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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
Rev. Yolanda Norton gave an impassioned sermon during the “Beyoncé Mass” service at Plymouth Congregational Church on Friday, May 13, 2022 in Min

Beyoncé Mass comes to Minneapolis

Worship services inspired by star held in Plymouth Congregational Church, set for George Floyd Square
Dale Carlson

Dale Carlson, Hillside Cemetery superintendent and director at Washburn- McReavy, dies at 72

He took a job with the grounds crew as a teen and rose to become foreman and superintendent before overseeing wider operations.
Pysanky are a part of fundraising efforts for Ukraine this year.

Minnesota churches host Ukrainian Easter egg workshops and sales to help relief efforts

As Orthodox Easter approaches, they are pitching in with pysanky workshops and fundraisers.
In the front from left: Barbara Souther, Carolyn Brunelle and Lisa Drew rehearsed with director Phillip Brunelle for an Easter Sunday service at Plymo

This Easter Sunday, Minnesota church choirs are letting their voices ring again

Easter Sunday's celebratory sounds set to return for singers and congregations.
Some Seder meals make current events part of the tradition.

These Minnesotans are bringing social justice to the Seder table

This Passover, some Jewish families are telling not only the story of the Israelites, but of George Floyd, too.
Imam Asad Zaman led a group of teenagers including youth leader Maaz Mohammad, right, in a discussion on Ramadan at Blaine Muslim Community Center on

Muslim teens in Minnesota prepare for holy month with 'Ramadan rehearsal'

Youth leaders at Blaine Muslim Community Center offer spiritual and practical help before fasting begins.
Pastor Travis Norvell heads home after an after-service gathering at Judson Memorial Baptist Church in Minneapolis on Sunday, March 20, 2022. Biking p

On the go with Minneapolis' pedaling pastor

G. Travis Norvell on his new book and how he got MPR to include daily bike commute reports
The International Owl Center’s latest auction includes this painting, shown as a detail.

Minnesota International Owl Center to hold more auctions to benefit Ukrainian kids

First auction of owl art raised $100,000.
Worship apps prompt Minnesotans to pray every day

Worship apps prompt Minnesotans to pray every day

Newly popular prayer apps like Hallow and Glorify follow the successful formula of meditation apps.
Minnesota’s International Owl Center is hosting a benefit auction that includes this painting (shown as a detail) by a 10-year-old Ukrainian girl.

Art by Ukrainian kids to be auctioned by Minnesota's International Owl Center

The sale of the art, collected through the center's annual art contest, will benefit Ukrainian children.
Claude Riedel is a Minneapolis artist known internationally for crafting Ner Tamids -- the beautiful “eternal lights” that hang in Jewish synagogu

Minneapolis artist spreads the sacred light to synagogues around the world

Local show celebrates the work of Claude Riedel, who has created ner tamids for more than 175 synagogues.
The Rev. Michael Le Buhn Jr. placed glitter ashes on Paul Wyatt of St. Paul on a Hastings street corner on Wednesday. The purpose of the glitter ashes

Some Hastings clergy mark Ash Wednesday with glitter to support LGBTQ faithful

New efforts add sparkle to the solemn first day of Lent.
Rabbi Gershon Grossbaum readied the menorah before the start of the 2020 Drive-in Chanukah Spectacular at the St. Louis Park Lunds & Byerlys.

Why did so many Jewish people move to St. Louis Park decades ago?

The western suburb is famously associated with Minnesota's Jewish population, which built a sizable community there in the latter half of the 20th century.
At St. Augustine Church, the Rev. Robert Grabner presided over communion at the Latin mass service in South St. Paul, Minn. on September 6, 2021.

