Urban Homeworks

Many thanks to AsaleSol Young, Emily and Azad Lassiter for sharing about the work and ministry of Urban Homeworks at Oak Grove’s Adult Faith Formation on May 9, 2021.  As a follow-up to their presentation, they have provided the following information for anyone who would like to participate in or learn more about their organization.

Follow-up Information from Urban Homeworks

The Housing Justice Forum will be educating the community on Rent Stabilization policy VIRTUALLY on May 20 from 6-7:30. Registration is pay-what-you-can, and Zoom information is provided after registration. Click here to register.

Individual volunteers can sign up to volunteer (at no cost) at this link. Our first individual volunteer day is June 5 and there are shifts available in the morning and afternoon to help with various landscaping and/or painting projects. Click here to sign up for June 5 dates.

Take Action emails. We send out periodic emails on anti-racist actions to take in our lives. To sign up to be added to that list, click here to fill out this form

Group Volunteering. Urban Homeworks charges a fee of $1,000/day for nonprofits and churches and $1,500/day for corporations who want to volunteer. The fee is there for a couple of reasons. 1) It helps us cover the cost of staffing, insurance, materials, and supplies. 2) It exists to support a community-centered approach to volunteerism and fundraising. When we recognize that charity and volunteering equally benefits donors/volunteers as much as the communities served, it redefines the relationship built among supporters and community in a healthier way. Our fees affirm that we all benefit from this work and no one should be exploited or pitied when we decide to give of our time or resources. Please contact us if Oak Grove is interested in getting a group together to volunteer. We have an exciting opportunity of community gardening happening Juneteenth weekend if Oak Grove isn’t already working on something for that weekend.

Perpetuate the Hope Annual Event. We will be hosting our 2nd annual VIRTUAL Perpetuate the Hope Symposium where we share about Urban Homeworks, equity and engagement, and other topics related to affordable, equitable housing. This will be held September 8, 9, 10 during the noon lunch hour. If Oak Grove is interested in sponsoring, we could provide access for the church to that event.

Green Committee AFF

Oak Grove’s Green Committee is hosting three Adult Faith Formation (AFF) sessions in April and May 2021. Also, on April 8, the Green Committee hosted a Conversation with District 50 Representatives and Senator.

Thursday, April 8, 6:00-7:30 p.m., Faith Communities Talk With Legislators. You are invited to question-and-answer state legislative forum for faith communities in District 50 on Thursday night April 8th from 6:00-7:30 pm via Zoom.   The forum will feature Senator Melissa Wiklund, Rep. Andrew Carlson (50B) and Rep. Michael Howard (50A).  The forum is being organized by Isaiah https://isaiahmn.org/  and will include members of faith communities in District 50 including Oak Grove Presbyterian, Christ the King Lutheran, Dar Al-Farooq Muslim Center, and St. Richards Catholic Church and other groups.  The forum will focus on pending bills for: Revenue-making everyone pay their fair share, Democracy– expanding/protecting voting rights, Paid Family Leave– caring for our families, Climate Justice– plans that meet the scale and urgency of the climate crisis. For more info, contact John Crampton 612-396-6010  jcrampt48@gmail.com To register:  https://secure.everyaction.com/G_DuKjcYOU62gxI7vz_2tQ2

Clockwise from top left: Rep. Michael Howard (50A), Senator Melissa Wiklund, Rep. Andrew Carlson (50B)

Sunday, April 11, 9:30 a.m., “Climate Reality and Our Future” a sobering overview of the impact on climate change on different earth systems and projections of species survival under different scenarios of global warming.  Developed by Former Vice President Al Gore and  Alliance for Climate Protection and The Climate Project.  Presented by Bill Middlecamp, a commissioned Earthkeeper in the United Methodist Church and a well-known climate activist in our area. See also En-ROADS Brings Climate Science to the Masses.

climate reality

Sunday April 18, 9:30 a.m., “Policy Solutions to Climate Change.”   Participants are able to simulate possible large scale solutions to dramatic climate change through the use of the online En-ROADS policy simulation model developed by MIT.   See what possible solutions are and discuss the implications.  https://www.planet.veolia.com/en/climate-change-climate-simulator-En-ROADS Presented by Bill Middlecamp, a commissioned Earthkeeper in the United Methodist Church and a well-known climate activist in our area. See also En-ROADS Brings Climate Science to the Masses.

enroads chart

Sunday, May 2, 9:30 a.m., Socially-Just Climate Solutions 

Cooperative Energy Futures equips members across the state to build socially-just climate solutions that grow community wealth and power. CEF has financed and developed 6.9MW (~$16M) of low-income-accessible community solar arrays that are cooperatively-owned-and-operated across urban, suburban, and rural Minnesota—including: Shiloh Temple in North Minneapolis, Pax Christi Church in Eden Prairie, and Edina Public Works Building.  Find out how Oak Grove and our members can potentially get involved as host site(s), investors, subscribers and supporters.  https://www.cooperativeenergyfutures.com/ Presented by: Timothy Den Herder, General Manager of CEF 

MN Clean Car Rulemaking Comments due March 15

A message from the Green Committee about Minnesota’s Clean Car rules proposed by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA). Comments are due to MPCA by March 15, 2021.

