Unity Minneapolis in Golden Valley on Sept. 5.

Golden Valley church promotes 'decluttering with a purpose'

A core belief called the "law of circulation" frees space for something new by getting items to those who need them.
A shrine to St. Cloud, the patron saint of the Diocese of St. Cloud, is inside St. Mary’s Cathedral downtown.

Survivor wants to know what will happen to abusive St. Cloud priest once he's out of prison

The Rev. Anthony Oelrich pleaded guilty to criminal sexual conduct, yet is still a member of the priesthood.
Queen Sonja of Norway is set to visit Minneapolis.

The queen of Norway is coming to Minnesota

Queen Sonja will help a Minneapolis church celebrate its centennial, meet the governor and more.
From left, Deacon Lauren Morse-Wendt, Pastor Jeff Sartain and Pastor Anna Helgen stand outside Edina Community Lutheran Church with a sign that reads

Some Twin Cities faith communities are becoming more vocal in supporting abortion rights

Many Minnesota churches have long been part of the anti-abortion movement, but local religious perspectives on abortion are diverse and often nuanced.
Karen Armstrong will appear at the Fitzgerald Theater on Sept. 14 as part of Talking Volumes to talk about her new book, “Sacred Nature: Restoring O

Author and former nun Karen Armstrong reflects on climate change and 'Sacred Nature'

Talking Volumes guest wonders: Is there a spiritual solution to climate change?
What's it like to be Amish? Minnesota man answers all on TikTok

What's it like to be Amish? Minnesota man answers all on TikTok

Eddie Swartzentruber ran away from his settlement in Harmony, Minn., as a teen.
Meta Herrick Carlson read passages from her book “Ordinary Blessings for Parents: Prayers, Poems, and Meditations for Family Life” at Moon Palace

First day of school? Dad bod? Unsolicited advice? Twin Cities pastor has a blessing for that

Meta Herrick Carlson's book "Ordinary Blessings for Parents" has a verse for nearly every parental moment.
Hot dish ministry volunteer Belle Scott delivered a meal to Gene and Jolene Roehlkepartain.

Minnesota's hot dish ministries serve parishioners in need

These volunteers organize comforting meals when church members need them most.
Ella Holt, 16, of Minneapolis, performs a juggling act as "Ella the Yellow" during the State Fair's Amateur Talent Contest Audition Monday, July 25, 2

Minnesota State Fair hopes it's 'back to normal' this year, with revived features — and a giant loon

Baby animals, amateur talent, mass karaoke and a giant loon are among the beloved attractions returning or debuting at 2022's Great Minnesota Get-Together.
Penny Baumann, 1, smells a zinnia benary giant flower harvested by her mom, Andria Baumann of Andover, as they picked flowers for a bouquet at Emery A

Pick your own flowers at these U-pick flower farms in Minnesota

A growing number of pick-it-yourself flower farms taking root in Minnesota.