Generational shift over worship roils some Twin Cities Catholic congregations

Many young priests are more traditional, alienating some older church members.
Rabbi Jill Crimmings rolled and braided challah dough at her home in Minnetonka as family dog Zelda kept a watchful eye. She tells biblical stories wi

Every week, Minnetonka rabbi tells stories from the Torah in braided bread

Bet Shalom Congregation's Jill Crimmings illustrates a weekly Torah reading one intricate challah loaf at a time.
Vietnamese Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh, center, arrives for a great chanting ceremony at Vinh Nghiem Pagoda in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam on March 16, 2

Twin Cities Buddhists honor Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh

They join a worldwide outpouring for the influential teacher and peace activist who died Saturday.
Rabbi Michael Adam Latz in the sanctuary of Shir Tikva.

Prominent rabbi resigns from south Minneapolis synagogue Shir Tikvah

Michael Adam Latz, a prominent social justice advocate, had "significant issues" with staff interactions
The Rev. Jia Starr Brown resigned after the discovery of “financial obligations exceeding $6 million” at First Covenant Church.

The Rev. Jia Starr Brown resigns from Minneapolis' First Covenant

The senior pastor had been congregation's first woman, first Black person and first gay person to fill the role
Are you a bad sleeper? Even a small break from booze could help

Are you a bad sleeper? Even a small break from booze could help

Alcohol has an outsized effect on rest because it worsens sleep in many ways.
SouthCross Community Church’s annual drive-through living Nativity brings a bit of Bethlehem to Burnsville.

Minnesota's outdoor Christmas pageants bring congregations together

More churches have started hosting drive-through events in the pandemic.
One shot near Eagan outlet mall

One shot near Eagan outlet mall

Police say victim was brought to nearby hospital, but did not provide condition
Timothy Lee Otto

Hastings man charged with burning friend's dead body in a trash can

Timothy Lee Otto charged Friday in July incident
The U’s Bell Museum has plenty to offer, from stargazing parties to planetarium film festivals.

Bell Museum 'star parties' take Minnesotans to the 'edge of the universe'

For now, the monthly star parties are a virtual experience. A camera at the back of the museum's telescope captures close-up images, which are streamed via Zoom.
Shot in 1918, “Grace” by Eric Enstrom is the official state photograph of Minnesota.

Minnesotans reflect on the power of giving thanks before a meal

Whether you say grace, give a blessing or go DIY, dinnertime rituals create connection and mindfulness.
Rosemary “Pinky” Hail Conner

Rosemary "Pinky" Hail Conner, tribal advocate and Marine veteran, dies at 81

In her hometown of Watonga, Okla., Rosemary Hail Conner was teased for wearing hand-me-down clothing. That's why the brand-new pink dress she received as a…
Apps like The Short Years say they aim to help parents actually fill out a baby book, and end the guilt.

Is it possible to end baby-book guilt?

New apps, daily prompts and subscription services aim to help parents complete the beloved books.
Jake and Mara Klocksien, 6 and 3 respectively, stood outside their home in southwest Minneapolis during the 1991 Halloween blizzard. Pamela Gaard dres

The Halloween blizzard stories you've been telling (and retelling) for 30 years

From blizzard babies to sharing shovels, these tales of Minnesota's epic 1991 storm are worth sharing.
Share your stories and photos of the epic 1991 blizzard

Where were you during the 1991 blizzard?

Share your winter tales of the epic Halloween snowstorm
Matt Ouren plays Jack the Scarecrow in “The Spookley Halloween Show!”

Twin Cities theater company films new Spookley puppet show

The square pumpkin is celebrating 20 years and is part of anti-bullying efforts
There’s a real dark side to perfectionism that has a strong impact on people’s physical and mental health.

Is perfectionism making you less happy and less productive? Tips to tackle your inner critic

Once sought after, perfectionism is increasingly being seen as an obstacle to a happy, healthy life.
WCCO Radio host Jordana Green  returns to the studio after treatment for cancer

WCCO Radio host Jordana Green back in studio after cancer treatment

Green, back from a leave to focus on her recovery, had been broadcasting from her bedroom during the pandemic.
Kao Kalia Yang stood for a portrait at the East Side Freedom Library Tuesday afternoon.