In 2018 and 2019, Oak Grove’s Green Committee sponsored EV (Electric Vehicle) Expos because we believe that the electrification of transportation is one of the most effective ways to dramatically cut carbon emissions that are destroying the livability of our earth.   Estimates indicate that fossil fuel transportation plus the refining of fossil fuels account for approximately 50% of total CO2 emissions in the US and other auto-dependent countries.

In 2012 the Obama Administration implemented Clean Car standards mandating increasing mileage standards for automobiles to double the average fuel efficiency of cars sold in the US by 2025.  Between 2012 and 2017 it was the most effective emissions reduction action in US history.  In 2018 the Trump Administration rolled back those clean car standards.  California and 14 other states refused to go along with Trump’s rollbacks citing air quality issues and climate goals, and so they continued following the Obama era standards.   

The Minnesota MPCA has drafted clean car rules that will enable Minnesota to join California and the 14 other states in following the original Obama-era Clean Car standards.   As a practical result of returning to these standards, auto manufacturers and auto dealerships would be compelled to have more fuel efficient models and more EVs available to show to customers (in most cases, one or two EVs per dealership at any given time).

To learn more about MPCA’s proposed rules, you can attend information sessions online and/or via phone at:  


To comment on the proposed MPCA rules before March 15th, go to:


For more info and/or questions, call or email   John Crampton, Green Committee,  612-396-6010   jcrampt48@gmail.com

Call for Vaccine Clinical Trial Volunteers

Oak Grove Presbyterian Church has been asked to get the news out on M Health Fairview’s Covid-19 Clinical Trial.

M Health Fairview Vaccine flyer (PDF)

M Health Fairview is looking for adults who:

  • €  Are aged 18 years and older, particularly over 65 years of age
  • €  Represent a racial and ethnic group that has been greatly impacted by the pandemic (such as African American, Latinx, Native American, or Asian American)
  • €  Have an underlying medical condition (such as diabetes or obesity)
  • €  Have a high risk of exposure through work (such as first responder, healthcare professional, or delivery person)
  • €  Live or work in an elder-care facility
  • €  Are retired or active military

If you decide to join a COVID-19 prevention study, you may be compensated for your participation. To learn more, contact:

M Health Fairview Clinical Trials Office

Green Committee AFF Jan. 17

Link to recording of the January 17 Zoom presentation – password !1r1!3B0

The Adult Faith Formation program, “Bringing Renewable Energy and Empowerment to Low Income Communities to End Energy Poverty,” will be presented on Sunday, January 17, 2021 at 9:30 a.m. by the Green Committee and RREAL, Rural Renewable Energy Alliance of Northern MN.  

Community Solar for Community Action

RREAL is a leader in helping Native American Nations construct community solar gardens, solar for Habitat for Humanity houses, and solar assistance for low income people through community action programs. RREAL also develops community-based solar projects in Uganda and Liberia. RREAL is a leader in installing solar on schools and has developed renewable energy curricula for grades K-8 which is being used in schools throughout Minnesota. https://www.rreal.org/

Our goal is to begin a discussion of how Oak Grove can marry our church’s efforts and expertise in social justice, mission, supportive housing, education, and environmental stewardship to serve the wider community of low income people in our communities.  For more information, contact John Crampton 612-396-6010   

Voting Information Session at Oak Grove

On October 8, 2020, Deborah Capouch and Amanda Crombie of the Bloomington League of Women Voters presented information about voting in the November election at an Oak Grove Zoom session. The following is a list of links to web resources covered in their presentation.


MN Secretary of State Elections and Voting

Bloomington League of Women Voters

Early Voting and Mail In Voting Drop-off in Bloomington City Plaza

Early Voting and election-day voting in Hennepin County

Early Voting and election-day voting in Dakota County

Early Voting and election-day voting in Scott County 

Question 1 and 2: Bloomington: City-organized residential solid waste collection

Question 3: Ranked Choice Voting in Bloomington

Learn How to Take Care of Rain Gardens Sept 9

Nine Mile Creek Watershed District is offering training on how to maintain a rain garden by watering, weeding and selection of replacement plants (if necessary).  Oak Grove will be hosting the training in our rain garden on the outside of the Education Wing under the solar panels on Wednesday Night Sept. 9th  6:30 to 8:30 pm.  To sign up, please contact John Crampton 612-396-6010   jcrampt48@gmail.com

Brenda Johnson and Courageous Conversations on August 16

UPDATE: Here are links to the two books mentioned by Brenda Johnson in our August 16 Worship Service: The Romance of African Methodism: a Study of the African Methodist Episcopalian Church by George A. Singleton and Before the Mayflower: a History of the Negro in America, 1619-1962 by Lerone Bennet.

On Sunday, August 16, we welcome Brenda Johnson, for “Courageous Conversations” with Mary Koon. Brenda was ordained in 2017 as a local elder/clergy in the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Her life verse is Hebrews 1:1, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” And Nehemiah 8:10, “…for the joy of the Lord is my strength.”    

Ms. Johnson is a Transitional Specialist with Stadium View School — part of the Minneapolis School District housed in the Hennepin County Detention Center — where she works with youth and families. Johnson is passionate about youth, families, and those incarcerated and is devoted to interrupting the “cradle-to-prison” pipeline. She is actively involved in the National Education Association. Her work is recognized internationally. We are excited to hear from you, Brenda! Welcome!

Green Committee Faith Formation

The Green Committee is offering four virtual Faith Formation programs via Zoom in April and May following Sunday Worship at 11:45 a.m. