Be a source of peace with a Blessed Ramadan sign; Taking Heart Iftars now open; Community conversation about refugees in Mankato
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Our Members

African Methodist Episcopal Church
St. Paul - Minneapolis District

American Baptist Church
American Baptist Churches of Iowa and Minnesota
American Baptist Churches, Rochester Genesee Region of New York State

Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Upper Midwest Region

Church of God in Christ
Minnesota Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction

Church of the Brethren
Northern Plains District

The Episcopal Church
Episcopal Church in Minnesota

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
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Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America
Metropolis of Chicago

Mennonite Church
Central Plains Mennonite Conference

Moravian Church
Northern Province
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National Association of Congregational Christian Churches
Fellowship of Minnesota Congregationalists

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Pentecostal Assemblies of the World
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Presbyterian Church (USA)
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Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area

United Church of Christ
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United Methodist Church
Minnesota Annual Conference

Affiliate Members

Greater Minneapolis Council of Churches

Interfaith Action of Greater Saint Paul

Our Programs

Refugee Services
MCC offers immigration, housing, employment, education and case management services to refugees and their families with the aim of guiding them on the path to self-sufficiency.

Racial Justice
With the Black Clergy Speakers Bureau and other initiatives we help congregations to be partners in a movement dismantling racism. 

Interfaith Relationships
Whether through a Taking Heart Ramadan Iftar or involvement with a host of interfaith networks, Minnesota Council of Churches is a go-to organization for people seeking to build relationships across faith communities.

Respectful Conversations Project
Respectful Conversations is designed not to change minds, but soften hearts. Find out how people in your community can talk about their differences in a way that stitches us together rather than tearing us apart.

Mankato Refugee Services
We support refugee community integration and transition to self-sufficiency by providing the following services: Case Management, Job Placement (must be state eligible), Immigration adjustment, and Community Engagement and Outreach services.

Graceful Journey
With Graceful Journey, people learn how to have end of life conversations, and to make decisions based on deeply held religious beliefs, surrounded by a caring community of faith.

About News for the Common Good

MCC's bi-weekly e-newsletter shares news about the ways we are building the common good in the world as well as events of interest to Minnesota's statewide community of congregational decision-makers. Content is pulled from submitted news, member newsletters and other relevant sources. We emphasize opportunities for cross-pollination and bridge-building between the faith, broader nonprofit, and other sectors of society.

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May 25, 2016

In this Issue

   Blessed Ramadan
   Taking Heart Ramadan Iftars open now
   Community conversation about refugees in Mankato
   Lead worship for racial justice in June
Upcoming Events 
   Enneagram: Motivations & Heart-Longings
   Getting to the Heart of Interfaith
   The Art of Protest
   The Church on the Edge
Make a Difference
   Treat your body like a temple
   How are you providing spiritual support for minority veterans?

   What keeps believers from talking about faith?
   Where does a pastor learn the non-seminary necessities?
   Congregations: Hire a missionary
   Can music be your religion?
   My Neighbor is Muslim... for youth!
   JRLC Organizer
   Christian Education Director

Looking Forward  
   Stepping Up to Staffing and Supervision of Church Staff


Blessed Ramadan

From neighborhood hate crimes to campaign rhetoric, we see negativity directed against Muslims. But that is not who we are in Minnesota. We are a  welcoming, caring, respectful community. You are invited to participate in Blessed Ramadan – a way to extend a sign of good will to our Muslim neighbors by placing a sign in your lawn.

Go to for details and learn about a special offer from MCC for lead congregations willing to take an immediate first step with this sign of good will.

Taking Heart Ramadan Iftars open now

As our Muslim neighbors prepare for the sacred month of Ramadan beginning in June (June 6-July 5), the Minnesota Council of Churches is excited to announce a series of open houses at area mosques organized by the Council’s Taking Heart program. Coordinated in partnership with the Muslim American Society of Minnesota, open houses provide an opportunity to learn about Islam, observe Muslim prayer, and share food and conversation at the meal breaking the fast, called an Iftar. Ramadan is the month of the Islamic lunar calendar during which Muslims abstain from food and drink from sunrise to sunset. One of the “five pillars” of Islam, the fast is performed to learn compassion, self-restraint and generosity. 

Read more about these Iftars in last week's Huffington Post: "Interfaith Iftars Aim to Bring Communities Together this Ramadan."
You are cordially invited to meet your neighbors, share an Iftar meal, and learn about each other. Please go to to register!
All events are free and open to the public, but registration is required. 

Community conversation about refugees in Mankato

May 21, 1:00pm
Greater Mankato Diversity Council, Mankato

The number of globally displaced people has risen dramatically in recent years and is expected to continue to rise in response to ongoing conflicts, poverty, and climate change. International and national events have prompted conversations in communities across the country about our American roots, our national identity and the refugee experience. The Greater Mankato Diversity Council will lead this community through a conversation about the refugee experience and our national identity to consider these issues in new ways. Read more about this effort in partnership with MCC Mankato Area Refugee Services, in the Mankato Free Press.

Lead worship for racial justice in June

Remember the victims of last summer's racially-motivated mass shooting at 'Mother' Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, repent of systemic racism, and act for national healing by hosting a prayer service in your congregation. For almost a full year, congregations from over a dozen traditions throughout the state of Minnesota have held prayer services that remind us that when one part of the body is injured, the body is injured, and we can all work towards healing. Find resources to plan a service and register to offer one in June.

