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.


Meeting at George Floyd Square

BY ELAINE KLAASSEN At 38th and Chicago, where George Floyd was killed on May 25, the streets are blocked off so traffic can’t go through the intersection. Inside this space are many flowers, murals, a medic tent, daily community meals, a library, food giveaways and a group called Agape (unconditional…

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Cargill demo at MIA

On the eve of the six-year anniversary of Cargill’s pledging to stop clearing forests, 30 Mighty Earth activists gathered at the Minneapolis Institute of Art, which houses a Cargill gallery, to commemorate the commitment and sign an oversized renewal-of-vows contract. The document contained an empty line at the bottom for…

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About smiling

BY ELAINE KLAASSEN During the 1990s, my friend Marie was the director of a shelter for homeless women and children sponsored by a small Christian denomination. I visited her once at the shelter and I could see that she gave her whole heart to her work. She smiled at residents…

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Cargill could save the day

BY ELAINE KLAASSEN Our times We live in a time in which the lovers of life and the haters of life are pitted against each other and I am nervously waiting to see if the lovers will win. I am a big fan of co-existence and flexibility and nuance and…

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Defund the police: a letter to the City Council

BY ELAINE KLAASSEN I support the City Council in its intention to defund the police. I’m assuming, though, this doesn’t mean there will be no public safety mechanism in place in the future. I’m hoping this means starting over from scratch, as I understand they did in Camden, N.J., redefining…

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Nurses look for solution to unsafe COVID working conditions

BY ELAINE KLAASSEN Instead of spending their day-off on desperately needed rest and self-care, Twin Cities nurses staged an informational picket in front of United Hospital in St. Paul, demanding “nurse protections” and protesting “United’s retaliation against workers for trying to protect themselves from the COVID-19 virus.” In the early…

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Feeding a growing need

Elizabeth Blanchette, communications and marketing manager at Plymouth Congregational Church, writes the following: There are only a few food shelves in the metro area that have been able to remain open during this time of pandemic. Our own Groveland is one of those few, steadfast and committed in its work…

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Young principal leads high school in Malawi

BY ELAINE KLAASSEN My friend Chikondi Elvis Chabakha is 30 years old. He’s the principal of Cornerstone Christian High School (CCHS) in Salima, Malawi, on the continent of Africa. When the school opened a few years ago there were seven students and one large room (building). But, given the great…

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Simplicity, Community, Justice, Peace

BY ELAINE KLAASSEN In “Mennonite values in a warming world,” David C. Garen articulates spiritual guidelines for living on the Earth. (The piece was printed as a “web-exclusive” for themennonite.org.) Garen is a retired hydrologist who spent most of his professional career with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the…

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