In October 2020, after a lengthy period of communal discernment St. John’s determined that the Spirit is calling us to follow Jesus by centering the work of racial justice & healing at our church, using four primary focus areas and specific action steps within them. To learn more, click here.
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As part of St. John’s commitment to follow Jesus’ Way of Love by centering the work of racial healing and justice in our community, we are offering a 10-session virtual dialogue series sponsored by the national Episcopal Church called Sacred Ground. Sacred Ground explores America’s history of race and racism in the intersection of European American with indigenous, Black, Latinx, and Asian American lives, and invites reflection on one’s own family and other aspects of identity.
Sacred Ground will begin on Wednesday December 2, and will continue every second or third week through the end of April. Led by Rie Gilsdorf (St. John’s parishioner and ECMN’s racial equity consultant) and the Rev. Peter Stebinger (parishioner at St. John’s), this series will be open to both St. John’s parishioners and also Episcopalians and others from greater Minnesota who do not have access to such a group, but who also seek to engage racial healing and justice from a faith-based perspective. The goal is to make this a space for mostly white people to do the foundational work to be a stronger partner for interracial dialogue later.
Below are dates, Wednesdays from 7-9pm, for this 10-session group. Participants from both St. John’s and the broader community are asked to commit to all (or nearly all) of the ten sessions. To register, please email Rachel Svihel. Please contact the Rev. Lisa Wiens Heinsohn, Rector of St. John’s, with any questions.
A 10-week “Spiritual Bootcamp in the Wilderness: Walking Jesus’ Way of Love,” will be a weekly early morning session with Lisa in which we pray, reflect, study and practice what engaging the gospel means in all aspects of our daily lives, including in our work to center racial justice and healing. We will explore creating an authentic rule of life using Jesus’ Way of Love as a guide; will seek inspiration from scripture and other sources in which we encounter God; and will share honestly with each other how this practice and learning plays out in our daily lives. Please email our Rector Lisa if you are interested by Tuesday, November 17. Dates will be set by canvassing the group’s availability, but will begin by early December at the latest.
For decades, members of St. John’s have been deeply engaged in the community around us. Our members have a passion for direct personal service and relationships, broader systemic change, and the pursuit of justice for individuals and whole communities. Guided by the Baptismal Covenant, we aim “to strive for justice and peace among all people, and to respect the dignity of every human being.”
Our members demonstrated for Civil Rights and nuclear disarmament in the 1960s, created a chemical dependency recovery program in the 1970s and became a resource for AIDS ministry in the 1980s. In the 2000’s and 2010’s, members played important leadership and organizing roles related to public policy advocacy on a variety of issues including affordable housing, immigration, anti-racism and same-sex marriage.
Today, work on those issues continues, with a greater focus on building partnerships and personal relationships that help us bridge differences of race, class, culture, and opportunity. Our Centennial Fund for Social Justice is a great example of this. The members of the Justice and Service Committee, some of whose “day jobs” are in the field, bring extraordinary knowledge and passion to this ministry.
The Justice & Service Committee meets bi-monthly. These meetings serve as valuable touch points for the leaders of the various ministries, time to reflect on new initiatives and strengthen existing ones, as well as manage the fiduciary responsibilities of St. John’s social justice funds. Contact the office to be connected with this group.