It has been a number of months since my last email update. To those of you who are recent additions to this email list, thank you for your interest and support of the Hostel for Seeking Souls ministry exploration. As some of you are aware, my wife Danae and I have had our hands full recently, welcoming a new member into our family (Cedar Holden Lukis). While I was blessed to be able to take 6 weeks of parental leave at the end of this summer, the Grant Application for this New Ministry Exploration continued to progress through the review process. In the first few weeks back in the office since taking parental leave, the Hostel for Seeking Souls project has really stepped up a notch!
In the last month the Hostel for Seeking Souls has now received formal support and approval from the Synod Council, Synod Mission Table, and Churchwide body, meaning that this project is now an official exploration of the ELCA. We have not only received the green light to begin a formal “exploration phase” for this proposed mission development, but we have also received some generous and critical funding from the Minneapolis Area Synod and the Churchwide office for a 6-month period of networking, experimenting, and discerning. While there is certainly no guaranteed future outcome of an exploration like this, we are excited to work toward establishing a test-pilot for this threefold ministry model (Community of Faith / Temporary Asylum Seeker Housing / Travel Hostel) while continuing to build deeper relationships with potential ministry partners. We have been busy beginning to network with other local individuals and organizations who are already active in walking alongside Asylum Seekers. Some of these organizations include the Basilica of Saint Mary’s Immigration Ministry, Twin Cities asylum seeker housing ministries like Johnathon House, Casa Guadalupana, and Sarah’s Oasis, as well as Lutheran Social Service Minnesota, the MN Asylum Network, and The Advocates for Human Rights who provide free legal aid to Asylum Seekers. From all of the organizations listed above we have continued to hear the clear message that temporary housing for Asylum Seekers is indeed a significant/ongoing unmet need in our community. We receive this as affirmation/confirmation that the Holy Spirit has indeed sent us barking up the right tree. Aside from the official green-light, I am thrilled to share that this “exploration phase” status comes along with a budget equally funded by the Minneapolis Area Synod and ELCA Churchwide organizations. This funding creates the opportunity to bring in a new colleague to lend her perspective and skills to this ministry exploration: the highly qualified and energetic Bethany Ringdal.
Meet Bethany Ringdal
Greetings, fellow travelers! My name is Bethany Ringdal, and I am pleased and privileged to serve alongside Pastor Jason as the brand new Mission Explorer for the Hostel for Seeking Souls. For the next six months, it’s my job to join Jason in wondering what God might be up to in this call to share hospitality with our global neighbors. I’ll be asking lots of questions, praying lots of prayers, and inviting friends old and new to join us in this grand experiment in following Jesus. If I haven’t taken you out for coffee yet, I’d sure like to!
Here are a few handy things to know about me. Jason and I are old friends; we met over 10 years ago, when we were both working at Camp Amnicon (in other words, this isn’t our first adventure together!) I graduated with a Master of Divinity from Luther Seminary, and found studying theology to be one of the greatest joys of my life. I love adventures of every sort: in a canoe, in the kitchen, in the wonders of the human heart, and in the mysteries of God’s Spirit. I like to test the boundaries of what’s currently possible as I hold space for God’s dream for the flourishing of all life. Other than the Hostel, my latest big adventure is becoming the mother to a sweet baby named Sam, with whom I get the chance to test the boundaries of what’s possible (on not very much sleep) every day.
God bless you, you marvelous adventurers you!