Society looks to church to take lead on racial justice; $130,000 in grants and scholarships; Opportunities in Chaska, Twin Cities, Duluth, Fargo, Collegeville, D.C., and Wisconsin
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Our Members

African Methodist Episcopal Church
Fourth Episcopal 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
Minneapolis Area Synod
Northeastern Minnesota Synod
Northwestern Minnesota Synod
Saint Paul Area Synod
Southeastern Minnesota Synod
Southwestern Minnesota Synod

Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America
Metropolis of Chicago

Mennonite Church
Central Plains Mennonite Conference

Moravian Church
Northern Province
Western District

National Association of Congregational Christian Churches
Fellowship of Minnesota Congregationalists

National Baptist Convention
Minnesota-Wisconsin Baptist Convention

Pentecostal Assemblies of the World
Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Dakotas District Council

Presbyterian Church (USA)
Presbytery of Minnesota Valleys
Presbytery of the Northern Plains
Presbytery of Northern Waters
Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area

United Church of Christ
Minnesota Conference

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 Programming
Whether through a Taking Heart Ramadan Iftar, #BlessedRamadan sign, 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 to 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.

About "News for the Common Good"

MCC's bi-weekly e-newsletter builds the common good in the world by sharing items of interest to our statewide community of congregational decision-makers. Content is curated from submitted news, member newsletters, and other sources. We emphasize cross-pollination and bridge-building between faith, broader nonprofit, and other social sectors.

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December 21, 2016

In this Issue

   Video games and neighbors can both teach us empathy
   Growing opportunity gap
   Racial justice is imperative for the church
   You could office in the Minnesota Church Center
Upcoming Events 
   Healing Stories: In Search of Light
   Regional Discernment Retreat
   Recharge: Youth Leadership Conference
   Collegeville Writing Workshops
Make a Difference
   Making room for refugees

   How to be last
   Using sports, yoga, and dance to teach religion
   A banner year for religion onscreen
   Progressive churches experience "Trump Bump"
   Grant: Vital Worship
   Grant: Pastoral Internships
   Grant: Mentoring for Young Adults
   Grant: Vocational Resources
   Grant: National Clergy Renewal Program
   Scholarship: Bright Lights
   Refugee Program Specialist: Housing Specialist
   Interim Executive Director
   Minister of Music
   Nursery Care Provider
   Processing Center Management

Looking Forward  
   JRLC Day on the Hill
   Ecumenical Advocacy Days
   National Workshop on Christian Unity



Video games and neighbors can both teach us empathy

Empathy has been a hot topic of 2016. Did we lack it as a society? Or did we have so much of it that it clouded our rationality? As people called to love our neighbor as we love ourselves, Christians still seek to develop our capacity for empathy.” Learn it in a video game. Or build your empathy muscle by participating in a Respectful Conversation, a structured, facilitated experience that is effective in depolarizing conflict and helping people to live together in community. Learn more.

Growing opportunity gap

"A social and cultural shift is occurring throughout our region,'' said Robert Thurston, Chairman of the Southwest Initiative Foundation Board of Directors, at a recent conference. In Marshall and Willmar, students of color are not matching their white peers in academic achievement, due largely to the lack of opportunity that comes with being in a lower social class. But there are ways to bridge the gap: Check out Life Learners and indicate your interest in helping a young Minnesotan today.

Racial justice is imperative for the church

The Henry Luce Foundation just awarded Vanderbilt Divinity School $1 million for a Racial Justice Collaborative. The nation is looking to its churches to lead the way towards racial reconciliation. Your congregation can also take steps forward: Invite a member of the Black Clergy Speakers Bureau to talk about being black in Minnesota. Learn about MCC’s tools for fostering racial justice through your congregation.

You could office in the Minnesota Church Center

Nonprofits that wish to locate near downtown Minneapolis, Loring Park, and Eat Street in a building with on-site parking, professional reception staff, and a café can take advantage of 1,000-1,500 square feet of office space available in the Minnesota Church Center. The building was highlighted by the Downtown Journal as a “treasure to see,” and our Franklin Terrace Café was singled out for praise. Contact Minnesota Council of Churches’ COO Doug Swanson at 612-230-3201 for leasing details. Learn more about the Minnesota Church Center.