The bench from Kao Kalia Yang's 'A Map into the World' has a new home

St Paul author Kao Kalia Yang's poignant picture book tells the story of her neighbor, Bob. His bench has a new home at the East Side Freedom Library.
Nell Hurley, right, led Megan Vanderbilt through a strength training circuit at her in-home studio.

Is it time to stop drinking? More Minnesotans are asking themselves that question

With dry bars, recovery workouts and a thriving support community, Minnesotans are taking a new approach to sobriety.
After a flash flood warning expired, people in downtown Minneapolis walked through a light drizzle Friday morning.

Storm threat downgraded for metro area, but rain still coming

Tornado warnings and severe thunderstorm warnings were popping up in southwestern Minnesota after storm warnings earlier in the day.
Sex trafficking suspect arrested in Anoka County

Sex trafficking suspect arrested in Anoka County

The multistate law enforcement team Operation United Front arrested a Bloomington man.
A St. Paul pool that was available via the Swimply app but is no longer active after the owners got a letter in July from the Minnesota Department of

Minnesota health officials may sink Swimply app

Under state rules, renting out a backyard pool makes it a public pool.
Top, hot pepper enthusiast Rob Coleman cared for his peppers in his front yard. He grows more than 100 varieties of peppers, including (above, clockwi

100 hot pepper varieties: Minneapolis gardener and YouTube crooner's front-yard bounty

A Minneapolis man who has turned his love for hot peppers into a YouTube series is partnering with a local hot sauce maker to bottle his peppers.
Viaan Bhati touched a sunflower while visiting the Green Barn Garden Center Sunflower Field with his family including his mom Sheetal Bhati, of Lino L

Minnesotans are flocking to local sunflower fields and paying to snap a selfie in the charming crop

Sunflowers used to be just a crop. Now they've become a destination, luring camera-toting visitors.
The State Fair's popular 4-H Llama & Alpaca Costume Competition moves  the Warner Coliseum at 6 p.m. on Sept. 1.

What to know before heading to the 2021 Minnesota State Fair

What's new and different at the State Fair after a year off? A fair amount.
Mark Douglass

Abuse survivor and advocate Mark Douglass dies at age 70

Mark Douglass spoke out about surviving childhood sexual abuse in 1984, when adult victims — especially men — rarely came forward and time limits made…
Friends enjoyed a picnic set up by Courtney Smallbeck, owner of Perfect Picnic Co., in Lyndale Park. From left, Sandy Long, Angela Kostel, Nardos Sium

Pop-up picnic providers set a pretty scene in Twin Cities parks

Forget the musty blankets and cold sandwiches. Pros make picnics posh.
Ed Piechowski, left, and Sean Ryan of St. Paul are part of a growing trend of pool owners who are using the Swimply app, called the Airbnb of pools, t

Swimply app lets you rent out a stranger's pool by the hour in the Twin Cities

It includes pools in more than 125 U.S. cities and several locations in Canada and Australia.
Maribeth Romslo and Kim Senn posed with the 1999 Winnebago they’ve started remodeling and call Winnie Cooper in Edina, Minn., on Monday, June 14, 20

Check out 4 renovated vintage RVs in the Twin Cities with their own Instagram accounts

Mural-on-wheels Winnie Cooper RV, Champ the Scamp and other remodeled Minnesota RVs are hitting the road.
The State Fair, and its crowds, will return this year. But some people aren’t ready to get back to normal.

Nervous about resuming activities? How to manage 'COVID transition anxiety'

Some people are finding they're hesitant to do the things they had looked forward to doing post-vaccine.
Kiddie pools aren’t just for kids.

How Minnesotans can beat the heat in practical and kooky ways

It's hot, and it looks like it's going to stay that way. You can hide out in your basement or get creatively cool.
It can take time to overcome the barriers to friendship that arose during the pandemic.

