Taking Heart, taking action: Interfaith gatherings look at civic engagement

Jan. 14/Feb. 4 interreligious workshops will look at getting engaged in solving civic problems

By Gail Anderson, Minnesota Council of Churches

Gail Anderson, unity and relationships organizer with the Minnesota Council of Churches, organizes the interfaith project “Taking Heart,” which brings Muslim and non-Muslim neighbors together over good meals and good conversation. This is Ms. Anderson’s recent letter announcing the next Taking Heart events January 14 and February 4, 2010.

Taking Heart participants,

I hope you are all coping well with our miserable weather, and are staring the New Year with joy.  I want to remind you of the upcoming Taking Heart workshops.  Please let me know if you will be able to attend.  As with our regular Taking Heart gatherings, there will be a meal.  Here’s the information:

We have contracted with Brian Rusche Executive Director of the Joint Religious Legislative Coalition (JRLC) to run two training sessions on civic engagement in early 2010.  We will still have food and conversation, but the conversation will be directed toward learning about advocacy.  JRLC is the largest and most inclusive interfaith public interest group in Minnesota—people of diverse faiths bringing vision and wisdom to the public realm for the well-being of Minnesotans. JRLC is authorized and governed by four sponsoring members: the Minnesota Catholic Conference, the Minnesota Council of Churches, the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas, and the Islamic Center of Minnesota.

Brian will help participants identify an issue of concern in their own community.  Training modules include:

–Introduction to the concepts of civic life and civic leadership

–Life-work exercise to clarify one’s aspirations in civic life

–Power analysis exercise; to bring democratic standards to problem-solving

–Value-driven calendar; to help leaders prioritize their work for the good of the community

–Civic goals and standards for community work

Participants will help each other develop work products and also receive one-on-one mentoring from the trainer.

The workshops will be held on Thursday, January 14, and Thursday, February 4, 2010 from 6:00 – 7:45 p.m.  We will meet at the Minnesota Church Center, 122 Franklin Avenue West in Minneapolis.  There is free parking in the lot at the Church Center.  A meal will be served.  There is no charge for the workshop but we do require pre-registration and recommend that you be able to attend both sessions to get the full value.

Please respond via e-mail or phone to Gail Anderson, Director of Unity and Relationships at the Minnesota Council of Churches,  Gail.anderson@mnchurches.org, or 612-230-3210.  Please include your religious affiliation so that we can make this a true interfaith experience.   I am excited about this new phase of the program.  I hope to see many of you there.

Gail Anderson,

Director of Unity and Relationships

Minnesota Council of Churches

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