Events – Religion Calendar

Interfaith Coalition on Immigration (ICOM) Planning Meeting
Thursday, Feb. 18, 6:30 p.m.
Friends Meeting House
1725 Grand Ave., St. Paul 55105
ICOM and MIRAC (Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Committee) work together to work for justice and rights for immigrants. There is a monthly planning meeting to discuss plans for monthly vigils held to stand in solidarity and to raise awareness in the general population of immigrant detentions and to organize other related actions. Anyone is welcome to get involved.

Neighborhood Night: Somali!
Tuesday,  Jan. 23, 7 p.m.
Church of the Holy Name (Garvey Hall/Lower Level)
3637 11th Ave. S.
See the PBS documentary “Next Door Neighbors—Somali,”  part of a video series exploring immigrant and refugee communities that focuses on Nashville’s Somali community. It features both challenges and achievements of the Somali community. In our own Twin Cities and Powderhorn communities, our growing population of Somali neighbors is going through similar experiences. Come and learn more about these neighbors. Coffee and discussion included. Bring a friend! No cost/no registration. For more info:, 612-724-5465.

Minnesota Peacebuilding Film Series
Tuesday, Jan. 23, 7 to 9 p.m.
Birchwood Café Community Room
3311 E. 25th St.
Peacebuilding films are typically the fourth Tuesday of each month at the Birchwood Café. Bring your appetites for positive social justice change.
January’s feature film is “Girl Rising,” stories of nine girls from developing countries that show them overcoming great obstacles to obtain an education and change their fates.
Seating for the film is limited so please register: If you plan to order food and drink, please arrive at 6:30. The series is sponsored by

Dedication of Healing Hub
Sunday, Jan. 28, 9:45 a.m. (worship); 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. (open house)
Minnehaha Communion Lutheran Church
4101 37th Ave. S.
The Healing Hub is a new way for Minnehaha Communion Lutheran Church to extend itself to the community. The congregation has spent the past few years learning about trauma and its effects on people’s lives and is working to put its arms around anyone who is suffering. The congregation has created a special room in the church building for anyone who needs a calm place for difficult conversations or a meditation or for a group discussion. There is no charge for the use of the room, but reservations are needed. Donations will be accepted. Weighted blankets, fidgets and neck snakes are available to be used for a calming effect. Stress-reducing items such as a rocking board, a platform swing, a body sock (for children), exercise balls, noise-canceling headphones, relaxing nature sounds and aroma therapy diffusers are all available to be checked out from the sensory library.
There will be a blessing of the Healing Hub during worship followed by an open house. Refreshments will be served. The event is open to all people. Everyone is welcome. Call 612-722-9527 with questions.

Looking Ahead to World Storytelling Day
Tuesday, March 20
Landmark Center
75 5th St. W., St Paul 55102
If I can hear your story, it’s harder for me to hate you. That is the premise of World Storytelling Day. The World Theme this year is “Wise Fools.” See The event at the Landmark Center is titled “Wisdom on the Folly of War,” with four veterans, Nothando Zulu (Black Storyteller’s Alliance) and Phuoc Tran (first Minnesota Vietnamese-American librarian). Our event rejects the Burns/Novick documentary premise that “The war in Vietnam was started in good faith, but mistakes were made.” The stories of March 20 will explore the idea that the War in Vietnam would have ended before it started if we had truly followed the principles and values we say we believe.  Those precepts include the Constitution, the military’s Geneva Conventions and Uniform Code of Military Justice, the Church’s Just War Theory, ethical business practice, and spiritual principles as reflected in Martin Luther King’s speech on Vietnam. For more information contact Larry Johnson,, author of “SIXTY-ONE” (61 stories calling for less war, fewer veterans and no arguing on veteran care) at


