Six New Things

Rev. Jia Starr Brown has put together a stellar group of preachers, artists and authors to bring us Journey to Freedom: Embracing God’s Cultural Mosaic of People. The Ministry Lab is extremely proud to join United Theological Seminary and a host of other churches and organizations in sponsoring this extraordinary opportunity for community growth. DO THIS!! It’s going to be amazing.

Other excellent online and print personal and communal growth opportunities around antiracism, available right now:

MN Annual Conference UCC’s Justice Talk to Justice Walk: Building Awareness, Strengthening Our Resolve kicks off June 30 @ 7:00 PM CST and features Rev. Traci Blackmon (UCC Associate General Minister); Rev. Gary Green & Rev. Justin Tabia-Sanis (both United Theological Seminary faculty); and Samantha Fuentes (Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School mass shooting survivor and March for Our Lives leader).

The MN Conference UCC and other UCC bodies are also offering Youth and Young Adults Connecting for Racial Justice, online gatherings for giving voice to the unrest youth and young adults are experiencing and to support one another in their work for racial justice.

WE CAN’T BREATHE: Virtual Conversations on Systemic Racism: Professor Joe R. Feagin (Texas A&M), along with Minnesota antiracist activists and scholars, hosts two more 90-minute conversations, July 12 & 19 at 2:00 PM CST.

MennoMedia’s Challenging Racism: Youth Curriculum on Dismantling Racism is a four-session, downloadable Bible study that examines racism and challenges students to work at changing systems that oppress people of color.

YA author Jason ReynoldsFortifying Imagination interview on OnBeing (with Kristin Lin) is summarized in The Pause, during which he discusses his new book, written with fellow acclaimed author Ibram X. Kendi, Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You: A Remix of the National Book Award-Winning Stamped from the Beginning (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers), which includes a free educator guide.

Kendi and Ashley Lukashevsky (illustrator) encourage us to take baby steps toward antiracism as we follow Antiracist Baby Board Books (Kokila) nine easy steps for building a more equitable world; and as powerful as it is beautiful, Freedom, We Sing! (Flying Eye) is a picture book designed to inspire readers and invite kids to ask what it means to be free.

Wes Moore and Erica L. Green bring us back to Five Days: The Fiery Reckoning of an American City (Penguin Random House), which tells the story of the Baltimore uprising through the author’s personal observations and through the eyes of other Baltimoreans.


Six New Things – Resilience and Community Supplemental

Looking for something fun for the kids this summer?Interfaith Stay Camp will be a great week of crafts, games, songs and stories designed to offer kids basic interfaith literacy and inspiration to grow into people who promote tolerance and practice inclusivity. All are welcome!

It’s all about resilience! To develop yours and your community’s, you might consider:

Brave Talk: Building Resilient Relationships in the Face of Conflict (Broadleaf), in which communications expert Melody Stanford Martin combines storytelling, illustrations, and academic sources, using humor, creativity, and interactive learning to help everyday people develop better skills for navigating conflict in order to build stronger relationships and healthier communities.

Amanda Henderson‘s Holy Chaos: Creating Connections in Divisive Times (Chalice), includes end-of-chapter questions ideal for book groups, small group study, or deeper personal reflection.

The Lombard Mennonite Peace Center invites spiritual leaders to explore the issue of trauma in the context of COVID-19 and the public killing of George Floyd, helping participants understand how they can help others find healing and resilience, through contemplative prayer and meditation.

OnBeing’s Care Package for Uncertain Times is an inspiring collection of podcasts, poetry, meditations and reflection for however you’re processing this moment.

For the younger set, Carrie Lewis (author) and Sophia Touliatou, (illustrator) wonder, “What causes anxiety? And what can we do about it?” in All About Anxiety (Beaming).

Community is a powerful source of resilience.

Olu Brown invites us explore key ways to grow a local church, in Clergy Education’s webinar, Growing a Church by Becoming Part of the Community; the Lewis Center for Church Leadership suggests Connection is More Important than Content in Digital Gatherings and encourages us to Rethink Virtual Community.

The PC(USA) Store lists suggestions for political discussions with their 2020 Election Study Resources.

Cerrie Burnell (author) and Lauren Mark Baldo (illustrator) give us a poignant reminder of communal intersections to explore with all ages in I Am Not a Label: 34 Artists, Thinkers, Athletes and Activists with Disabilities from Past and Present (Wide-Eyed Editions) while Luther Seminary invites us to remember the intersections of creation and community in their new series, Water Where We Live: Luther Seminary Students Share Global Water Stories Part I and Part II.


