Making reparations for racial injustice is foundational to who we are. As a predominantly white congregation, we are continually grappling with our legacy of white supremacy and colonialism. We are on a journey of listening and learning, building relationships and taking action. Our worship services begin with land acknowledgements. Sermons and study groups regularly reflect on our call to address racism. We show up in our community to advocate for systemic change.
We have committed to making our reparations a part of our yearly budget. Beginning this year, members of the congregation have the opportunity to make a financial pledge to support the work of reparations. Visit our online giving page to make a gift and participate in this important work with us.
In 2022, we are building relationships and sharing the reparations funds we have gathered with three organizations: the Anishinabe Academy, Black Men Teach and Makoce Ikicupi (Dakota Land Recovery).
The justice team has three working groups, which meet both separately and together: Climate, Racial Justice, and Immigration. If you would like to become involved in any of these groups, you are most welcome. Please contact the church office and we will put you in touch with the leader of the group.
The climate justice working group partners with Minnesota Interfaith Power and Light. We appreciate MN IPL’s framework for addressing climate justice at three levels: household, systemic, and relational/ spiritual. This year, we are exploring what it means to become a climate justice household/congregation. Group leader: Paul Fate
First Church is a sanctuary supporting congregation. We are part of a coalition in our neighborhood that has come together to care for and advocate for immigrant families. We provide various kinds of hands-on support and we advocate for greater justice and compassion in our immigration system. Group leader: Missy Roterdam
The Racial Justice Group looks for creative ways to engage with the organizations we are supporting with our reparations funds — Black Men Teach, Anishinabe Academy, and Makoce Ikicupi. Our goal is to form relationships, to listen, learn, and to commit to bold actions toward change. We invite the congregation into this work through discussion groups, book studies, and speakers, and by participating in events and actions in the larger community. In our racial justice work, we also partner with ISAIAH MN. Group leader: Carey Seeley Dzierzak
Ways to take action for the climate
The home energy squad will help you save energy by installing items such as low-flow faucets, LED lightbulbs, a smart thermostat, and weather-stripping (offered at a very discounted cost). They will also provide a report detailing projects you could undertake to make your home more efficient (ie insulation). Use promo code MNIPL for a 50% discount if there is a fee. Learn more about home energy squad visits and request one here .
The People’s Climate and Equity Plan is being put forward by a coalition of organizations in Minneapolis. Learn about the campaign and sign up here.
We can divest from fossil fuels and invest in climate justice by considering where we bank and how we invest. Find information and tools here (scroll down to “Divest/ Invest” section of document).
More about Black Men Teach
Last year, we were able to make a contribution to Black Men Teach from our capital campaign funds and this year we will be offering a portion of our reparations funds. Our contributions are sponsoring two student teachers — Keondre Lewis and Devon Minke. We hope to get to know these two men, learn from them and support them on their journeys. Here are brief interviews with each of them, conducted by First Church member Linda Kelsey.