How to revive friendships disrupted by the pandemic

It may take work to reconnect after months of misfired texts and fizzled Zoom brunches.
The carillon comprises 56 bronze bells.

Mayo Clinic's carillon bell tower performances now ring on livestream

The Mayo Clinic's carillon bell tower performances have been a staple for nearly a century.
Karin Larson

Trailblazing businesswoman and Minnesota benefactor Karin Larson dies at 82

Even as she built a life in California, she stayed connected to her Minnesota roots.
Belle Plaine students held their carnival party-themed prom outdoors on May 1.

Some Minnesota high schools ditch the dance at nontraditional proms

From dance-less dances to outdoor carnivals, Minnesota high schools are opting for creative takes on the traditional prom this year.
Brendan Kennealy and his wife Jocelyn at Subtext Books in St. Paul on a date. With grandparents vaccinated and eager to babysit, parents of young kids

Date night is finally returning to Minnesota, thanks to vaccinated babysitters

Forget Netflix-and-takeout dates. With vaccinated grandparents eager to babysit, mom and dad are starting to venture out.
Clockwise from top left: Mary Busch, Rachel Hardeman, Lindsay Guentzel, Ryan Brown, Marsha and Tom Hystead, Michelle Greener and Shane Lueck.

Minnesotans are getting vaccinated in drugstores, shopping malls, even storage facilities

Whether they took epic road trips or drove across town, these readers went for their COVID-19 vaccinations and came away with a dose of gratitude.
Veronica Soria Miller and her husband, Brad Miller, discovered their home in southwest Minneapolis had a racial covenant attached and worked to remove

These Minnesotans renounced the racial covenants for their homes

These Twin Cities residents discovered their homes were once in "Caucasians only" enclaves. They're confronting history in an effort to fight the homeownership gap.
Animal babies born at the Minnesota Zoo’s farm this spring include 11 piglets, three lambs, two goat kids, and a number of chicks.

Need a dose of cute? Minnesota Zoo's Farm Baby webcam shows lambs and kids around the clock

So far, animal babies born at the zoo's farm this spring include 11 piglets, three lambs, two goat kids, and a number of chicks.
Caroline Flor, a senior at Stillwater High School, took a selfie with a llama while visiting Carlson’s Llovable Llamas in Waconia .

Minnesotans' latest pandemic pick-me-up? Hugging llamas

Many are flocking to local llama farms to get a warm, comforting hug.
Mary Krogman made ice lanterns.

The Embrace Winter challenge is done! Looking back at our cold-weather accomplishments

Despite the swings in temperatures, we got outside, tried everything from ice climbing to ice yoga and embraced a Minnesota winter.
George Floyd Square at East 38th Street and Chicago Avenue in Minneapolis on Saturday night, hours after a person was shot and killed near the interse

Fatal shooting reported near George Floyd Square in Minneapolis

One person died after being taken to a hospital.
An autopsy will reveal whether Mark Pavelich, star of the “Miracle on Ice” game, suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy.

'Miracle' hockey star Mark Pavelich's brain to be examined for CTE

'Way too much trauma and way too much hurt,' his sister posted.
Alvin Donahoo

Alvin Donahoo, D-Day veteran and former Minneapolis Grain Exchange VP, dies at 102

When the Minnesota Vikings honored Alvin Donahoo with a standing ovation as a "Hometown Hero" a day after his 100th birthday, the U.S. Navy veteran…
Embrace Winter challenge: Go bird-watching or stargazing

Embrace Winter challenge: Go bird-watching or stargazing

Enjoy these two slower, quieter ways to experience winter.
Lou Renner search for the final spot to drive in his ice axe as he topped out on an ice route at Robinson Park.

The next Embrace Winter challenge: Try a new-to-you winter sport

Working out outside and switching up your activities offers surprising benefits.
Glenn Simmons Jr. carries his son, Kai, 2, atop his shoulders as they walk through the Bagley Nature Center in Duluth, Minnesota on Sunday, Nov. 15, 2

Looking for ways to enjoy the cold? Join our Embrace Winter Challenge.