Six New Things – Supplemental

Faith Formation Ministries offers helpful Resources for Reopening Children’s Ministry in a Covid-19 World; the Congregational Consulting Group shares 10 Questions to Ask Now; RootedGood wonders How Will We Gather? and offers their Planning Exercise; and a huge ecumenical group suggests answers in Resuming Care-Filled Worship and Sacramental Life during a Pandemic.

The Lewis Center for Church Leadership offers a pile of online worship and church resources, including, Online Worship Makes Evangelism Less Intimidating for Many; 6 Traits People Value in Online Faith Communities; and Online Worshipers: Moving from Viewers to Participants; while twelve:thirty media offers The Church On-Line Guide; and Faith+Lead’s Pivot Podcast, “invites church leaders to use the disruptive moment of COVID-19 to reimagine how they think about church, ministry, and leadership”.

With tools for helping individuals, congregations and communities move from reactive crisis mode to sustainable hopefulness, Grace Ji-Sun Kim gives us Hope in Disarray: Piecing Our Lives Together in Faith (Pilgrim); Michel Le Gribble-Dates shares ideas for How to Be Well in Summer; Shalem Institute shares two opportunities: a new installment of their Online School of Contemplative Prayer Series, Opening to the Spirit and a shorter series, With Hearts Wide Open, which explores how compassion and power are dimensions of contemplative leadership; the Lombard Mennonite Peace Center gives churches Conflict Transformation Skills; and the Mountain Plains Mental Health Technology Transfer Center is leading a Improving Mental Health Service Access for Farming and Rural Communities Three-Part Webinar Series.

For additional resources for re-opening and on-lining or hybridizing your community, see The Ministry Lab’s constantly updated Congregational Life and Denominations pages; for Talking with Children and Teens about Grief and Trauma, check out our constantly updated resource list and join our Co-Lab Webinar with Jenny Schroedel: Tools for Talking with Children & Teens about Grief & Trauma (email for the zoom link); and to deepen your own contemplative life and take a few moments for rest and renewal, join our Midweek Retreat (again, email for the zoom link).


Six New Things

Shalem Institue invites leaders to join Lerita Coleman Brown in taking “intentional quiet space to reflect on Howard Thurman’s life and book, Jesus and the Disinherited“.

OnBeing provides an amazing line-up of interviews and podcasts with exceptional voices, including Kristin Lin’s interview with Isabel Wilkerson (author of The Warmth of Other Suns) This History is Long; This History Is Deep; Annette Gordon-Reede and Titus Kaphar pondering, Are We Actually Citizens Here?; Layli Long Soldier considering The Freedom of Real Apologies; and Martha Park’s Reliquary: Histories Incarnate.

Rev. Frenchye Magee begins the MN Annual Conference UMC’s new weekly video series, Standing against Racism and Rev. Laquaan Malachi offers a commentary on Being a Better Anti-Racist; the MN Conference UCC’s new webinar series, Justice Talk to Justice Walk: Building Awareness, Strengthening Our Resolve, will feature Associate General Minister of the UCC, Rev. Traci Blackmon, exploring the question, Where Do We Go From Here? Lessons from Ferguson & Beyond; and the Basilica of St Mary invites us to join their Zoom: Grief in Our City: Can We Talk? with Jenny Schroedel & Don Samuels.

Jenny Schroedel also will lead this week’s (Tuesday, 2:00 PM CST) Co-Lab Webinar: Tools for Talking with Children & Teens about Grief and Trauma (email for the zoom link); and The Ministry Lab has compiled a list of resources for facilitating these conversations, as well.

For some different perspectives, those utilizing Robin DiAngelo’s White Fragility may find The Washington Post’s recent interview with her illuminating (and challenging!); As Long as Grass Grows: The Indigenous Fight for Environmental Justice from Colonization to Standing Rock (Beacon) gives everyone not indigenous to this hemisphere some new insight; and University of Aukland’s Prof. Tracey McIntosh Imagines a Wold without Prisons.

If looking for a new approach to discussions of equity with children and teens Whose Right Is It? The Second Amendment and the Fight Over Guns (Henry Holt & Co.) or An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States for Young People (Beacon), may be helpful.

The Ministry Lab continues to update its resource lists for adults and children and teens for learning about anti-racism and ending white supremacy; activism suggestions can be found on our Congregational Life and At-Home Service and Outreach pages, as well.


Six New Things

Resources for personal and communal activism and discussion: let’s grow and transform this world, together!

