Young religious leaders to gather together

  • Article by: ROSE FRENCH , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 13, 2012 - 7:41 PM

The Rev. Patricia Lull believes clergy and active laypeople in their 20s and 30s often are the best "visionaries and activists" in fulfilling churches' most important missions: overcoming poverty, promoting peace, dismantling racism.

So Lull, who serves as executive director of the St. Paul Area Council of Churches, is bringing together a group she considers the best and brightest religious leaders from that age group for an event Jan. 24 titled, "Banking on Our Future."

About 45 people are invited to the event, which includes a reception in the lobby of the Park-Midway Bank. It's offering use of the space as well as refreshments.

"It's an attempt at a new way of engaging that rising generation of church leaders," said Lull, who in June became the first woman to assume the influential organization's executive post. "They're already leaders ... who care about social justice."

Lull's not looking to try to build up church attendance. She views what she's doing as bigger.

"I'm all for that," she said. "But I believe the church is largely what happens outside the walls of the church. That's my theological understanding. People of faith having influence out in the world."

Ordained in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Lull feels she's still relatively new to her role at the council and will seek advice from those attending the event about how to engage better with a younger generation. The Council of Churches was established in 1906 when local congregations came together, despite differences in faith, to serve their community -- particularly youth, according to the group's website.

Lull wants people to enjoy themselves, mingle and network, and hopefully come together to work on future projects -- particularly those that help impoverished families.

"I hope this might plant a seed for some of them to say, 'Hey, there's something we can do,'" she said. "'Let's get to work on it.'"

Rose French • 612-673-4352

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