Study Buddies help students succeed; Blessed Ramadan; Refugee Co-sponsorship ministry: programming vs. discipleship; events in Twin Cities, Mankato, Wisconsin
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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
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 State Baptist Convention

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

Presbyterian Church (USA)
Presbytery of Minnesota Valleys
Presbytery of 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 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 11, 2016

In this Issue

   Blessed Ramadan
   Recruit Study Buddies to help students succeed
   Co-sponsorship: The cornerstone of church ministry to refugees
   Community conversation about refugees in Mankato
   Rev. Canon Chemberlin receives 2016 International Citizen Award
   Radical empathy
Upcoming Events 
   Religious communities supporting Black Lives Matter
   Trauma and its Aftermath
   Effective Supervision through Coaching
   Bicycles, Faith & Equity
   Enneagram: Motivations & Heart-Longings
Make a Difference
   Donate necessities to welcome refugees
   Your phone call will help Minnesota remain a leading steward
   How are you providing spiritual support for minority veterans?

   From programming to discipleship
   Social media is changing ministry
   Balancing sin and forgiveness
   JRLC Organizer
   Christian Education Director

Looking Forward  
   The Church on the Edge
   Stepping Up to Staffing and Supervision of Church Staff


Blessed Ramadan

Be a source of peace and hospitality in Minnesota by publicly wishing your Muslim neighbors a ‘Blessed Ramadam.’ Witness to the caring nature of your community and welcome others by placing a positive lawn sign in your yard. The Minnesota Council of Churches (MCC) has designed a lawn sign or you can make your own. MCC is preparing to distribute ‘Blessed Ramadan’ signs to Minnesota faith communities and individuals in advance of the start of Ramadan on June 6. Keep an eye on for the latest developments and opportunities to participate.

Recruit Study Buddies to help students succeed

Minnesota Council of Churches is pleased to announce the launch of Study Buddies, an innovative initiative designed to recruit and match volunteers from the faith community to tutor children who are struggling to succeed in school. Through emerging partnerships with schools and community-based organizations that provide excellent services to children and support for their volunteers, we are convinced that together we can make a real difference. Visit our website for more information about this meaningful way to live out your faith through service to others, and keep looking for more information as we get closer to the 2016-17 school.

Co-sponsorship: The cornerstone of church ministry to refugees

Did you know that nearly half of all foreign-born residents in Minnesota are refugees? Each year Minnesota welcomes around 2,100 new refugees and your church can play an important role in welcoming these new families through co-sponsorship with MCC Refugee Services. Read about a Minnesota Methodist church’s third experience as a co-sponsor. Learn more about co-sponsorship, and read about the experience of Holy Trinity Lutheran, at the MCC Refugee Services blog.

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. The Blue Earth County Historical Society along with Minnesota Council of Churches and the Greater Mankato Diversity Council will host.
A photographic exhibition on display at the Blue Earth County History Center is open now through July 30. It seeks to provide a new perspective on the often hidden lives and compelling experiences of refugees in our communities. The exhibition consists of contemporary color portraits accompanied by first-person stories highlighting the plight and resiliency of refugees who call Minnesota home. BECHS is the inaugural presentation of the exhibition which will travel to other Minnesota communities in the summer and fall. Learn more in this article from Southern Minnesota Scene.

Rev. Canon Chemberlin receives 2016 International Citizen Award

On Tuesday evening, the International Leadership Institute honored our CEO, Rev. Canon Peg Chemberlin, with the 2016 International Citizen Award. Rec. Chemberlin, and MCC, received this award because of “many achievements and contributions to local communities and international programs through interfaith dialogue and refugee resettlement.” Read her remarks in accepting the award on the MCC blog, wherein she quotes Brethren leader Comenius in saying “We are all citizens of one world. We are all of one blood. To hate a man because he was born in another country, because he speaks a different language, or because he takes a different view is great folly. Desist I implore you, for we are all equally human.”