Highlights from The Ministry Lab’s constantly updated list of At-Home Resources for Social Justice and Activism include Poor People’s Campaign: A Call to Moral Revival letter demanding change and their invitation to virtually join the Mass Poor People’s Assembly and Moral March on Washington, June 20 & 21; Princeton Seminary’s Scaffolded List of Anti-Racism Resources; Kaleo Center’s blog post including their intentions, a link to Uprising Minnesota, “a regularly updated site on how to support Black organizing in the Twin Cities”; Jae Hyun Shim’s excellent TruthOut article about how we came to this moment in Minneapolis; and Mariame Kaba’s NY Times article, Yes, We Mean Literally Abolish the Police; and Linden Hills UCC’s What Can I Do Now?: Justice Work Related to Policing. There are so many, many other ways to engage: please share and we’ll continue to update the list!

Highlights from our Anti-Racism and Ending White Supremacy Culture Reading Lists for Adults and Children & Youth include United students Autumn Gupta’s & Bryanna Wallis’s Justice in June, a 30-day anti-racism reading plan specifically designed for white people – ideal for small groups, faith communities, and individuals; and highlighting the depth of intersectionally-led dialogues: Phuc Luu’s Jesus of the East: Reclaiming the Gospel for the Wounded (MennoMedia); and Live with Sujay: Black Women in Ministry Talking about George Floyd, Racism and Sexim.

Worship resources that combat racism and white supremacy culture are beginning to surface. See the Unitarian Universalist Association’s Black Lives Matter Worship Collection and their The Promise & The Practice and Osheta Moore’s, Here Lies Love: A Litany (Upper Room).

For contemplative practices to ground your activism, join The Ministry Lab’s Midweek Retreat, every Wednesday at 12:00/noon CST or read our contemplative bloggers Favorite of the Day. Or, study the great contemplative, Howard Thurman, in Wesley Theological Seminary’s Online Summer Course, Howard Thurman, Mystic, Prophet, Theologian, or go all-in with their DMin Track: Howard Thurman: Prophetic Witness.

Do not engage in this work alone! Invite your whole congregation to the essential activism of our day. Join us Tuesday, 06.16.20, for our Co-Lab Webinar with Prof. Justin Sabia-Tanis for Growing At-Home Social Justice Practices and Community Engagement (email to register for the zoom link) and bring others into the Basilica of St Mary’s Zoom: Grief in Our City: Can We Talk? on 06.27.20; 9:00-10:30 AM.

Be of good courage, People of God: the Spirit is at work!!!


Six New Things – Supplemental

This week’s Supplemental is all about balance: between ministry approaches, with the environment, in our spiritual lives, our mental health practices and in our personal care. See this week’s regular Six New Things for a plethora of anti-racism discussion and activism resources.

Tom Berlin encourages congregations to Commit to a Hybrid Model of Ministry with a mix of in-person and online ministry and shares thoughts on how to do it; while Carey Nieuwhof warns about In-Person Attendance v. Online Attendance and the Emerging Trap of Doing Nothing Well; and Christina Schoenwetter wonders When We Can’t Gather, How Do We Mourn?

While tending to your congregation’s needs, you may invite them to consider The Spiritual Danger of Donald Trump: 30 Evangelical Christians on Justice, Truth, and Moral Integrity (Wipf & Stock).

And if that gets you riled up, you can re-ground with MN Interfaith Power & Light’s (who have been on the front lines of responding to the murder of George Floyd), EarthKeepers Online Training.

But don’t overload yourself! Now & Next invites leaders to Take Self-Care Seriously: Managing Stress So You Can Care for Others.

That balance can be challenging and tenuous, as depicted in the 2017 Tribeca Films Official Selection, The Departure, in which Ittetsu Nemoto, a former punk-turned-Buddhist priest in Japan, made a career out of helping suicidal people find reasons to live, but at great expense to his family and personal health.

Need some help? The Ministry Lab has compiled a list of resources for Talking with Children and Teens about Trauma. And we invite you to join us for Prof. Justin Sabia-Tanis in this Tuesday’s Co-Lab Webinar: Growing At-Home Justice Practices and Community Engagement and Thursday’s Leadership in a Time of Seismic Change with Rev. Susan Nienaber. Email Emily Meyer ( to register for both or either.


Six New Things – Supplemental

Yesterday’s post focused on anti-racism/white supremacy resources. Today’s offers more general resources (and a couple newly discovered justice resources), with a focus on summer activities for children and families, Covid-19 responses, and more; starting with Superheroes Don’t Babysit (Beaming), which explores sibling rivalry and includes a Superhero Mask Activity Sheet.