Help Immigrants through Difficult Times
Volunteer Training
Saturday, Jan. 6,  9 a.m. – 1 p.m., in English
Location in the Twin Cities to be determined
We volunteers of Conversations with Friends (CWF) are in solidarity, brotherhood and friendship with our brothers and sisters in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention who suffer from isolation, loneliness, uncertainty and fear as they face deportation and, as a consequence, possible permanent separation from their family, friends and communities. Through our group visits in jail classrooms, letter writing and other programs, we show that we truly care; they are not alone.
Everyone attending the training will be trained to write letters and to visit so that when a visit opportunity arises closer to the Twin Cities, folks can choose to participate if they would like. After attending training there is no obligation, simply an invitation.
Our volunteers are typically 22 years and older and  post-college, since they find they are more able to meet the weekly letter-writing commitment. There is no cost to attend the training.
Our training is primarily for new letter writers who, once trained, write a weekly letter to a person (usually male) detained by ICE in a Minnesota county jail, until the time the person is released or deported. You might be writing weekly to the same individual for as short as one to two months or as long as six to eight months. At this time, we are especially in need of those who can write in Spanish since more than half of those with whom we visit and write are originally from Mexico or Central America.
Secondarily, the training is for new visitors. We are in conversation with other Minnesota jails and hope to begin a visit program with at least one of them in early 2018. That will increase our need for new visitors. Until that time, we are especially in need of Spanish speakers interested in visiting in Albert Lea. Our visitors typically visit once per month or once every other month, but at a minimum once per quarter.
Our training includes a presentation by an immigration lawyer from The Advocates for Human Rights covering the legal issues of particular interest to CWF letter writers and visitors; anonymous profiles and stories of people with whom we have visited;   multiple opportunities to participate in “active listening” sessions, led by hospital chaplain Paula Bidle, where we will respond to challenging questions/themes relating to people in ICE detention; a presentation on CWF and our letter-writing and visit programs.
Since October 2015, we have been visiting, in a group of about six CWF volunteers, the men in immigration detention at the Freeborn County Jail in Albert Lea, MN, two Sunday nights each month in a large classroom setting. The men are originally from Mexico, Central America, Somalia, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria, Sudan, Colombia, Ecuador, Vietnam, Burma and other countries.
Since March 2011, we have been visiting people in ICE detention at the Ramsey County Jail in St Paul on the second and fourth Sunday evenings of every month. Ramsey County just recently announced that effective Jan. 1, the Ramsey County Jail will no longer be housing ICE inmates. This is especially good news for ICE detainees since there are no windows, no opportunities for fresh air, and no exercise facilities there.
For additional information:
Please see the article published on 7/6/17 by CIVIC (Community Initiatives for Visiting Immigrants in Confinement) that describes the CWF visit ministry to the Freeborn County Jail. The link also includes beautiful tributes to  Rev. John Guttermann who started CWF in 2010 and died on December 29, 2016: civic-spotlight-conversations- with-friends-349b578d2f81
To register for our training:
Simply email Director Steve Kraemer
952-240-3501 (cell)

Inter-Faith Gathering:  Solidarity Action Vigil & Courtwatch
Tuesday, Jan. 9, 7:30 a.m.
Whipple Federal Building
1 Federal Drive, St. Paul 55111
We claim all spaces as sacred
As People of Faith We Gather To:
–  Invoke the legacy of Minnesota’s own Bishop Henry Whipple, who was a tireless worker for the cause of Indigenous peoples’ rights, and against unjust imprisonment and deportation;
– Reaffirm our support for continuation of DACA, including 840,000 people nationwide and 6,000 in Minnesota and for passage of a clean Dream Act bill;
– Bear witness to the terror of ICE; oppose ICE’s intent to expand immigration detention capacity in our region;
– Stand in solidarity to oppose racism, Islamophobia, racial profiling, and hate.
The Whipple Federal Building houses an immigration court, which is now flooded with cases, and is responding by authorizing many deportations every week.
Join us as we assert that this building and court are the People’s property—our property—and renounce the inhumane acts that are done there in our name.
At 8:30 a.m. after the vigil, we will invite up to 10 people to stay until 10:30 a.m. to witness immigration hearings and the tragedy heaped on our communities by the immigration courts.  More details will be provided at the vigil.
Please be with us as we sing, pray and take a stand, as people of all faith traditions, in our shared connectedness with all that is sacred.  All are welcome!
Come, Pray, Support!
For more information, visit our Facebook page: Interfaith Coalition on Immigration (ICOM). Questions may be directed to Chris at 612-716-5907.
Mission Statement: “Interfaith Coalition on Immigration engages in courageous spiritual, multicultural action in solidarity with immigrants and refugees
to achieve justice and stand up to systems of oppression.”

