Housewarming Party

February 19, 2014 — Leave a comment

1623404_10152188459198770_508712737_n (1)Come celebrate with us! We recently purchased a new hospitality house (Simone Weil House) and are throwing a party. Our new house will expand our capacity for hospitality as well as be the home for the Gene Stoltzus Center for Creative Peacemaking. We will open and dedicate the Center later in the spring. Bring snacks or beverages if you’d like.

Housewarming gifts will be gladly received, but aren’t necessary. If you’d like to know more about what we still need for the new house, please contact us.

A little ways into the party, we will share a bit about our vision for the house and formally dedicate the house. We will also give folks an opportunity  to contribute to our kitchen renovation fund.

Eventbrite - Housewarming Party for our New Hospitality House

Join us for our second annual karaoke dance party celebrating the work of the Mennonite Worker.

Come get your groove on. Sing a few songs. Laugh with friends old and new. Drinks will be available (with a suggested donation). We’ll have snacks aplenty. And there will be several opportunities to give.

All proceeds will be used to support our ongoing work.

Eventbrite - The Mennonite Worker's 2nd Annual Karaoke Dance Party

On October 31st, we’ll be closing on our newest community house! Thanks to everyone who supported our new house campaign with their donations and prayers. We were able to raise over $84,000 total. We were able to get the rest of the way to $117k sale price with the help our friends at MICAH, who will be co-owning the property with us as we look for ways to partner with each other in the future.

The house has seven bedrooms and may house the Gene Stoltzfus Center for Creative Peacemaking on the main floor. However, we may be renovating the lower level of the garage at Clare House to make that two story garage into the Center. We’ll keep folks posted as that process continues.

We are grateful for friends and family who have supported our community through this process. We are grateful to the seller who decided to sell the house to us, even though she had higher offers from folks interested in it as an investment property. Praise God!

Our plan is to move from Sattler House to Simone Weil House in December. We’ll be sad to see Sattler House (our first community house) close. But we’re excited for the season ahead.

As we move forward, we have a few needs we want to bring to your attention:

  • We will need to install two new boilers in the house as soon as possible. We’re getting formal estimates soon. But so far, the general estimates we’ve received are between $10k-$15k total for removal and replacement of the old boilers. We’ve had folks offer to loan us the money for this project, but we’d be grateful to anyone who could make a donation to help. You can donate online here.
  • We are in need of bed frames, mattresses, bedding, pillows, and sheets for three of the bedrooms.
  • If you have any carpentry skills that you’d be willing to donate, please contact us. We have a few projects we’d like to begin working on and would be grateful for the help.
Stay tuned…soon we’ll announce the dates for our 2nd Annual Karaoke Dance Party, our annual Benefit Dinner, and an open house/unveiling for the Simone Weil House!

Urgent Housing Update

October 7, 2013 — Leave a comment
Could this be the Simone Weil House of Hospitality?

Could this be the Simone Weil House of Hospitality?

On Sunday, a house came on the market (off of 11th Avenue and 24th street). It is a 113 year old triplex. The city values it at 125k…it is beautiful, but we’ll need to eventually raise money for a new boiler system and update the electrical. They’re asking for about $115,000.

The seller is has lived in the house for 20 years. She has other offers (investors) but told us she’d sell it to us if we could show her that we are capable of paying the full amount. We have 24 hours to come up with the rest of the money. We have a few solid leads. But if you are able to donate money to the Mennonite Worker or offer a no/low interest loan, please contact us and we’ll go from there.

We have 75k in the bank. There is also an organization that we’ve been exploring partnership with (they do education and retreats focused on contemplation, prayer, arts, and healing…and are very like-minded) that has offered to help us with a 25k stake in partial ownership. So we are about 15k short. Not to mention that we’d like to have some money left in the bank for things like curtains and other new house stuff.

Any amount helps. The light may be at the end of the tunnel. If we’re able to secure the funds, we’ll close on October 31 and begin the move before Christmas!

Our Agape Liturgy

June 16, 2013 — Leave a comment

Eucharist_3

Agape is the Koine Greek work for “self-giving love”.  In early Christian tradition Agape is also the name for communal meals and times of togetherness and mutual sharing. Often, these “love feasts” were Eucharistic (that means they functioned as the Lord’s Supper). In that spirit, we celebrate the Agape every week, bringing together elements of a traditional Eucharist meal, prayer, confession, and praise. Anyone may lead. And all are welcome to eat at the table.

Here is an example of the liturgy for our agape meal on Sunday nights:

CALL TO THE FEAST

One: This is a table of welcome. All are free to come and eat.
As we gather at this table, we remember these words of our brother
Jesus: “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger,
and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.”

All: We come to this table hungry and thirsty. Satisfy us, O God.

One: As we gather at this table, we remember these words of our brother Jesus: “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.

