AT-HOME SERVICE & OUTREACH

Rev. Dr. Michael Piazza shares an impassioned plea for democracy in today’s Liberating Word. If you share his concerns, see MNIPL’s 100% Campaign, below:

Minnesota Interfaith Power & Light (MNIPL) has a plethora of ways to engage in the work of racial and climate justice on the ground or from home, including:

  •  Pledge to vote for climate justice.
  • Learn how to build voter turnout through personal conversations. Join MNIPL’s 100% Campaign and help them talk to over 100,000 Minnesotans! Get involved through an upcoming virtual training:
  • Thursday, August 6 @ 4-5:30pm. Register (*Guest speaker: TBD!)
  • Read and share MNIPL’s faith values voter guide which explores how people of faith and conscience can engage in this election, including around issues of racial justice, the climate crisis, immigration, and voting rights.
  • Get ready to vote: You can request an absentee ballot for both the primaries and general election and a ballot will be mailed to you. Voting your values is more important than ever in 2020, and voting by mail ensures that you can do that without risking your health.
  • Other ways to volunteer through MNIPL:
  • Volunteer or donate to support meals for folks at Powderhorn Park.
  • Check out Land Stewardship Project’s Farmer-Eater Exchange which connects consumers with producers so food won’t go to waste and/or their CSA directory of Community Supported Agriculture producers with openings for this season.
  • Become a Climate Justice Household and “join a growing number of communities raising a collective voice and driving concrete projects for action on climate”.
  • MNIPL & MN350 are distributing free Stop Line 3 lawn signs: spread the word about the tar sands pipeline’s threats to water, climate, and treaty rights.

Congregational leaders and whole congregations are invited to sign and share this statement to Congress from Love Resists and this letter to the Bureau of Prisons from keepers of faith/spiritual traditions. Both urge compassionate release of people in federal prisons during the COVID-19 pandemic, which is hitting prisons hard.

The Minnesota Conference is partnering with staff from the national setting of the UCC and other conferences around the country to host and facilitate a series of online gatherings for youth and young adults to give voice to the unrest they are experiencing in these days and to encourage and support one another in their work for racial justice. Learn more about this fantastic line-up of rallies, in the form of town hall forums and webinars.

In response to the killing of George Floyd, several blogs have highlighted ways congregations and individuals can work for systemic change.

The Poor People’s Campaign: A Call to Moral Revival ask us to sign on to their Open Letter to Our Nations’ Lawmakers on Systemic Racism and join their MASS POOR PEOPLE’S ASSEMBLY & MORAL MARCH ON WASHINGTON.

Find a list of resources to help answer the question, “What Can I Do Now?” and resources about policing (particularly in MN) here, thanks to Linden Hills UCC.

Thanks to the Kaleo Center for sharing their helpful 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 article about how we came to this moment in Minneapolis; and Mariame Kaba’s NY Times article, Yes, We Mean Literally Abolish the Police.

For an extraordinary one-month guide offered to white folks who want to become [better] allies, see Autumn Gupta’s & Bryanna Wallis’ Justice in June: a remarkable resource aimed at creating a life-long practice of justice.

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 included the following list of concrete ways to engage in calls for justice:

  1. Phone a friend. Take ten minutes and have a conversation with someone you know about police violence and George Floyd’s murder. Ask what the other person thinks, listen to their responses, and share your own perspective.
  2. Phone a decision-maker. Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman will decide whether or not the officers who killed George Floyd are charged with a crime. Call Attorney Freeman at 612-348-5550 and demand that he press charges against all officers involved with the incident.
  3. Donate to the George Floyd Memorial Fund.
  4. Support front-line organizations who are leading work on the ground: Black Visions CollectiveReclaim the BlockMinnesota Freedom FundCTULCOPALBlack Lives Matter MinneapolisNAACP MinneapolisVoices for Racial Justice
  5. Read and educate yourself. MPD150 has released a thorough and insightful report asking us to imagine a different relationship to policing as a society. Join in the discussion.
A Call for Spiritual Care

Holy Trinity Lutheran Church is in the heart of the Longfellow neighborhood and has been a central hub for distributing food, water, medical care, and support for residents and protesters in South Minneapolis. Over the last two weeks, Holy Trinity has connected with more that 20,000 people.

The surrounding neighborhood is now a food desert and the church is making plans to provide ongoing food distribution. They are seeking volunteers with cultural awareness training and chaplaincy skills who can provide a loving, non-anxious presence. See the sign up here for shift details.

Read together Sandhya Rani Jha’s, Transforming Communities: How People Just Like You Are Healing Their Neighborhoods (Chalice). Get inspired to make a significant local difference!

Contribute to Hamline Church’s Love Your Neighbor Food and Supplies Drive: In partnership with St. Paul area churches, Hamline is collecting funds for Keystone Community Services, which meets vital needs in a wide variety of ways, and Interfaith Action of Greater St. Paul, which harnesses the power of thousands of faith community volunteers to relieve the effects of poverty and address its root causes. Donate here and select “Love Your Neighbor Drive” or text “HamlineChurch1514 LoveYourNeighbor” to 73256 to give using your mobile device.

Sustaining Hope in an Unjust World: How to Keep Going When You Want to Give Up (Chalice) includes a video and discussion guide for small groups – adaptable to at-home service inspiration.

