Journey to Freedom: Embracing God's Cultural Mosaic of People
Sunday, August 4, 2019
Sunday, August 11, 2019
Sunday, August 18, 2019
This event recurs Weekly from Sunday, July 21, 2019 to Sunday, August 18, 2019

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Park Avenue United Methodist Church
3400 Park Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55407

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Rev. Jia Starr Brown

Journey to Freedom: Embracing God's Cultural Mosaic of People is a five-week summer study beginning July 21, 2019 at Park Avenue UMC in Minneapolis.

Five guest preachers will be speaking from the same Bible verses each Sunday, but with a different cultural lens. There will also be activities open to the community throughout the week to create space for intentional listening and exploration—amplifying the need and value of diversity in our worship communities. Worship services begin at 10 a.m. on Sundays. View brochure with more details.

Same scripture, five different cultural lenses

Each preacher will speak from Acts 8:26-40. Learn more.

July 21: Bethany Ringdal preaching: Women Lens
Bethany Ringdal is passionate about leaning into what's possible for the future of God's mission and church. She began her ministry of innovative Christian community as a director at Camp Amnicon, a wilderness ministry on Lake Superior. She is a co-founder, with Pastor Jia, of Spirit Lab, an initiative to discern God's leading for spiritual formation in theological education. She has a B.A. from Gustavus Adolphus College and a Master of Divinity from Luther Seminary.

July 28: Rev. Jesús Purisaca preaching: Immigrant Lens
Growing up in his native Peru, Jesús and his 13 siblings helped his father preach, lead worship, teach literacy, and serve communities of faith. He immigrated to the USA in 2003 without knowing any English, and started attending and volunteering at Park Avenue Church. He earned a Masters of Divinity from Luther Seminary in 2013 and was appointed by the Minnesota Annual Conference to pastor a Spanish-speaking church plant in South Minneapolis, Iglesia Piedra Viva, which is comprised of immigrants and first-generation U.S. citizens. Piedra Viva focuses its ministry in justice rooted in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. A lawyer in Peru, Rev. Purisaca is passionate for justice and has advocated for immigrants’ rights in Minnesota and displaced person’s rights among others in Peru.

August 4: Rev. Jia Starr Brown preaching: African American Lens
Rev. Jia Starr Brown's experience in community education, engagement, and outreach encompass more than 20 years, designing more than 160 educational and enrichment programs in the Twin Cities. Receiving a Congressional Award in 2015 for her community service and advocacy for marginalized communities, Jia has dedicated her life to serving others. Her formal equipping has included numerous training credentials, BS in Liberal Studies (National University), and a Master of Divinity (Luther Seminary). Presently serving as Associate Pastor of Park Avenue United Methodist Church.

August 11: Kelly Sherman Conroy preaching: Indigenous Lens
As a proud member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, Kelly dedicates her time to social justice, racial reconciliation, Indigenous leadership, and family ministry. Kelly is a Doctoral student at Luther Seminary, where she continues her much-anticipated studies on Lakota Spirituality, history and culture, and how these forms inform Christianity. Walking with people of all cultures, she actively provides ministry around the exploration of intersections of identity, personal narratives, and faith. Kelly has two decades teaching and leading in family ministry, which enables her to reach others with humor, warmth, transparency, and strength. She was also a missionary with the ELCA Young Adults in Global Mission for 3 years. Kelly’s ability to speak the truth in love from a Native perspective coupled with her humility and humor makes for a powerful reception of truth in the hearts of Natives and non-Natives alike.

August 18: Rev. Tyler Sit preaching: Asian-American/LGBTQ+ Lens
Rev. Tyler Sit has had the immense pleasure of being the church planter of New City ever since this nascent community was a small gathering in his living room. He is a lover of Minnesota, a United Methodist pastor, and the son of a Chinese immigrant. He got his book smarts from Boston University (BS, Communication Studies) and Candler School of Theology (Master of Divinity), but his street smarts came from living in various communities across four continents. He’s trained as a prison chaplain, community organizer, and social entrepreneur.

Calendar of Events

Wednesday Thursday Saturday

July 24
Bible Study
6:30-7:30 p.m. 
Who were the marginalized in Biblical times?

July 25
Book Club
6:30-8 p.m.
Learn more about Book Club below.

July 27
Upstream Arts Training
9-11 a.m.

July 31
Bible Study
6:30-7:30  p.m.
Who are the marginalized
in the church?

Aug. 1
Book Club
6:30-8 p.m.

August 3
Microagressions Training
9-11 a.m. 
George Robinson

Aug. 7
Bible Study
6:30-7:30 p.m.
What does the Bible say about
how to treat those who are

Aug. 8
Book Club
6:30-8 p.m.

Aug. 10
Zootopia Family Movie/Chat
9-11:30 a.m.

*see reviews below!

Aug. 14
Bible Study
6:30-7:30 p.m. 
Taking action in the church

Aug. 15
Book Club
6:30-8 p.m.

August 17
Teaching Race Training
9-11 a.m.
Ben McHie

We’d love to know if you’re interested in attending!

Please email Pastor Jia at Be sure to note
if you will be participating in the Book Club. Childcare may be provided if interest is shown. Please email with age(s) of children.

More about our “Journey to Freedom” Events

“Teaching Race” Trainer Benjamin Mchie is an educational consultant, historian and founder of African American Registry® and creator of the Teacher’s Forum subscription service. His curriculum reform model is working with four Minnesota university schools of education teaching programs. In 2017, Mr. Mchie was Governor Dayton’s MLK Day Lifetime Achievement Award winner.

Microaggression is a term used for brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioral, or environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative prejudicial slights and insults toward any group. Trainer George F. Robinson is a global speaker specializing in training and coaching. His love and passion for teaching others has guided his distinguished career. 

UPSTREAM ARTS, a South Minneapolis organization, uses the power of the creative arts to activate and amplify the voice and choice of individuals with disabilities. They change mindsets about ability and disability and promote more connected, engaged communities by increasing intentional opportunities for shared creative experiences.

Thursday Book Club Read and discuss two books surrounding the issues of race and racism—one authored by an individual from the dominant culture, and one authored by an individual from a marginalized community.

  • Waking Up White by Debby Irving
  • Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? by Beverly Daniel Tatum

* Family Movie Night Zootopia "The brilliantly well-rounded Zootopia offers a thoughtful, inclusive message that's as rich and timely as its sumptuously state-of-the-art Disney animation – all while remaining fast and funny enough to keep younger viewers entertained.” – Rotten Tomatoes review

“A delightfully well-orchestrated parable about trust and tolerance vs. panic and prejudice. An encouragingly upbeat celebration of love and diversity in times of hate and uncertainty. If that all sounds overly on-message, then fear not—the jokes are funny, the characters engaging, and the animation packed with delicious visual detail.” – British “Observer"

Attached Files

Journey to Freedom Brochure

Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church

122 West Franklin Avenue, Suite 400 Minneapolis, MN 55404

(612) 870-0058