The Call to Rise After Crisis A Conversation with Meena Natarajan and Ingrid C. A. RasmussenNovember 9, 2021 By Collegeville Institute Leave a Comment What happens when a church is called during a crisis to not just to the people in the pews, but to the families, organizations, and businesses in the neighborhood? In this episode, we speak with Meena Natarajan, Executive and Artistic Director of Pangea World Theater, and Ingrid C. A. Rassmussen, pastor at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church. Together, they tell the story of their friendship and partnership in the Longfellow neighborhood of Minneapolis following George Floyd’s murder in May 2020. Pangea Theater produces community-based art and Holy Trinity is a Lutheran congregation located one block from the Third Police Precinct, which was burned during protests again police brutality in Minneapolis. Since those events, Ingrid and Meena have been meeting together with a coalition of community leaders called Longfellow Rising. Holy Trinity is one of thirteen congregations taking part in Collegeville Institute’s Communities of Calling Initiative. The Communities of Calling Initiative is a five-year program that grants congregations funds to design a new project or enhance existing ministries that help Christians discover and deepen their sense of God’s calling in their lives. Topics and resources discussed in this episode: Communities of Calling Initiative (CCI) Holy Trinity Lutheran Church’s CCI Learnings & Activities Pangea World Theater Longfellow Rising Public art display in the Longfellow neighborhood Bios Meena Natarajan is a playwright and director and the Executive and Artistic Director of Pangea World Theater, a progressive, international ensemble space that creates at the intersection of art, equity, and social justice. She has led the theater’s growth since its founding in 1995. Meena has co-curated and designed many of Pangea World Theater’s professional and community-based programs. She has written at least ten full-length works for Pangea, ranging from adaptations of poetry and mythology to original works dealing with war, spirituality, personal and collective memory. Ingrid C. A. Rasmussen joined the Holy Trinity community in 2013 as Associate Pastor and became Lead Pastor in 2017. Ingrid grew up in a small town in Southwest Minnesota as the daughter of a church organist, which meant that she spent more than her fair share of time under the organ pipes on Saturday nights. It’s there that her curiosity about the intersection of faith, the church, and public life began. Years of study in Atlanta, GA, combined with work in a free health care clinic, led her into ordained ministry. She cannot imagine a better life’s call. Ingrid lives in the Longfellow neighborhood of Minneapolis with her husband and children. Ellie Roscher is a writer, theology teacher, and host of the Unlikely Conversations podcast. She is a board member at the Collegeville Institute and the author of 12 Tiny Things, Play Like a Girl, and How Coffee Saved My Life. Ellie holds an MFA in Writing from Sarah Lawrence College and an MA in Theology from Luther Seminary. She lives in Minneapolis with her spouse and sons. Follow Ellie on social media at @ellieroscher [Twitter, Instagram, Facebook]. Matthew Ian Fleming edited the audio for this podcast. You can find Matthew on Instagram at @matthewianfleming and his other podcasts at www.alterguild.org. Discussion questions Crisis brought Ingrid and Meena together. Now they are working together to build community and belonging in the context of multiple, simultaneous pandemics. How have the COVID-19 and racism pandemics impacted your individual callings? What about the callings of your congregation? Meena speaks about the commitment to keeping neighborhood land affordable and prioritizing BIPOC ownership. She sees this as one way to right the wrong of systemic racism. How is your congregation being called to address social issues like systemic racism? Pastor Ingrid poses a significant question: “What is the call of our church at this moment in our neighborhood?” What is your church’s response? Pastor Ingrid details what her community learned through deep listening, a crucial component of any discernment process. What role does (or could) deep listening play in your congregation? Next Steps Check out resources to explore calling in your congregation on the Communities of Calling Initiative website. Read an interview in Faith and Leadership with Holy Trinity Pastors Ingrid Rasmussen and Angela Khabeb, where they reflect on the changes that have taken place in the year since George Floyd’s murder. Miss the last episode? Listen to Holy Trinity staff member Ann Schrooten discuss her calling to serve through music, and how that vocation transformed during the pandemic and following George Floyd’s murder. Follow the work of the Collegeville Institute on social media at @collegevilleins [Twitter, Instagram, Facebook] and subscribe to our email newsletter Like this post? Subscribe to have new posts sent to you by email the same day they are posted.