Susan Alexander Yates offers a gift from her book, Cousin Camp: a free downloadable Camp at Home: 100 practical ideas for families, with ideas for things to do with toddlers to teens and the whole family.

Beaming offers a free downloadable Summer Reading Bingo Board and an Activities and Resources for Summer based on a number of their children’s books.

Covid-19-related resources from MennoMedia include a small group study/personal reflection, Beyond Our Fears: Following Jesus in a Time of Crisis and Rejoice! A Time of Enduring, for personal devotions and from Lewis Center for Church Leadership, Religion and Science: Pathways to Truth invites us to live as “scientifically informed believers”.

Faith leaders may find affirmation, support, and inspiration in M. Craig Barnes’ Diary of a Pastor’s Soul: The Holy Moments in a Life of Ministry (Baker) and Church Anew’s blog – written by international theological thinkers and leaders – on topics from Covid-19 closures and reopening to racism and white supremacy culture.


Six New Things

Twin Cities teacher, therapist, trauma specialist, visionary, and author Resmaa Menakem (My Grandmother’s Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathways to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies), joined Krista Tippet for an OnBeing interview: Notice the Rage; Notice the Silence, just before Covid quarantines came into effect. Tippet reflects on his insights and shares a plethora of practical tools, including a body practice designed by Menakem.

OnBeing also offers one of a slough of resources lists geared toward helping individuals and communities in the work of anti-racism and ending white supremacy culture. The Ministry Lab has compiled many of these resources into an Adult List and a Teen/Youth and Children List, which we continue to update regularly. You can also find lists from many of our regular publishers, including the PCUSA Store; The Upper Room; and Illustrated Ministries (particularly good for work with children).

The Presbyterian Church of the Twin Cities Area offers a list of Resources to Support Minneapolis Protests and RevGalBlogPals contributor Rev. Mary Austin shares a conversation with her African American daughter about Now What?, which invites white people to consider the work that is theirs to do.

The church has very particular ways to engage systemic transformations that lie ahead. There are numerous resources geared toward congregational conversations on anti-racism and ending white supremacy – specifically in and/or through the church – in the lists, above. New to Six New Things (for some unfathomable reason), is Lenny Duncan’s, Dear Church: A Love Letter from a Black Preacher to the Whitest Denomination in the U.S. (Broadleaf), Nancy Palmer Jones and Karin Lin’s Mistakes and Miracles: Congregations on the Road to Multiculturalism (Skinner) and Sandhya Rani Jha‘s, Pre-Post-Racial America: Spiritual Stories from the Front Lines.

Specifically for clergy: Lewis Center for Church Leadership’s podcast Leading in an Age of Political Polarization; Carolyn Helsel’s, Preaching about Racism: A Guide for Faith Leaders (Chalice); and Sharon Risher and Sherri Wood Emmons’, For Such a Time as This: Hope and Forgiveness after the Charleston Massacre (Chalice).

Please see the Adult and Teen/Youth & Children Resource Lists for many, many more excellent works to support you and your congregations in this essential work of moving toward God’s Beloved Community. And join upcoming Co-Lab Webinars geared toward empowering congregational leaders to move communities toward engagement and justice.


Six New Things

In response to the police killing of George Floyd one week ago, today, The Ministry Lab joins with faith leaders from across the Twin Cities, the state and the nation in calling for justice and reformation.

Especially poignant have been Rev. Jim Bear Jacobs of the MN Council of Churches Open Letter to White Clergy, exhorting white clergy to avoid preaching for peace, Anahkwud Mihgiizay, Ajiijak Dodem’s (Wendy Stone) post on Ways Minnesota’s White Churches Need to Use Their Power and Faith with its specific, concrete ways congregations can work for justice, Multifaith Anti-Racism Change & Healing’s (MARCH) Statement, and Minneapolis Interfaith Power & Light’s Statement on the Police Murder of George Floyd, which also included specific calls to action.

The Ministry Lab has created lists of anti-racism and ending white supremacy culture resources for use with adults and youth/teens and children. If you know of resources we can add, please share and we will do so. We also commend this week’s Visual Word, a contemplative practice inviting us to listen to the Spirit’s cries for justice.

Chalice Press is hosting a June 11 (6:00 CST) online conversation about racism and justice with Sharon Risher (For Such a Time as This: Hope and Forgiveness) and Michael Water (Stakes Is High: Race, Faith, and Hope for America).

