About us


Welcome to St. James!

Since 1875 St. James has been reaching out to Howard Lake and the surrounding area with the Good News of Jesus Christ. St. James has always had a strong emphasis on Christian Education throughout its history through Christ-Centered sermons, Bible Studies, and St. James Lutheran School. We are a member of the Minnesota South District of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.

We welcome you to join us for worship, Bible study, fellowship, and more. Please know that you will find a body of broken and imperfect people here at St. James.  As sinners, we will never be perfect in our earthly being.  However, what you can be assured of, is that here at St. James, you will be pointed to the one who has freed us from the eternal consequences of sin by giving His life as a ransom for all – Jesus Christ. Through His continued love for us through the sacraments, we are made whole.​

No matter what situation you face, or how bad of a person you think you are, St. James is where we hope you will want to be.  Among the body of Christ is where we find peace and joy knowing that we no longer have to go it alone. All of us have our hidden and not so hidden struggles. Jesus has given the cure for all of it. May our hearts be moved to soften and repent and receive the blessing that is Jesus' absolution - the forgiveness of sin. 


We pray your time here is a blessing to you, as you are to us.  We invite you to come and visit us again!


God’s peace,

Pastor Mark Loder


About the Pastor

Pastor Loder was born in Dover, Delaware. He did not grow up attending church but found a church home in his college years as he was hired to direct a church choir. As a child, pastor lived in Hawaii before moving to Omaha, NE. After graduating high school, pastor attended college at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, SD to study vocal performance. There he would meet his bride, Molly, who grew up in Waseca, MN. After graduation from college Pastor served as a police officer in Vermillion and Molly taught Junior High band. During this time pastor and Molly were blessed with three children, Micah, Mathias, and Mara. In the fall of 2016, the Loder family welcomed Malachi into their family through adoption. 


Pastor Loder graduated with his MDiv (Master of Divinity) from Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, IN in 2009. Upon graduation, he was placed in a call to the Office of Holy Ministry at St. John's Lutheran in Winsted, MN. Pastor Loder served there for 6 years before receiving and accepting a call to serve St. James in December of 2015. Pastor is currently furthering his education with a DMin (Doctor of Ministry) from Bethel Seminary - St. Paul in the area of Servant Leadership. 

About the Vicar


Vicar Stafford Thompson was born and raised in Brainerd, MN where his father raised corn, soybeans, and pig. His mother taught elementary school in Pequot Lakes. He has one sister and they were enrolled in a Lutheran school from preschool to 6th grade. He has been a member of Zion Lutheran in Brainerd his entire life. Track, cross country running, FFA, and 4H were activities that he enjoyed from middle school to high school. He has an A.A.S. in Biotechnology and a Bachelors in Crop and Weed Science from North Dakota State University.


NDSU is where he met his wife Emma and they were married on June 8, 2019. Both are graduates of NDSU where Emma majored in Biological Science Education. Since 2017 Vicar Thompson has been a student at Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, IN and is excited to continue learning while at St. James serving as vicar in his pastoral formation.


Vicar Thompson and Emma ask for prayers as they start a new adventure being in worship and fellowship with the saints of St. James Lutheran Church and School. 


Rev. Mark Loder, Pastor/Lead Administrator

Mr. Stafford Thompson, Vicar
Church: 1000 Seventh Avenue

School: 1000 Sixth Avenue
PO Box 680
Howard Lake, MN 55349
Church Phone: 320-543-2766

School Phone: 320-543-2630
Church E-mail: church@stjameshl.org

School E-mail: school@stjameshl.org

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