Radical empathy

Rabbi Morris Allen of Congregation Beth Jacob, reflecting on the Passover Seder at Interfaith Action of Greater St. Paul, said the exodus challenges us to engage in “radical empathy in a world of increasing hostility.” You could also help people develop more empathy in real life by hosting a Respectful Conversation. Be a source of peace and understanding by hosting a Respectful Conversation on “race” relations, guns in Minnesota, immigration reform, same-sex marriage, or some other topic that risks polarizing your congregation or broader community.


Upcoming Events

Religions communities supporting Black Lives Matter

May 12, Noon – 1:45pm
Interfaith Action of Greater Saint Paul, Saint Paul

MARCH is a new movement/organization seeking to bring the energy and successful experience of LGBTQ justice work in recent years to matters of racial justice. Three leaders of MARCH, with multiple interfaith and justice work connections, will share the work of MARCH, its roots in the gay rights movement, its goals to engage congregations/faith communities in racial justice, and its relation to Black Lives Matter, Black Clergy United for Change and other related groups. Dialogue with and among the presenters and participants will focus on how the religious communities can work and relate supportively to movements and organizations working for racial justice, and how interfaith relationships and cooperation can enhance the work.  Learn more here.

Trauma and its Aftermath: Moral Injury and Moral Meaning-Making

May 13-14
SpringHouse Ministry Center, Minneapolis

Clergy, chaplains and lay congregational leaders will be equipped to address issues of trauma and its aftermath that affect their wider communities. In May, Rita Nakashima Brock of the Soul Repair Center at Brite Divinity School will speak on moral injury and moral meaning-making. Learn more here.

Effective Supervision through Coaching

May 20, 8:30am - 11:30am
Minnesota Council of Nonprofits, Saint Paul

The most effective nonprofit supervisors not only oversee tasks and responsibilities of their employees but also develop and enhance employees' natural talents. In this interactive workshop format, you'll hone your applied coaching skills as a supervisor. Learn more here.

Bicycles, Faith & Equity

May 21, 8:30am – 3:00pm
Hope Community Church, Minneapolis

Join the Proximity Project to answer “How does active transportation, such as bicycling, work toward human flourishing?” “How can churches encourage equitable access to jobs, housing, and health by promoting bikeability in our cities?” and “What is the role of the church in urban planning?” Learn more here.

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.

Make a Difference

Donate necessities to welcome refugees

After a winter of booming donations we are seeing a quiet spring. Some of our shelves are empty of necessities for refugees starting life over here in the Twin Cities. Our most current needs are:

  • Shampoo
  • Alarm Clocks
  • Bathroom cleaner and sponges
  • Laundry detergent and baskets

Your phone call will help Minnesota remain a leading steward

Christians are called to be stewards of creation, act for justice and treat our bodies like temples. One way we do these things in Minnesota is by preventing toxic chemicals from entering our environments and our bodies. In the last 9 years we have passed 8 laws that protect families and our environment. Yet Congress is considering a bill that would remove the state’s ability to lead on these issues. Our friends at the Healthy Legacy Coalition urge Minnesotans of faith to call their US Representatives and urge them to “keep House language in the final Toxic Substances Control Act bill which does NOT have state pre-emption.” Learn your Representative’s contact information here.

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


From programming to discipleship

John Wimberly of the Congregational Consulting Group writes that for churches, hosting intellectually stimulating lectures and offering summer youth programming ‘because it’s what we’re used to doing’ is a poor use of members’ time given other community organizations offering of the same – often in a more professionalized manner. However, “[t]he strong competition for our members’ time is an incredible opportunity for us to define more clearly what God is calling our congregation and its members to do in this time and place.”

Social media is changing ministry

When staid UK Anglicans and Catholics are embracing hashtags you know that social media is changing the way churches communicate. Read about the new opportunities for ministry being opened by new communication technologies. (via Faith and Leadership)

Balancing sin and forgiveness

You may not hear it every day, but belief in sin is actually good for you. It both helps you to live up to higher standards and helps you to experience forgiveness yourself. Placing too much of an emphasis on sin, however, can lead to fear, distrust, prejudice and neuroses. Learn more about research on the health effects of belief in sin from Ahead of the Trend.



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


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)

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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