Six New Things

Two rallying cries from Upper Room: editor Britney Winn Lee corralled some great writers to create Rally: Communal Prayers for Lovers of Jesus and Justice while Brenda Salter McNeil encourages us all in Becoming Brave: Finding the Courage to Pursue Racial Justice Now.

Dig in to the why’s and wherefores with Jennifer G Brownell‘s Dispatch from Portland and OnBeing’s The Pause (in its entirety – it’s all good!), which focused on the life and work of Rev. John Lewis.

Prepare your congregation for racial justice work – intergenerationally! – with Dismantling Racism Works Web Workbook; inspire your youth, specifically, with the MN Conference UCC’s Youth Lead Now: Equipping Young Leaders for Social Change (August 6); and take direct action by signing the letter to Bureau of Prisons – from Love Resists and the Loved Ones of federal inmates – calling for the prompt release of all imprisoned people in their custody who meet their own standards for COVID-19 humanitarian release.

Support the spiritual well-being of your teens with Sarah E. Bollinger and Angela R. Olsen’s The Awakened Life for High School Students: Finding Stillness in an Anxious World (Upper Room) which includes a Student Guide & Leader’s Guide.

Develop your own resiliency with Rev. Dr. Candace Adams, ACC’s Spiritual Wellness Journey Workshop and/or develop your pastoral skills in Movement Chaplaincy, the work of spiritual accompaniment to justice movements and their leaders, an emerging vocation that brings care, healing, and resilience-building to our struggles for justice.

And to wrap it all up with a pretty bow: share Robin Tanner‘s A BLESSING FOR RISK-TAKERS AND FAILURES: because we all need reminders that we are enough and that all we do is all we can do.


Six New Things

Forming community can be as simple as this: Read a Book with Me (Beaming) reminds us of the power of stories to bring us together…

…and Antiracist Baby (Kokila) – well, the title and cover image sum it up…

Other community-building and enriching works for young readers: Someday We Will: A Book for Grandparents and Grandchildren (Beaming); You Matter (Atheneum), a picture book about seeing the world from different perspectives; and Carole Lindstrom‘s (author; Anishinabe/Métis) and Michaela Goade‘s (illustrator; Raven moiety and Kiks.ádi Clan) We Are Water Protectors (Roaring Brook).

Tweens, teens and young adults may find inspiration in Brit Barron’s Worth It: Overcome Your Fears and Embrace the Life You Were Made for (Broadleaf), a memoir encouraging folks to embrace their full identity.

Soooo many resources for enriching your faith community:

Emerge | Blessings and Rituals for Unsheltering (Pilgrim/Still Speaking Writers’ Guild); Illustrated Ministry & Virginia Theological Seminary’s Building Faith: Blessing of the Devices; OnBeing’s Navigating Loss without Closure: Krista Tippet w/ Pauline Boss; and Leadership Center for Churches’ 3 Strategies for Doing Church Online all address this time of uncertain transition for congregations.

To deepen, broaden and/or strengthen yours and your leaders’ ministries, consider these fine series: The Damascus Project’s Faith Foundations I and Leadership Skills; Paraclete Press’s Online Summer Retreat Series; Church Anew’s Being Church Today, featuring: Diana Butler Bass, Dr. Joy Moore, Eric D. Barreto, Mihee Kim-Kort, Rozella Haydée White, Ulysses Burley III, Brian McLaren, Dr. Valerie Bridgeman, Emmy Kegler presenting in a short-form format and including voices of local leaders speaking to “how the church can lead in a time like this”; LeaderWise’s numerous leadership training and sustaining offers; and don’t miss Rev. Jia Starr Brown’s Journey to Freedom: Embracing God’s Cultural Mosaic of People (The Ministry Lab and United Theological Seminary are proud sponsors of this one!!).


Six New Things

Free Spirit offers Together in Our World: a series of four books geared toward 6-10-year-olds on Culture and Diversity; Rights and Equality; Protecting the Planet; and Rules and Responsibilities. Each book has a glossary and additional resources.

In a similar vein, Magination shares Ani’s Light (coping with sadness due to a loved one’s illness); Lulu the One and Only (appreciating challenges faced by multiracial children); and My Maddy (articulating the specialness of non-binary parents); and they’ve released two books to help kids cope with Covid-19 uncertainties: A Kid’s Guide to Coronavirus and Unstuck! 10 Things to Do to Stay Safe and Sane During the Pandemic. Beaming chips in with All About Anxiety, to round out the set for younger readers.