Upcoming Events


Healing Stories: In Search of Light

January 4, 8:00pm

Laura Simms will tell a tale and use it as a touchstone for inspiring a meaningful conversation about how we are feeling at present and how we can be helpful to ourselves and others in this time of sudden potential change, even danger. This will be a facilitated workshop, not necessarily a talk. However, "it is my hope that following on our listening, and responding" we can engage in questions and answers about the application of this approach in our own healing work as storytellers. Learn more about how to dial in to the free workshop here.

Regional Discernment Retreat

Apply by January 6
Retreat March 30 – April 2, 2017
Oak Ridge Conference Center, Chaska

The Forum for Theological Exploration’s Regional Discernment Retreat brings together a diverse group of young adults and Christian leaders who are making an impact in their communities. This event offers an opportunity for young adults to explore deep questions about their purpose and passion. Attendees will participate in conversations with peers and leaders and will explore innovative models of ministry. If you wish to nominate someone, please speak with nominees about the retreat prior to making your nomination. Click here to learn more about FTE’s Discernment Retreats. Click here to nominate someone.

Recharge: Youth Leadership Conference

January 7 and 14, and February 11, 2017
Twin Cities, Fargo, and Duluth

Recharge is a one-day conference to inspire and equip church staff and volunteers serving in children’s, youth, and family ministries. Learn more and register.

Collegeville Writing Workshops

First deadline: January 16, 2017

Practice writing and revising with Lauren Winner; work on writing for online audiences with the editors of Religion Dispatches; practice writing about theology for general audiences with Thomas Long; or transform your academic ideas into something readable with Michael McGregor. Read on for more details.

Make a Difference


Making room for refugees

This Christmas we remember that Mary and Joseph sought a place that would welcome them as outsiders in Bethlehem, and how days later as refugees they fled Bethlehem to escape Herod’s terrible order and find welcome in a new land. We invite you to join us in making room for the refugees in our midst today by donating household basics. We are especially in need of: bathroom hand towels, twin flat sheets, full blankets/comforters, dish soap, deodorant, soup bowls, trash bags, and plastic hangers. Donations can be delivered to the Minnesota Church Center during business hours. For more information, please visit our website.


How to be last

Christina Cleveland writes that “privileged people, when invited to participate in the work of justice and equity, end up being paralyzed by defensive shame and lack of purpose.” How can people accustomed to being leaders learn to play the role of "the last," supporting other leaders while also remaining active?

Using sports, yoga and dance to teach religion

In the latest edition of Religious Studies News, articles focus in a variety of manners on how to teach religion through physicality, whether practicing or observing it. Read about using sports to teach American religious history, case studies of religion and sports, and the theory and practice of yoga in the downloadable journal from the American Academy of Religion here (PDF).

A banner year for religion onscreen

Vox staffer and former Christianity Today film critic Alissa Wilkinson explains that, moreso than in previous years, 2016 films and TV shows dealt with religion and religious characters more realistically, seriously, and with greater complexity and sincerity. Read her review and add some titles to your cue or DVR list.

Progressive churches experience "Trump Bump"

Writing in The Atlantic, Emma Green notes a post-election increase in worship attendance at progressive churches and suggests that “this political environment might be theologically, morally and intellectually generative for progressive religious traditions.” Read her whole article here.

Grant: Vital Worship

Deadline: January 10, 2017

The Vital Worship Grants Program at the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship seeks to foster vital worship in congregations, parishes, and other worshiping communities in North America. The program especially focuses on projects connecting public worship to intergenerational faith formation and Christian discipleship. (via News & Ideas)

Grant: Pastoral Internships

Deadlines: February 1 and September 15, 2017

Pastors and congregations play a major role in helping young adults see themselves as leaders of Christian communities. Providing young people with the opportunity to try on the mantle of leadership and helping to expand their imagination about what is possible through the church helps to cultivate future Christian leaders. The Forum for Theological Exploration (FTE) provides grants for internships in traditional and new forms of church, introducing young adults to pastoral ministry and congregational ministries engaged in the broader community. Eligible congregations are those that create pastoral leadership and learning opportunities for high school and college students, and that work with young adult volunteers within their community. Congregational recipients receive up to $20,000 and gather annually with their interns in a community of practice. Learn more here.