All:  We come to this table weary and burdened. Give us rest, O God.

One: As we gather at this tale, we remember that Jesus comes to us in the stranger, in the hungry, in the thirsty, and in the one needing warmth.

All: We come to this table as strangers in a strange land. Welcome us into your family, O God.

PRAYER OF ADORATION

One: Let us pray. Living God, you are present in our midst.

All: and we praise you.

One: You are tearing down walls of alienation and exclusion.

All: For this, we praise you…

One: Because, in Jesus, you have shown us a way of hospitality, simplicity, prayer, peacemaking, and resistance.

All:  we praise you.

One:  Because your Spirit makes a new path for us, as we struggle to live in the belly of Empire.

All: We praise you.

One: weak as we are, you fill us with hope.

Lover of our souls, you give us joy.

All:    and we praise you. Amen.

PRAYER OF CONFESSION

One:  We remember that Jesus said: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment.”

All:    Merciful God, we confess that we have not loved you with our whole heart. It is easy to be distracted with fickle dreams and selfish desires. Forgive us.

One: And Jesus reminds us of a second command: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

All:    Loving One, we confess that we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. Our hearts too easily put our needs above the needs of others, seeking comfort and safety without regard for those who have greater need.

Pause for a time of silent confession. Consider these questions:
1) Am I reconciled to all at this table?
2) Does anyone here have a need that it is within my power to meet?
3) Is there anything I cling to that keeps me from offering love to those at this table?

One:   Hear the good news: In the life, death, resurrection, and ascension of our brother Jesus, God proclaims forgiveness. In the name of Jesus, you are forgiven!
All:    In the name of Jesus, we are forgiven!

SETTING THE TABLE

One:  We take joy in the meal, where we give our love and attention to one another, and remember that Jesus too is here, with us. In the midst of this sacred meal we set three symbols to remind us of his promises to us:

Reader 1:       A candle, to remind us that he poured out his Holy Spirit upon us, giving us new life, new power, and new hope. We, filled with this Spirit, bring the presence of God into a broken world.

Reader 2:       Bread, for he is the bread of life. He nourishes us and we put our trust in him.

Reader 3:       A cup, a reminder of his sufferings. He took up the cup with his friends before he was crucified and his blood flowed.  He suffers still when the oppressed suffer injury at the hands of the powerful.

One:  Jesus  is with us! Let us open our hearts to God and to one another. Amen.

PASSING THE PEACE

The people gathered offer one another a sign of peace. Usually, this is a hug, but a handshake is also appropriate.

welcomeMe-300x286The Mennonite Worker has been getting a lot more requests for housing lately. Unfortunately, we’ve had to turn many away. Our existing housing is over-capacity and our fundraising campaign for a new house is behind schedule.

Throughout Christian history, hospitality—welcoming the stranger—has been a central practice of the Church—and it still is in much of the world. In modern America, Christians have largely outsourced a practice that should still inform our way of life together.

In the midst of the Great Depression, Dorothy Day, co-founder of the Catholic Worker movement, urged faithful households to recover the lost practice of hospitality by maintaining “Christ rooms” where those in need may come, find rest, and be refreshed.

We live in a time of deep inhospitality and economic uncertainty. Hundreds of children, women, and men in the Twin Cities need housing in a safe and loving environment. Shelters are rarely loving and seldom safe. Therefore, we are urging Christians to remember the practice of hospitality. A weakened economy, continued job losses, and falling home values continue to push an increasing number of families out onto the streets. People who have never experienced homelessness are ending up at shelters and are finding themselves lost in a confusing network of agencies and organizations as they struggle to get back on their feet.

So what are we, the Church, to do about it? Our first of many responses should be to practice hospitality–to welcome those who have recently lost their homes into our homes until they are able to gain access to the support and services they need to be back on their feet. This is our opportunity for us to be show Christ to the world.

The Christ Rooms Project—a ministry of the Mennonite Worker—exists to foster and support a network of hospitality rooms throughout the Twin Cities for those who are facing homeless through eviction, foreclosure, or economic hardship.

Towards that end:

  • The Mennonite Worker will provide hospitality training to congregations and families. If you’d like to host a workshop on Christian hospitality, contact us.
  • We will build a network of Christ Rooms throughout the Twin Cities. If you have a spare room you’d like to make available to someone in need of housing, contact us.
  • We will offer ongoing support to those offering Christ Rooms.

* * * * * *

“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in.” Matthew 25:35

“Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.”
Romans 12:13

“Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.”
Hebrews 13:1-2

46917_10201067959288267_1549241676_nOn Good Friday, we held a public liturgy and anti-drone witness at the US Courthouse. Over twenty people attended the service. The liturgy explicitly linked the crucifixion of Jesus Christ with the ongoing “crucifixions‘ of up to 5000 children, women, and men since 2004. It was cold.