For the next 30 days, we'll spend 30 minutes a day outside to reduce stress, improve our immune systems and see Minnesota's "other" season in a whole new light.
Buddy “Rocketman” Michaelson and Rep. Dean Phillips, D-Minn., inside Michaelson’s store, Rocketman Face Masks, in Bloomington.

Bloomington father and son turn their firm to making – and giving – masks

Company pivots from producing parachutes for sky divers to live-saving masks.
The Rev. Patrick Griffin

Father Patrick Griffin, priest who helped create St. Stephen's Human Services, dies at 79

A big-hearted priest with a "constant grin and twinkle in his eye," the Rev. Patrick Griffin believed it was a privilege to serve poor people."His…
Scott Mayer organized Piece Prize, a virtual puzzle event. SHARI L. GROSS  Star Tribune

Virtual puzzle contest sponsored by Twin Cities impresario

Ready, set, puzzle!This winter, jigsaw enthusiasts by the dozens can gather virtually to spend a few hours puzzling together.There are prizes for putting the puzzle…
Zooming with Santa? Here's how to make the most of it

Zooming with Santa? Here's how to make the most of it

Virtual visits with Mr. Claus can create real magic if parents do a little prep.
The Holiday Reimagined craft market inside the Galleria mall in Edina, Minn., is not running as planned, but instead organizers are creating ways to s

Local alternatives to Amazon abound for safe, convenient holiday shopping

From online holiday markets to virtual personal shoppers, here's how to shop locally for gifts this year.
Taking short breaks — or mini-recesses — could help your child stay focused.

A Minneapolis mindfulness expert's tips for helping kids find calm

A Minneapolis mom and mindfulness educator has strategies to keep calm and carry on.
A young participant drew a picture, supported by an oversized teddy bear. The camp, run by nonprofit Children’s Grief Connection, was founded nearly

Minnesota's Hearts of Hope Family Grief Camp gives mourning kids a place to connect — and have fun

Long-running family camp continues to help kids facing loss despite pandemic challenges.
Cindi Yang started decorating her home for Christmas the day after Halloween this year. "With everything that’s happened in 2020, I think people are

Minnesotans are decking the halls weeks ahead of the holidays, hoping to boost spirits

Even before the skulls and ghosts from Halloween came down, Christmas lovers across Minnesota were pulling out the ornaments and twinkly lights.
Family holidays will look different this year.

How Gov. Walz's new COVID guidelines will shape Thanksgiving for Minnesotans

It's possible to limit the risks of a large gathering and still keep some of the magic.
Alison Malone showed photos to Charlie Kazama, 5.

Twin Cities photographers rescue school picture day for distance learners

Photographers are hosting shoots outside or in garages: Even in an age when parents' phones are filled with images of their children, the humble school picture still carries meaning.
Seena Hodges, Minnesota's "Woke Coach."

Meet Minnesota's Woke Coach: Seena Hodges

Seena Hodges works to set her clients on the path to create a more anti-racist, inclusive world.
Don Piccard, shown in January 1989, spent much of his life in Minneapolis.

'Father of modern hot-air ballooning' Don Piccard dies at 94

Piccard organized the country's first hot-air balloon race, launching from a frozen White Bear Lake as part of the 1962 St. Paul Winter Carnival.
As winter approaches, we are closing ranks into more fixed "covid bubbles" of friends or family. Does Grandma get left out?

Your winter COVID bubble: How can you decide who's in, who's out?

As colder weather sends us indoors, many Minnesotans are shrinking their social circles.
Devin Johnson and Rob Lambert of Lakeville decorated their SUV with winnings from past midway winnings before driving through the Minnesota State Fair

From the safety of your car: It's a drive-thru life during the pandemic

Many activities — from concerts to church to doctor visits — can now be experienced from the safe bubble of our vehicles. But car-first culture comes at a cost.