Grant: Mentoring for Young Adults

Deadlines: February 1 and September 15, 2017

Young adults find direction and strength from mentors who walk alongside them as they explore their purpose and discern their vocation. FTE Mentoring Grants lay a foundation upon which congregations and church-related organizations can support and accompany the next generation of church leaders. The Mentoring Grant brings together experienced, gifted leaders who have a history of mentoring to work with talented young adults exploring their purpose and call. These mentors guide and support, cultivating space for young people to consider what their vocational journey holds. Recipients receive up to $10,000 - $20,000 to develop mentoring programs. Mentors gather annually to share challenges, best practices, and mentoring resources. For more information on eligibility and the application process, click here.

Grant: Vocational Resources

Deadline: February 1, 2017

Christian communities must be equipped to inspire young adults to explore deep questions of meaning, purpose, and identity. They also must have the capacity to help young leaders seek their vocation in Christian leadership as a way to make a difference in the world. FTE offers grants to diverse congregations and church-related organizations for the purpose of developing vocational resources to support young people exploring Christian ministry. The grants help these communities establish meaningful approaches to vocational discernment. Recipients receive up to $10,000 and gather in a community of practice with other grantees. Learn more. (via Faith & Leadership)

Grant: National Clergy Renewal Program

Deadline: April 21, 2017

The Lilly Endowment National Clergy Renewal Program at Christian Theological Seminary (CTS) seeks to strengthen Christian congregations by providing opportunities for pastors to step away briefly from the obligations of daily parish life and engage in a period of renewal and reflection. Renewal periods are not vacations but times for intentional exploration and reflection, for regaining the enthusiasm and creativity for ministry, and for discovering what will make the pastor’s heart sing. Learn more.

Scholarship: Bright Lights

Deadline: May 31, 2017

Clergy, firefighters, and law enforcement officers with children planning to attend a two- or four-year college or university and who have financial need are eligible for up to $5,000 in scholarship assistance through the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation. Applicants need not live in the KC region. Learn more.



Minnesota Council of Churches Opportunities

Refugee Program Specialist: Housing Specialist (FT)

Use your case management experience with refugees or immigrants and knowledge of the local refugee and immigrant community and resources available to it to locate and secure housing for refugee and asylee program participants.

Other Faith-community Postings

Interim Executive Director (PT), Wisconsin Council of Churches, Madison
Minister of Music (PT), Living Table UCC, Minneapolis
Nursery Care Provider (PT), Christ Episcopal Church, Woodbury
Processing Center Management (FT), Samaritan’s Purse, Minneapolis


Looking Forward


JRLC Day on the Hill

February 23, 2017
RiverCentre, St. Paul

At JRLC's 2016 Regional Days on the Hill, we pondered what we could learn from Moses about advocacy and building a more just society. In preparation for 2017 and to build on past years' successes, we will meet to find a new theme. We will also reconnect in the newly renovated Capitol building. Join us for a year of re-building! Register.

Ecumenical Advocacy Days: Confronting Chaos, Forging Community

April 21 – 24, 2017
DoubleTree by Hilton, Crystal City, VA

When Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. posed the question “Where do we go from here: chaos or community?” in his book of the same title 50 years ago, no one could have imagined that we would still be wrestling with this question today. In that same year, on April 4, 1967 – a year to the day before Dr. King was assassinated – he spoke at Riverside Church in New York and identified the intersectionality of “the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism,” the principal challenges of the time. Five decades later, Dr. King’s prophetic insights and challenges, and the stark choice between chaos and community, are incredibly current. Come to workshop and witness.

National Workshop on Christian Unity

May 1 – 4, 2017
Downtown Hilton, Minneapolis

The 2017 National Workshop on Christian Unity will be a very special time. Ecumenists from across the United States will gather in Minneapolis the first week of May to reflect on themes of reformation and church unity. A primary focus will be to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the transformational events in Wittenberg in 1517, which initiated both a series of reforms and tragic tensions among Christians in Western Europe. The workshop will be a time to remember reforms, reformers, and reformations in the life of the Church. And it will be a time to work together on our common journey to heal the wounds of discord and separation so that the world may believe. Learn more about the gathering being held in Minneapolis.
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