Vets Ministry Roundtable
Tuesday, Jan. 9, 12:30 to 2 p.m.
Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church
2315 Chicago Ave. S.
Military experiences can leave a complicated residue of feelings, which are often very hard to verbalize. Hear from several vets who use the expressive arts to ARTiculate their HeART concerns. “Art as Antidote to Moral Injury.”
Learn a bit about three of our presenters from their postings on the Minnesota Vietnam Story Wall:  Stephen Gates  and Larry Johnson and  David Cooley  There’s also a story about how making art can help, from a vet who’s sadly no longer around to do it: Please also contact us if you’d be interested in discussing the Ken Burns Vietnam War series. Wars are never really over.
Anyone interested in ministry with veterans and their families is invited. There is no cost for the program. Lunch is gratis. Please let us know you’re coming. or 612-871-2967.

Arias, Songs & Keys
Sunday, Jan. 14, 4 p.m.
Mount Olive Lutheran Church
3045 Chicago Ave. S.
Mount Olive Music and Fine Arts presents a delightful afternoon of arias, songs and piano music featuring local freelance professional singers Chandler Molbert and Tricia Van Ee, with pianist Jill Dawe, performing works by Schubert, Vaughan Williams and Brahms. Also featured will be Mount Olive’s recently acquired Steinway piano. A reception follows. Free and open to the public. A freewill offering may be received to support the Music and Fine Arts program.


HIV Update: Recognizing AIDS Awareness Month
Tuesday, Dec. 13, 7 p.m.
Church of the Holy Name (Garvey Hall/Lower Level)
3637 11th Ave. S.
The science of HIV is ever evolving and progressing.  With all of the new information, it can be difficult to separate fact from fiction when discussing HIV.  This presentation will provide a review of the basics of HIV, along with updating participants on the latest information on HIV prevention and treatment.  Recent articles in the Star Tribune have pointed out that HIV/AIDS is an ongoing problem in MN for over 8,400 people and that HIV is becoming more drug resistant and more frequent in certain populations.  World AIDS Day/AIDS Awareness Month is December so join us for this timely topic.  Our presenter is Chelsea Mathison-Sward, the TEACH Community Education Coordinator for the MN AIDS Project.  Bring a friend and join us for learning and community building. No cost/no registration; coffee provided.  For more info:,  612-724-5465.

Homeless Memorial March
Thursday, Dec. 21, 5 p.m. (march and silent vigil); 6:30 p.m. (service of remembrance); 7:30 p.m. (community meal)

This event is to honor people who have died while homeless in Minnesota. The march and silent vigil begin at the Hennepin County Government Center at 3rd Ave. S./ 5th St. S. and will follow 5th St. westward to Nicollet and proceed south to 28th St. The service of remembrance will be held in the sanctuary of Simpson United Methodist Church, 2740 1st Ave. S., followed by the community meal in Simpson’s lower level. Shuttles to the march will depart from Kmart at Lake St. and 1st Ave. at 4 p.m. The last shuttle will leave at 4:20 sharp. All are welcome.

Christmas Eve Day at Walker Methodist
Sunday, Dec. 24, 10:30 a.m. & 2 p.m.
Walker Community United Methodist Church
31st St. & 16th Ave. S.
Walker Church is celebrating the fourth Sunday of Advent during its regular Sunday service on Christmas Eve Day. There will be a potluck following the service; then we will have the “Littlest Angel Christmas Pageant” at 2 p.m. The pageant will include congregational singing and will end with lighting the final candle of the Advent wreath.

Special Events at Nokomis Heights Lutheran
Sunday & Monday, Dec. 24 & 25
Nokomis Heights Lutheran Church
5300 10th Ave. S.
Christmas Eve Services are Sunday at 4 and 10 p.m. No regular Sunday morning worship will be held on that day. There will be worship on Christmas morning at 10 a.m. followed by Christmas Coffee, which includes delicious Scandinavian and other treats.



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