Elaine Klaassen

Spirit and Conscience, columns by Elaine Klaassen

Elaine started at Southside Pride in 1996 selling ads, maintaining the religion calendar and writing articles that eventually became a column called Spirit and Conscience. Since 2011 she has been the paper’s managing editor.


Peace of Pie Festival

BY ELAINE KLAASSEN One day a member of Minnehaha Communion Lutheran Church (MCLC) said out loud, “I want to feed people pie,” and her thought did not fall on deaf ears. The Peace of Pie festival was born, and will be held in the fruit tree orchard of Adams Triangle…

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Powderhorn resident volunteers at Humanitarian Respite Center in Texas

BY ELAINE KLAASSEN When people come into the U.S., through various entry points at the southern border, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) considers them a danger until proved otherwise. Once an asylum seeker has passed the “credible fear” interview and can show they have a family member or sponsor somewhere…

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‘The Hobbit’ at the Children’s Theatre Company

  J.R.R. Tolkien’s masterpiece “The Hobbit” will be playing at the Children’s Theatre Company until April 14. Go and see two hours of excitement in this adaptation written and directed by Greg Banks. Altogether the show is two hours, counting the 20-minute intermission, but I count it all as excitement.…

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Offering (gratefulness)

BY ELAINE KLAASSEN “The Scramble for Africa” is a very long book about Europe’s takeover of the continent of Africa at the end of the 19th century. The story is appalling, mostly because of the confidence of European rulers to just take and control whatever they found there, as though…

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Spirit and Conscience Love for the Earth

Love for the Earth BY ELAINE KLAASSEN Since all the great romantic loves of my life are now either married, dead, or sainted hermits, I decided on Valentine’s Day that my last great love affair will be with the Earth. As my good luck would have it, there was a…

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Beaten dog inspires kindness

BY ELAINE KLAASSEN A friend’s beaten dog inspired the kindness of Southside Pride’s IT support person. Celia Wirth and her husband, Ron Wirth, are friends with a senior citizen, Gemma Barry,  who lives a few blocks from the restaurant/bar where Ron is a brewer, Roma in Mahtomedi (50 beers on…

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Books by local authors make great gifts

COMPILED BY ELAINE KLAASSEN According to treehuggers.com, “Icelanders have a beautiful tradition of giving books to each other on Christmas Eve and then spending the night reading. This custom is so deeply ingrained in the culture that it is the reason for the Jolabokaflod, or “Christmas Book Flood,” when the…

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Pillsbury House Theatre supports our deepest values

BY ELAINE KLAASSEN Sunday night, Dec. 9, I went out into the cold dark night to witness wonderful collaborations—people creating art moments together—at Pillsbury House Theatre, 35th and Chicago. Children in the after-school program there had paired up with professional volunteer performers, playwrights and directors to create the little 10-minute…

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A slim glimmer of a conscientious shopper

BY ELAINE KLAASSEN My friend Alex Chandler, who describes herself as a person with a passion for making the world a better place, is part of the ethical consumer movement. She looks for “companies that are committed to Fair Trade and environmentally-friendly practices, treat their employees well, and do not…

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It takes a neighborhood to write a book

BY ELAINE KLAASSEN Seward Neighborhood has written an intriguing book about its own history. The project has involved a “cast of thousands,” and took seven years to complete. Its 19 chapters start before the arrival, in 1850, of the first non-Natives who built homes and settled, and end in the…

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Bells Chime Again at St. Joan of Arc

FROM ST. JOAN OF ARC CATHOLIC COMMUNITY After years of silence, the bells of St. Joan of Arc Catholic Community are ready to bring their joyous sound to the neighborhood again. Church bell ringing goes back thousands of years. Historically, church bells announced the time of day, ringing on the…

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Pollinator population urgently needs plant diversity

BY ELAINE KLAASSEN Daily emails to my inbox plead with me to “save the wolves, save the polar bears, save the bees … !” Two environmental films I saw recently at Transition Longfellow warned me of the fragile state of our Earth. I am still shaken. I know the Earth…

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Spirit and Conscience: Hope Lutheran Church remembers remarkable choir camping trip program

Hope Lutheran Church is celebrating its unique choir camping trip program, which ran from 1967 to 2003, with a reunion on Saturday, Sept. 15. All choristers and chaperones that made these trips possible are invited. These were not singing or performing tours, nor were they educational programs or religious retreats. They…

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The Power to Change (peaceful intention)

BY ELAINE  KLAASSEN In the year 2000, the U.N. developed the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals, the MDGs, an initiative to decrease extreme world poverty, to guarantee primary education for everyone, to support equal rights for women and men, and to fight major diseases. The initiative ran until 2015 and…

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Holiness (emerging)

BY ELAINE KLAASSEN If I were to rank different activities in the order of physical difficulty, that is, the amount of effort required, from the most difficult to the easiest, it would look like this: 1) giving birth 2) emerging from the ocean not having drowned 3) playing Chopin Etudes…

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