Tour de North Gives Sanctuary Members Different View of Community

By Stan Friedman

MINNEAPOLIS, MN (June 23, 2014) — Some 300 attendees of Sanctuary Covenant Church left church early to ride, bike, or drive around their North Minneapolis neighborhood to know and learn how to better serve it.

The church, which is located in North Minneapolis, held a brief time of musical worship and then the congregation was released to participate in Tour de North.

Andrea Lee, executive director of operations, said the church mapped out 34 stops along five different routes. Each of the routes covered about nine miles; all the routes culminated together in a picnic.

“Each of the routes included the homes of church members, community organizing stops, and places we considered places of diversity and beauty.”

There were activities or information available at each stop. Visitors to a local retreat center worked on a giant tapestry, at one church member’s home coupons to local businesses were handed out to encourage supporting them. At another site people had their photos taken holding signs that said “I love North Minneapolis.”

This was the first time the church had held the event, and Lee said it was a little scary because she had no idea how many would participate. She was thrilled at the turnout.

“I was shocked at the number of people who bicycled,” she said. “They made up about 40 percent.”

Lee said many of the church members commute to attend services, so one goal of the event was to help them better understand the community. “A lot of what people hear is just the negative, but there is a lot of ministry and other good things happening here.”

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