Our Convenings

In a Time Such as This: October 7 & 13, 2021

Description

MnMN’s interfaith, statewide convening called, “In a Time Such as This: The urgent need for building stronger multifaith communities in Minnesota,” was held October 7 & 13, 2021. Participants gathered in response to the urgent needs and disorientation of the past year, coming together around shared values and providing a salve to the wounds of systemic oppression, division, isolation, and trauma that communities have been struggling with during these turbulent times.

Testimonial

“This was a wonderful gathering in every way – the speakers, moderators, all the details, the small groups, the prompts. Probably the best Zoom I’ve attended, and I attend a lot of them.” Leslie Martin (participant)

Featured Guests

  • Shanta Premawardhana, President, OMNIA Institute for Contextual Leadership, is an international speaker who trains people of faith to act collaboratively and effectively to counter religious extremism and religion-based injustices. He shared a vision of the role faith and interfaith organizations have in the quest for just communities.
  • Whitney Terrill, Environmental Justice Program Manager, Minnesota Interfaith Power & Light, is deeply committed to equity, diversity and inclusion for all people. She provided a local and very personal perspective for our conversation together.
  • Holly Brod Farber, Co-Director, Speakers Bureau/The Letters Project, Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas, and John Emery, Executive Director, Islamic Resource Group, spoke of the value of convening, bridge building, and enhancing mutual understanding and religious literacy in Minnesota.

Special Thanks

In addition to our featured guests, we are grateful to those who provided context, information about the MnMN network, and blessings:

  • Joann Conroy, President of the American Indian Alaska Native Lutheran Association of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, ELCA Pastor, Chaplain at the Good Samaritan Society/Sanford Health in St Paul, enrolled member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, Pine Ridge, South Dakota, and MnMN Network Council member
  • Adam Stock Spilker, Senior Rabbi at Mount Zion Temple, Chair of MnMN’s Network Council, and member of MnMN’s Board of Directors
  • Ben Connelly, Senior Teacher at MN Zen Meditation Center, and MnMN Network Council member
  • Zafar Siddiqui, co-founder (and past president) of Islamic Resource Group, Enterprise Systems Architect for the State of Minnesota, and MnMN Network Council member
  • Dr. Shashikant Sane, President of Hindu Community Center and the Hindu American Temple School
  • Jessi LeClear-Vachta, Director of Enrollment Services at Luther Seminary, and MnMN Network Council member
  • Anantanand Rambachan, Emeritus Professor of Religion at St. Olaf College, Hindu leader, and Chairperson of MnMN’s Board of Directors
  • Rabbi Esther Adler, Rabbi at Mount Zion Temple
  • Courageous Courage Collective, event planners and convening facilitators

Resources

Discerning Our Moral Commitments Together: June 17, 2021

Description

MnMN’s interfaith, statewide convening called, “Discerning our Moral Commitments Together: A Multifaith Conversation on Racial Justice and Human Dignity” was held June 17, 2021. A deep conversation with people committed to the flourishing of all communities in Minnesota took place online. Participants shared thoughts about racial justice, human dignity and what faith communities can do together to propel needed change. 

Special Guests

Professor Anantanand Rambachan, MnMN’s board chairperson, prolific author, and a global leader of interfaith networking, helped set the tone with a reminder that our religious, social, and professional destinies are joined, different faiths have common values, and conversations like this break boundaries. Read the text from his opening statement HERE or play and then scroll the video found below ahead to approximately minute 5:00.

Special guest Reverend Jia Starr Brown, senior pastor of First Covenant Church, shared her own personal story about how she became present and engaged with the community at 38th and Chicago in Minneapolis following George Floyd’s murder. She spoke of relationships moving excuses out the window in order to make room for learning, authentic advocacy, and emotional connection. Rev. Brown’s portion of the recording may be heard starting at approximately minute 14:30.

Karen Wills, executive director at Minnesota Unitarian Universalist Social Justice Alliance, offered a meditative opening blessing. Rabbi Adam Stock Spilker, senior rabbi at Mount Zion Temple, talked through next steps and encouraged participants to reach out to one another and stay in relationship. Chiemi Onikura Bly, minister in the Jodo Shinshu Buddhist tradition serving the Twin Cities Buddhist Association, closed the convening by sharing “The Golden Chain.” Courageous Change Collective facilitated all large group sections of the convening; small, breakout sessions were facilitated by MnMN’s network members, board members, and operations team members

Resources

View resources below. 

  • Read Professor Anantanand Rambachan’s welcome message HERE
  • Large group sections of the convening were video recorded and may be viewed HERE
  • Small breakout session NOTES were collected using Jamboard.