Upcoming Events

Enneagram: Motivations & Heart-Longings

May 27-28
Lake Nokomis Presbyterian Church, Minneapolis

The Enneagram is a system which combines psychology and spirituality for the purpose of personal transformation. This workshop explores underlying issues of each type, including a brief introduction to levels. It is centered around motivations and heart-longings: Why do we do what we do? What is our core fear/question? And how can we discover who we are, and act on the true desires of our hearts? Familiarity with the Enneagram from a previous workshop or online research is expected. Learn more (.PDF). Register.

Getting to the Heart of Interfaith

June 6, 7:00pm
Common Good Books, Saint Paul

Pastor Don Mackenzie, Rabbi Ted Falcon and Imam Jamal Rahman began working together in Seattle directly following the events of 9/11. They met weekly to present programs sharing their findings and hosted a weekly radio program. Known for their unique blend of spiritual wisdom and humor, the Three Amigos openly address the taboos of interfaith dialogue--the “awkward” parts of each tradition--in order to foster a more authentic conversation. They have become known as the Interfaith Amigos. This conversation is sponsored by the St. Paul Interfaith Network. Learn more here.

The Art of Protest

June 20-24
United Theological Seminary, New Brighton

In the days of social justice unrest and heightened awareness of the inequalities related to racism, ART has sometimes spoken more loudly than protests. Summer Institute 2016 invites you to discover how art can disrupt our common narrative, speak to a difficult conversation, invite us to a different understanding, and lead us to transformation and action. Learn more and register here. Organized by the Center for Arts, Faith and Culture. (via Kaleo Center)

The Church on the Edge

June 20-24
Washington Island, Wisconsin

When we look at our religious landscape, we can clearly see new growth arising in denominational churches, as people plant worshiping communities and revitalize existing congregations. While each gathering looks different, according to its context, there are patterns to the renewal. What are some common characteristics? What sort of needs are these churches meeting? What can existing churches learn from new congregations? We will explore these questions with Carol Howard Merritt, “Church in the Making” columnist for the Christian Century. Learn more here about this Wisconsin Council of Churches event. (via Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area)

Make a Difference


Treat your body, and your family members', like a temple: avoid toxins.

Christians are called to be stewards of creation, act for justice and treat our bodies like temples. Healthy Legacy, a coalition of groups interested in the creation care of reducing peoples' exposure to toxic chemicals, offers their "best tips to avoid toxins at home."

How Are You Providing Spiritual Support for Minority Veterans?

The Minneapolis VA Health Care System is involved in research about spiritual support groups for veterans coping with trauma. The project director would like to hear from faith communities that are serving substantial numbers of veterans to help find ways to get information about the project to veterans who could benefit from support. There is hope that this may be an effective way to improve support for ethnic minority veterans, so leaders of predominantly minority congregations are especially encouraged to respond by calling Dr. Irene Harris at 612-467-1654. For more information, go to


What keeps believers from talking about faith?

"It's part of faith itself to be able to articulate our beliefs in an atmosphere where we can be heard," says the director of Harvard Divinity School’s Religious Literacy Project. Yet recent Pew polling says even the faithful have trouble doing so. The Deseret News reports on why. (via Religion & Public Life)

Where does a pastor learn the non-seminary necessities?

Congregational Consultant Sarai Rice recommends a number of newsletters that we pull from for articles here in News for the Common Good as well as other books and resources she recommends to pastors who need to learn board management, volunteer motivation, and project design skills that seminaries don’t normally teach.

Congregations: Hire a missionary

Rev. Dr. Katie Hays of the Disciples of Christ has an idea for churches that feel like they’re nearing the end of their life cycles: "Here’s an idea, then, for your church in its latter days: rather than hiring a full-time pastor to maintain the church as it is currently embodied, hire a missionary. Hire someone who is energized and entrepreneurial; someone who has a dozen new ideas before s/he gets out of bed in the morning; someone who would drive your church to distraction if all her/his energy were directed at you. Invite this person to direct their passion elsewhere, with your blessing." Read more, including a sample job description, here.

Can music be your religion?

A new country music song from Maren Morris causes one sociologist to reflect on whether religion is defined by the content of adherents' beliefs or by the social function it plays. Does it require belief in the supernatural, or can it include the cult of CrossFit? (via Religion News Service)

My Neighbor is Muslim curriculum now available for youth

Lutheran Social Service of MN has created a lesson plan and activity guide for youth directors and confirmation leaders called "Loving Our Muslim Neighbors." Written by Sarah Kretschmann of LSS of MN's Church Partnerships and Philanthropy Department, the curriculum is currently available for free download. The lesson plan includes education about Islam as well as an activity guide for a service project and a mosque visit. (via NW MN Synod ELCA)



MCC Job Postings

Joint Religious Legislative Coalition Organizer

Collegial, flexible self-starters with strategic planning skills and skilled at managing volunteers are invited to work as an organizer for one of the nation's largest state-level interfaith advocacy organizations. Learn more here.

Other Faith Community Postings

Christian Education Director (PT), Community Presbyterian Church, Rochester.


Looking Forward

Stepping Up to Staffing and Supervision of Church Staff

August 23-24
Luther Seminary, Saint Paul

Are you stepping into unfamiliar territory where you must supervise others, or have you been supervising others for some time without a clear understanding of what you are doing? Supervision, especially in a faith-based environment, requires learning new skills—probably skills you did not learn during your professional formation. This event provides you with practical skills and tools for supervising the work of others, and aligning the work of the team with the overall goals of the congregation. Learn more and register here.


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