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Friday, June 5, 2020

Dear St. Philip the Deacon friends,

In my sermon last weekend, I mentioned that we would be exploring specific ways St. Philip the Deacon can respond to the recent devastation in South Minneapolis. I am writing today to let you know about two specific initiatives that we will be supporting as a congregation. Each of these is directly connected to two of our staff members—Norah Long and Kate Sterner—who both have homes in the epicenter of the recent riots, just three blocks from the 3rd Precinct on Lake Street.

The two initiatives—#PaintOurPeace and #CommonTableSouth—are designed to help rebuild the spirit of the community Norah and Kate and all of our brothers and sisters in South Minneapolis call home.

#PaintOurPeace is an initiative spearheaded by Norah, designed to transform the plywood coverings on the windows and doors of looted properties. This initiative will offer these “blank canvases” to passersby as a place to add their own positive, uplifting message to the greater community through the power of art. This work has already begun, resulting in a spirit of comfort, strength, joy and hope. There is a possibility of eventually displaying this art as a MIA exhibit, and the hope is that the panels will ultimately be auctioned off to raise money to support the rebuilding of the community. Search #paintourpeace or view Norah’s Facebook profile for images related to the early stages of this effort.

#CommonTableSouth is a community effort designed to bring people together and provide for the neighborhood by bringing in food trucks for pay-as-able/pay-it-forward meals in this area—where every restaurant has been destroyed. During the Covid-19 pandemic, these food trucks are a way to encourage community around a common table in a supportive atmosphere, while still maintaining social distancing. Importantly, these trucks are not being asked to donate their food—instead, this initiative also helps to bring income to these restaurant industry businesses which have been hit so hard during the pandemic.

How You Can Help Now

Make a Donation of Materials This Sunday:
On Sunday morning, we invite you to drop off the following painting supplies at the church parking lot from 8:15 to 9:30 a.m.—when you can also pick up donuts! These supplies will be delivered by SPD members on Sunday afternoon:

  • Latex gloves (many pairs!) and hand sanitizer for COVID-19 protection for community artists
  • Water and healthy snacks like nuts and granola and protein bars, for community artists standing in the hot sun
  • Inexpensive or used paintbrushes of ALL sizes, for artwork from broad stroke to detail work
  • Clear enamel sealer for finished panels
  • White/light primer
  • Rollers for priming and sealing
  • New or used screw-in broom handles for roller extensions
  • Sunscreen lotion and aloe lotion

Make a Financial Contribution:
Donations of cash will be used to purchase painting supplies and specific paint colors as needed, and to secure food trucks and provide free meals. You can either send a check made out to St. Philip the Deacon directed toward “Hi-Lake Neighborhood Initiatives,” or else make an on-line contribution to the Angel Fund, indicating “Hi-Lake.”

A couple of additional thoughts:
First, we are certainly aware of the many wonderful relief efforts that have already been happening in South Minneapolis. We celebrate each and every one of these, and enthusiastically encourage participation in them. These two specific initiatives are not intended to replace or supplant any of those—they are simply ways that allow us as a congregation to focus our congregational support in a way that feels particularly faithful and responsive, given our connection to Norah and Kate.

Second, we are continuing to explore additional ways we can be supportive of the longer term need to address the underlying issues facing us as a society and a culture. Stay tuned for classes, prayer services, book suggestions and other initiatives in the weeks ahead.

For now, we give thanks to you for your encouragement, your support, and your prayers. With you, we look forward to a brighter tomorrow, filled with the hope that only God can provide.

“Let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.”
– Amos 5:24

Grace and peace,

Tim Westermeyer
Senior Pastor
twestermeyer@spdlc.org
763-475-7136

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William J. Toms