The UCC Racial Justice Team has an excellent page of resources around anti-racism, white supremacy culture and action.

Clean out your closets! Use your at-home time to dig into storage rooms, closets, cupboards, etc. Look for clothing, kitchen items, small furniture, jewelry, etc., you no longer use or need. Store them in your garage until thrift stores reopen and you can drop them off. If you live in the Twin Cities, consider taking them to Old School, by Steeple People.

EarthKeepers Online Training: June 11 and 25, July 9 and 23, August 6 and 20, 7-8:30 p.m., online. Join EarthKeepers and Minnesota Interfaith Power & Light for a dynamic and experiential leadership development training. Learn how to take action for a more just and sustainable world and be commissioned as a Minnesota EarthKeeper!

How can your church care for the lawn and local waters at the same time?  Learn tips and tricks for your church at “Lawn Care with Water Quality in Mind” on Wednesday,  May 13th at 11:30am via Zoom.  
This event series is for clergy, community leaders, youth directors, green teams, property committees, and congregation members.
Water Where We Live Lunch’N’Learn: Lawn Care with Clean Water in MindMay 13th, 2020  11:30 am


Isaiah MN invites us to encourage MN legislators to pass the Family Homeless Prevention and Assistance Program. The House is moving $100 million for rental and mortgage assistance. Senate leadership is only pushing for $30 million – which is grossly insufficient to the needs – with strings attached around limiting the Governor’s executive powers. To show support for immigrant justice please consider:

  • calling your state representative to thank them for their work on this
  • calling your state senator to urge them to increase the amount of aid their leadership is pushing for.
  • Find your legislators here:  https://www.gis.leg.mn/iMaps/districts/

“Rise of the Microchurch” webinar: This free webinar from Exponential can be viewed anytime, is full of ideas for how the church can tap into micro expressions to fuel growth and depth of community both now and as we begin the process of reopening churches.  Access webinar

Native American Communities and COVID-19: Challenges faced by healthcare agenciesApril 30, 1 p.m., online. Join the UMC General Commission on Religion and Race for a discussion with Dr. Billy Beets and Mr. Shawn Terry of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation Department of Health on how COVID-19 has impacted Native American communities and healthcare agencies.

Stop Utility ShutoffsJoin United Methodist Women in contacting your elected officials to urge them to include a moratorium on water and utility shutoffs and prioritize people and a regenerative economy in the next relief and stimulus package.

Getting Your Congregation Back Into the Game of Effective Ministry: May 6, 2-3 p.m., online. Based on years of research, coaching, and consulting with local congregations, Phil Maynard provides helpful, practical methods for developing effective ministry.

Developing Effective Communication to Grow Your CongregationMay 5, 2-3 p.m., online. Kevin Slimp will share tools often overlooked by local churches in reaching out to both the members and the unchurched of their communities.

A discussion starter for youth and adults about why we need to “love one another as though our lives depend on it” (see 1 Peter 1:17-23 and Emily Meyer’s 3rd Sunday of Easter Sermon based on it) can be found in  THE ATLANTIC, April 21 article,
Why Some People Get Sicker Than Others

COVID-19 is proving to be a disease of the immune system. Does that make it easier or harder to control?

Volunteering During COVID-19

If you’re looking for ways to give time during this critical period, visit one of the websites below.

Ramsey County:
https://www.ramseycounty.us/content/volunteering-serve-our-community-during-covid-19-pandemic

Hennepin County: 
https://www.hennepin.us/your-government/get-involved/volunteer-health-and-human-services

In response to re-open protests that put all of God’s children at risk, share a letter of support for – and solidarity with – your local health care providers and other frontline workers. Extend the covenant by inviting neighboring faith communities to join you. Expand the Christian references accordingly, to include others. Share a “signed” version on your website and/or send to a local media outlet.

Rev. Ben Ingebretson, area director of new church development for the MN Annual Conference UMC, outlines some of the most common felt needs conducive for launching a micro-community online.  Read blog post

The MN Annual Conference UMC expanded their Masks for Minnesota movement with a whole Covid-19 Compassion Campaign.

You can celebrate Earth Day every day with ELCA’s Rev. Leah Schade’s 10 Ways to Celebrate Earth Day at Home.

For individuals or families looking for ways to do good from home for homeless teens, Avenues for Youth share suggestions.

Dr. Jeffrey Van Wingen, MD created a youtube video on how to bring groceries into the home safely. It’s lengthy, but he covers a lot of really helpful ground.

The Lewis Center for Church Leadership blog LeadingIdeas’ Becoming a Church without Walls, by Andrew Ponder Williams offers “ideas on how digital connections can help us reach people not previously connected to our congregations”.

Joy Skjegstad and Heidi Unruh facilitate Judson Press’ free webinar: CARING FOR NEIGHBORS–FROM A DISTANCE
which offers practical suggestions for how churches can care for people in the community when we can’t be close to them. Many of these ideas for reaching out beyond the congregation may serve you in caring for your own members as well. 

The Connectional podcast series called, “Church during COVID” is hosted by Revs. Katy Lee and Laquaan Malachi and supported by the Minnesota Conference. It features a different guest with each installment and aims to help leaders share stories and support one another.  Listen to the latest episode.