After a time of prayer, song, and testimony, we ended with a litany. The concluding lines of that litany were:

We bear witness to Babylon’s drone strikes in Pakistan and Yemen.
You have stained our hands with the blood of our neighbors!
We bear witness to endless war in the Middle East.
You have stained our hands with the blood of our neighbors!
We bear witness to continued oppression of the indigenous!
You have stained our hands with the blood of our neighbors!
We bear witness to the mass incarceration of young black men.
You have stained our hands with the blood of our neighbors!
We bear witness to the daily crucifixion of our Lord in the oppressed.
In complicity and complacency, our hands are stained with his blood.
In our repentance, we will resist the powers of domination.
Lord, in your mercy. Hear our prayer. Amen.

Then the liturgy continued as Brian Kraft, Joshua Miller, Brett Taylor and I took our fake-blood covered hands and proceeded to the US Courthouse and put our hands on the building as we continued to sing and pray. The fake blood was made to wash away easily (our friend Marty made it from syrup, soap, and food coloring). We offered to clean up, but they wouldn’t let us. The only times we were threatened with arrest was when we put up a sign on the Courthouse that said “Since 2004, 2500-5000 people have been crucified by drone strikes.” They also threatened us with arrest if didn’t move the protest to the sidewalk.

In the end, we refused to leave the courthouse area. At that point were arrested for 4th Degree Destruction of Property and spent about 7 hours in jail. Josh has court on April 11, Brett and Brian on April 12, and I have court on April 19. Josh and Brett qualified for a public defender. Brian and I, though, make too much money to qualify. In my case, the cutoff is $2500/month for a family of three. Since that isn’t a ton of money and I have my finances tied up in our ministry of hospitality, we don’t have enough money for a lawyer.

534121_10151518753033770_1830898541_nAnd so we’re asking for help. Brian and I are asking for donations to help with legal costs.If you’d like to help, go here and write “legal” in the “Other” category. Any extra donations will be held by the Mennonite Worker for any future legal costs associated with civil disobedience. And, since I’m asking for money already, please consider donation to our New House Fund. We’ve raise $70,000 for a new house of hospitality and have a ways to go before we can afford something large enough.

sheidayi20130123172211060Holy Week is about remembering Jesus’ bold witness in Jerusalem. He turned over the tables of the money changers, spoke boldly subversive words, broke bread with friends, and died a criminal’s death. On Good Friday, we remember the death of Jesus. We also remember the crucified around the world. Today, our government’s chosen form of execution is drone warfare.

Join us on Good Friday, March 29, at 4pm at the US Courthouse in Minneapolis (300 S 4th St, Minneapolis, MN).

We’ll gather for a public liturgy where we will remember the witness of Christ.  We gather to lament our complicity with our government’s death-dealing, to repent, and to move together more deeply into embodying the Good News of Jesus.

Please join us for the Mennonite Worker’s (formerly Missio Dei) third annual benefit dinner on Saturday, February 23rd at 7pm at Faith Mennonite Church (2720 E 22nd St Minneapolis).

Proceeds from this dinner will help us with our goal of raising 100K for a new hospitality house.

Dinner will include appetizer, dinner and dessert. Please let us know if you are vegan or have other dietary concerns.

Our menu includes moussaka, Greek salad, and cheesecake. We’ll also serve mint lemonade. If you are vegan or vegetarian, please send an email to mark@mennoniteworker.com so we can prepare an alternative dish for you.

Dinner will be accompanied by live music. There will also be some poetry and a brief presentation explaining our fundraising project.

Childcare will be provided, please let us know if you will be bringing children and their ages.

$10 suggested minimum donation…you can pay online, but we’d prefer that you pay via cash or check at the door (there are less fees that way). All are welcome, regardless of donation.

Please RSVP by February 16.
If you are unable to attend, but would like to donate, visit our website.

If you have any questions, email: info@mennoniteworker.com

karaokedancepartyYou are invited to the Mennonite Worker’s first ever karaoke dance party. All proceeds will go towards our goal of raising $100,000 for a new hospitality house and peace center. You can find out more about that here.

Music will be selected from the 70s, 80s, and 90s (though nobody will mistreat you if songs from the 60s sneak their way in). Prizes will be awarded to awesomest karaoke performance, raddest dance moves, and most righteously retro garb (all are encouraged to dress themselves in their sweetest vintage apparel).

All are welcome.

Date: Thursday, December 6th

Time: Doors open at 6:45pm. karaoke and dancing 7pm to 11pm

Location: upstairs from the Nomad World Pub at 501 Cedar Ave S in Minneapolis

Misc: Snacks will be provided. Drinks available at the Nomad World Pub downstairs.

No cover charge, but there will be opportunities to make a donation.