For those looking toward fall faith formation, Faith Inkubators offers Bible Song Cross+GenHead to the Heart Confirmation Curriculum; and Faith Stepping Stones, all updated for 2020/2021 and available online; MennoMedia has updated their Shine! curriculum for a range of ages; and the MN Conf. UCC has partnered with Danger Boat Productions and Doing Good Together to create Family Connections Toolkits.

For engaging the whole family in at-home or on-the-ground social action, check out Minnesota Interfaith Power & Light’s impressive list, including their opportunity to train for getting out the vote in your neck of the woods.

If you serve out in the woods and are concerned about elders living alone, Mountain Plains Mental Health Technology Transfer Center offers Rural Social Isolation and Loneliness: Rates, Importance, and Identifying Risk, session one of a three-part series.

To help yourself or others with spiritual well-being, check out MennoMedia’s Reconnect: Spiritual Restoration from Digital Distraction; read from global contemplative leaders in Orbis’ The Way of Suffering: Readings for an Enlightened Life, featuring Kate Bowler, Pema Chödrön, Robert Ellsberg, Thich Nhat Hanh, Michael Leach, James Martin, Henri Nouwen, Richard Rohr, and Marianne Williamson, among others; and see GratitudeForgivenessKindness for further enlightenment.

For racial justice-specific inspiration, listen to OnBeing’s second interview in a month with Dr. Resmaa Menakem (My Grandmother’s Hands), joined by Robin DiAngelo (White Fragility) in a “deep dive” into “the calling of our lifetimes“.

And DO NOT MISS Journey to Freedom: Embracing God’s Cultural Mosaic of People. The Ministry Lab is thrilled to partner with United Theological Seminary, First Covenant Church, Minneapolis and a collaboration of churches and organizations for this learning series. Starting on July 18, this six-week series is designed by Rev. Jia Starr Brown and comprised of sermons, discussion, art, and study all of which focus on the theme of Intersectionality. Continuing Ed credit is available through United. Jia is sharing info in a special Co-Lab Webinar Tuesday, July 14 at 2:00 PM CST. Contact Emily Meyer ( for the zoom link to Tuesday’s information, invitational webinar.


Six New Things

Don and Sondra Samuels (interviewed by Krista Tippet on MPR) invite folks to join in 30 Days of Silent Prayer: Healing the Heart of Our City: “a month-long, African American-led collaborative conceived to add a vital spiritual factor to all the strategic thinking, policy proposals and investments being considered” in and around the Twin Cities, Minnesota, the nation and the world. You can participate from anywhere!

Local inspiration for our on-going anti-racism work can be found in the Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area’s Rev. Alika Galloway‘s An Invitation to Community; Rolling Stone Magazine’s feature on incredible Healing Justice Practitioners in Minneapolis; and United Theological Seminary’s community-created Social Justice/Social Transformation Resources.

Bring your youth along with the ELCA’s Faith Formation Team’s Racial Awareness: Vetted Resources; engage your Littles with Illustrated Ministries Prayers for Compassion Coloring Pages; and equip your 55+ members to “act powerfully in the transformation of the world” with skills learned in Kaleo Center’s Encore 2020.

Other local, regional and national encouragement for this work can be found in these excellent webinars: Rev. Jia Starr Brown’s amazing Journey to Freedom: Intersectionality is bursting with wisdom, inspiration, and creativity. [Watch for an upcoming Co-Lab Special Feature webinar with Jia inviting you to join the Journey to Freedom series; it’s so good, you will not want to miss this amazing opportunity!]

Or, check out the MN Annual Conference UCC’s Justice Talk to Justice Walk: Building Awareness, Strengthening Our Resolve with its amazing line-up of local leaders on community transformation; or see MennoMedia’s Expanding Our Witness: Equipping Ministry for Anti-Racist Change.

Get sermon/preaching inspiration with RevGalBlogPals’ Rev. Rachel Hackenberg’s commentary on Milcah’s Inheritance or Tim MacBride‘s To Aliens and Exiles: Preaching the New Testament as Minority-Group Rhetoric in a Post-Christendom World (Cascade) and get some personal perspective (which could also be good sermon fodder/to share with others) with Jean Wise’s post Seeing Our Time in Kairos Time: a valuable reminder that a shift in perspective can be the key to resilience and hope.

Inspire your youngsters with Marc Olson’s (author) and Jem Maybank’s (illustrator) The World of the First Christians: A Curious Kid’s Guide to the Early Church (Beaming): its Curious Kids’ Guides “present cool and surprising information about Christian history and beliefs in an entertaining, visually engaging way for kids” and encourage your youth to live into God’s vision for the church with the MN Annual Conference UMC’s STORM @ Home Mission Trip.


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.