For anyone committed to intersectional activism and social justice, The Stonewall Generation: LGBTQ Elders on Sex, Activism, and Aging (Skinner) provides a much-needed resource for empowerment, education, and renewal.

Anyone who needs a moment of calm to renew for engaging the world, Illustrated Ministries offers another free downloadable coloring page which invites us to wonder what God Calls Me to…

For more congregational and/or leadership renewal, check out MNIPL’s six session online Be the Spark leadership development for building teams energized for action on climate. Or, join the MN Annual Conference UMC and Dr. Phil Maynard in the REACH ReLAUNCH (June 4, 12:00-1:30 PM) for their free webinar designed to help you re-launch church effectively in the pandemic and post-pandemic era.

The National Institute for Civil Discourse created Engaging Differences during Hardship, a story-telling video series reflecting diverse responses to Covid-19; Susan Beaumont (How to Lead When You Don’t Know Where You’re Going: Leading in a Liminal Season; Rowman & Littlefield) offers 10 Questions to Ask Now, inviting leaders and congregations to move from reactive to reflective. Both are primarily in response to Covid-19, but perhaps pertinent to any time of change.

For Teens and their Parents: Rage Against the Minivan: Learning to Parent without Perfection (Convergent) brings levity to the tumult of raising teens.

For our Littles: Beaming wants to encourage kids to get moving this summer. First, dive into Bible stories with their One-Year Bible Reading Plan, which includes a short list of readings every month, along with activities, a short prayer, and discussion questions and for get parents and kids balanced in body, mind and spirit with Yoga Baby, which includes tips and tricks for incorporating yoga practice into daily life with a young child.

P.S. To support engagement in marches, protests and other work of the people, The Ministry Lab’s Co-Lab Webinars for the week of 06.01.20 have been postponed. Leading in a Time of Seismic Change with Rev. Susan Nienaber is rescheduled for Thursday, June 18 (12:00/noon CST). Please watch the website for updates on Group Spiritual Direction with Cynthia Bailey Manns. Also, please mark your calendars to join us Tuesday, June 9 (2:00 PM CST) for Rev. Tanya Sadagopan’s leadership on Seeing Inequity and Re-Envisioning God’s Reign: Pivoting from Hierarchical Approaches to Partnership & Solidarity Ways and Tuesday, June 16 (2:00 PM, CST) for Prof. Justin Sabia-Tanis’ Transforming Communities: Growing At-Home Social Justice Practices and Community Engagement.


Six New Things

Robert Chao Romero, the son of a Mexican father and a Chinese immigrant mother, explores the history and theology of what he terms the “Brown Church” (InterVarsity) and considers how five centuries of this movement have responded to injustices by appealing to the belief that God’s vision for redemption includes not only heavenly promises but also the transformation of every aspect of our lives and the world.

Strengthen your prophetic voice for bold preaching in a time of massive change through the Contours of Postcolonial Preaching: A [Two Day] Online Con Ed Event by Underground Institute.

Prepare your young ones for a life of love and compassion with Thoughtful Christians’ Growing in God’s Love Story Bible Curriculum or Illustrated Ministry’s Compassion Camp: Be Loved. Be Kind. Be You.

Deepen your personal awareness, hone your intent and strengthen your resolve for justice work by Befriending Your Monsters: Facing the Darkness of Your Fears to Experience the Light (Baker) or reading Viktor Frankl’s newly discovered and published, Yes to Life in Spite of Everything (Beacon).

Or, invite folks into Creation Care this summer: for younger ones try Growing Green Heart’s Connect-the-Drops or Connect-the-Rocks; encourage young/adults to learn how to take action for a more just and sustainable world as a Minnesota EarthKeeper through EarthKeepers and Minnesota Interfaith Power & Light’s experiential online leadership development training; or join “a cohort of like-minded leaders” in the ELCA’s Blessed Tomorrow Ambassadors, learning to inspire climate solutions.

For more specialized areas of ministry: Augsburg Fortress is offering a two-day free digital music webinar (07.21 & 22.20) and Hear My Prayer: A Prison Prayer Book; Clare Klein adapted her Dementia-Friendly Worship Services and made them available on both facebook and youtube; Lovett H. Weems, Jr., guides folks through Effective Pastoral Transitions in the Time of Covid-19, which utilizes his revised The Right Start: Beginning Ministry in a New Setting – Covid-19 Supplemental (Lewis Center for Church Leadership); and MennoMedia offers the next in their The Adaptive Church Webinar Series: Pastoring from a Distance: Offering Pastoral Care While Social Distancing