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You are invited to Groundswell: A Learning Summit

You are invited to Groundswell: A learning summit exploring the call to be neighbor

Saturday, June 3rd, 2023 9:00am – 3:00pm at Augsburg University 

Co-hosted by Riverside Innovation Hub and MAS Faith Practices & Neighboring Practices

Over the past two years Minneapolis Area Synod’s Faith Practices & Neighboring Practices and Augsburg University’s Riverside Innovation Hub have shared a commitment to accompanying congregations as they discern their call to BE neighbor, rooted in their faith and open to the neighborhood. As the first learning cycle comes to an end and a new one begins, we are coming together to celebrate and learn from this groundswell of people engaged in what it means to be neighbor in the world. We’ll be joined by both congregations and individuals who are doing the work in neighborhoods all over Minnesota. 

On June 3rd, we will gather for a day to hear stories from near and far in a variety of mediums, participate in skill-centered interactive workshops for all types of leaders, and practice deep community building. We will be gathering folks that have a growing heart for their neighbor, are curious about who God is and what God is doing in the world and find themselves around people who are shedding some of their fears about taking risks and not afraid to fail. 

We invite you to join us as we continue to support and learn from each other on how we are called to be the public church in our neighborhoods! 

Registration will open on March 24th and will close on May 5th.

Childcare and Interpretation will be available upon request if indicated on registration form. 

Community Stories

In preparation for our learning summit, we have been gathering stories about this experience from our learning congregations. Below you will hear from two of our learning partners. 

RIH Reflections from Yvette Hewitt at Church of the Epiphany: 

What is something you want to be sure to carry forward when the learning community wraps up?  I want to continue being in dialogue with our neighbors and excited for engaging in future relationships utilizing the four public church art forms. The phase “Trust the process” will be very valuable as we begin to implement our learning experience with the greater congregation. 

Discernment was a new concept for me. I plan to implement it more in my decision-making. I cherish the new friendships developed within our team, cohort group, RIH leadership, and other congregations during this learning opportunity.

Why does it matter that you are a part of this learning and experimentation?

Personally, professionally, and as a follower of Christ, this learning experience has changed the way I view and understand who is my neighbor. I want to be more awake and present in my daily interactions.

Where have you seen God at work over the learning community’s time together?

Our team has faced tremendous obstacles but God had another plan for us. The text from Ezekiel 47:1-12 imagines a river full of vitality and fruitfulness. God is replenishing our team with resilience, energy and vision to complete this work.  I have seen areas of desolation beginning to emerge into places of new birth and opportunities to develop authentic relationships within our community.

RIH Reflections by Felecia Schmidt at Diamond Lake Lutheran Church 

In our fast-paced, goal-oriented culture it’s difficult, sometimes nearing impossible, to slow down. To see past our own bubble. To not get caught up in our daily grid and bogged down by the big picture.  The experience with Riverside Innovation Hub (RIH) and this learning community has offered an opportunity to step off that path, pick our heads up and look around at the neighbors around us in a way we hadn’t fully realized. To feel the warmth of empathy and the refreshment of listening without an agenda. 

In the beginning, the artforms felt abstract. At times it was a challenge to understand them and how they fit into our lives, our church and the connection with our neighbors. Throughout the learning experience with RIH the artforms were not only understood, but they also became essential tools for deeper understanding of ourselves, our church and its role in our neighborhood. One of the greatest and most surprising outcomes for me was the weaving of the artforms into my personal life. Imagine the ripple effects when it is nurtured and blossoms within our own hearts. 

From this experience I want to carry forth the artforms.  It’s the place I’ve felt God at work the most. Concepts that have always been present but this learning experience has brought clarity and intentionality to them.  Understanding them has meant operating with grace and patience. It has meant taking the time to discern, even when there is a sense of urgency. It’s meant honoring every person’s story. It has meant being humbled and facing hard truths and faithful responses. 

With stirred spirits, renewed curiosity and a deeply-realized need to be connected to our neighbors, we step out into our neighborhood with fresh eyes and God’s grace. 

We can’t wait to share more stories with you all at the Groundswell! We hope to see you there! If you have any questions, please reach out to Ellen Weber at or Kristina Frugé at

FPNP Reflections by Rachel Carmichael of Salem Evangelical: 

What is something you want to be sure to carry forward when the learning community wraps up?

I want to continue to check in with what we’re doing as a congregation and faith community. I want to be intentional about the work that we’re doing and at the same time I also want to remember the flexibility and openness that the learning community embodied, especially through the leaders of the learning community. I want to continue to check in with other faith communities because I think that support, connection and environment is key.

Why does it matter that you are a part of this learning and experimentation?

This is really important work. Part of my time with this learning community has been spent remembering this. Our work is changing, always, but it is still relevant and vital. Sometimes its hard to name that, amidst the busy-ness, but it’s important to remember the value in work that we’re all doing at whatever level you’re involved. It matters to me to be apart of a big movements of growth. What an incredible program! I’m truly sad it’s coming to an end but hope that this can provide a momentum towards other incredible learning communities. Thank you for allowing me to be apart of this wholesome goodness!

Where have you seen God at work over the learning community’s time together?

This is going to sound really general- but God has been apart of this process the entire time which is how I feel life works. Even in the hardest, most challenging spaces – God is there! God is pushing me to my limits and continually encouraging me to leap towards growth- mostly uncomfortable but absolutely necessary. And that has been happening during my time with this learning community, almost continually. The learning community gave me a space to be intentional about my involvement with my faith community. Selfishly, I really enjoyed finally developing a faith practice routine and I think that was an important way to begin our time together because it provided a strong foundation for the other elements we covered. It helped to remind me that God is present in my personal life- and I started there, so it opened my eyes to see other places God is working. 

FPNP Reflections by Pastor Ali Tranvik of Cross of Glory: 

When we began the Faith Practices & Neighboring Practices journey nearly two years ago, I remember the leaders sharing a lesser-known translation of John 1:14–the verse often cited as “the Word became flesh and dwelled among us.” This translation put it in slightly different terms: “the Word became flesh and blood and moved into the neighborhood” (MSG). It was shared as a reminder of a truth we’ve had the gift of witnessing more and more deeply over the course of these two years together: Jesus is already alive and at work in our neighborhoods (in Brooklyn Center, in south Minneapolis, in East Bethel, in Crystal, etc.), and is present in the physical, flesh-and-blood bodies of those who live within them. And with that confession came a question: what would it look like for the churches located in these neighborhoods to take part in the work that Jesus is already up to there? 

That question has compelled the FPNP faith communities into a variety of practices (both faith and neighboring–which turns out, are one in the same) these past two years. For us at Cross of Glory, our practices included a new rhythm of shared meals with neighbors old and new, where God has shown up in bread broken and in conversation shared. We look forward to continuing to gather with neighbors at tables–and to encounter the Jesus who lives in our neighborhood at them.