After many months of discernment, including conversations internal to St. John’s and with others from the broader community, St. John’s Racial Justice & Healing team has unanimously voted to approve a “Champion level” partnership between St. John’s and the Center for Leadership and Neighborhood Engagement (CLNE).

CLNE is an organization committed to working with North Minneapolis and Twin Cities faith, community and neighborhood organizations in order to provide transformational experiences for the leaders who share the desire to increase their intercultural competence. The organization is committed to providing access to coaching, training, programming and immersion experiences that teach cultural competency and asset-based community development. Through training, work with individuals and congregations, and focusing on existing strengths, assets, and gifts (rather than barriers and deficits), CLNE is committed to building long-term and lasting change.

CLE was founded and led by the Reverend Kelly Chatman, a pastor, teacher, and community leader. Members of the Centennial Fund committee initially met Reverend Chatman several years ago while he was leading Redeemer Lutheran Church and Redeemer Center in north Minneapolis, which he led for two decades before creating CLNE. Since then, he met Lisa and other St. John’s members at the healing prayer tent in north Minneapolis that was created as a space for prayer and healing in the weeks following the murder of George Floyd. This relationship has grown over the last several years, as has the work Reverend Chatman is doing with CLNE.

The CLNE is a natural fit for support from the Centennial Fund. Supporting CLNE financially and partnering with the organization in a variety of other ways are core ways we can live out our commitment to center racial justice and healing and support creative work being led by people of color. In addition, our financial support comes with opportunities to engage and support work beyond simply writing a check – a key aspect of the original vision of the Centennial Fund. As a result, the team committed $20,000 from the Centennial Fund (which was the 10% tithe we raised as part of our $2M “Keeping Faith” capital campaign) to CLNE and are continuing to work actively with Reverend Chatman about what our partnership can and will look like moving forward. Possibilities for future work together includes anti-racism and equity training, workshops and other events, connecting congregations to immersion experiences for members, mentorship, meals rooted in “uncommon” and diverse conversations, and more. We will continue to work with Reverend Chatman and other staff from CLNE to build out this relationship, and we’re very excited for this opportunity to support CLNE and the possibilities that come with it.

Please stay tuned for more information from us as this relationship continues to develop, and feel free to reach out to any members of the Racial Justice & Healing team with any questions.

Thank you!
St. John’s Racial Justice & Healing Team

Mark Lindberg (chair), Rie Gilsdorf, Steve Schewe, Elizabeth Lienesch, Rex McKee, Lisa Wiens Heinsohn, Brigitte Parenteau, Susan Swann