An Exciting New Partnership in Downtown Minneapolis
In late 2019, the leaders and membership of Gethsemane Episcopal Church in downtown Minneapolis discerned that it was time for a new chapter in the life of their community. One thing they knew for certain about this new chapter was that it would no longer involve gathering in their historic building.
In the months since that decision was made, our world has shifted in incredible and dramatic ways. We as a church have been called to use all the resources at our disposal to join the justice movement as followers of Jesus.
With this in mind, it is an incredible privilege to announce that the Episcopal Church in Minnesota will be partnering with Twin Cities Stand Together (TCST), an organization on the front lines of justice work in Minneapolis, to lease the Gethsemane Episcopal Church building.
TCST will operate a community center out of the Gethsemane building that will house programs for downtown residents of all ages, serving the needs of our most marginalized citizens, and will act as a hub for groups who are working to address systemic racism in our city.
Since Minneapolis was the epicenter for the largest and most diverse movement for racial justice and healing that we have even known in this nation, I can think of no better way for us to partner with and support this holy and important movement than by offering the use of one of our properties, especially when the congregation who most recently worshipped there was so committed to serving our neighbors with the love of Jesus.
Another expression of this partnership includes starting innovative new faith community in the worship space at Gethsemane, centered around racial justice and healing and led by the Rev. Katie Capurso Ernst. If, in the future, TCST purchases the property from ECMN, our agreement allows us to continue to use the worship space so that we can maintain one or more worshipping communities there for as long as we would like to.
This is not the end of anything, but is rather the continuation of a legacy of justice work done in Jesus’ name.
In light of that, I offer my own words of gratitude and appreciation for the generations of Episcopalians who built Gethsemane—the community and the building. To those who devoted their lives, who used all the wisdom, passion, energy and giftedness that God had blessed them with to enact the Kingdom of God in their midst. This work has not ended, but has evolved. Thanks be to God.
TCST has incredible plans and vision for the space, which I believe we in ECMN are called to support.
Robert Steib, TCST President, puts an emphasis on creating jobs and leadership opportunities for the members of the community and stresses the importance of the community taking ownership and accountability in the efforts to improve the unacceptable social and economic conditions in the Twin Cities area. He puts it this way, “We must stand together and only together, can we create a safe and nurturing environment for our youth while building a better world for all to live in, a place of peace, prosperity and EQUALITY“.
Today, I invite you to support this new life by:
Pray: for the leadership and passion and energy of TCST. Pray for provision, abundance and blessing. Pray for justice. And pray for the generations of those who called Gethsemane home.
Donate: in coming days, there will be opportunities to donate to a building renovation fund. These renovations include updating the building, but also include preserving the historic worship space for future use by Episcopalians and others.
Join the live online event: next week, TCST will be going live to hold a virtual press conference and presentation of their new vision. As siblings in partnership, I invite you to join the gathering and listen for the ways the Holy Spirit may be calling you to movement join in this new initiative. Follow ECMN's Facebook page for more details.
Grace and Peace,
The Right Reverend Craig Loya
Episcopal Church in Minnesota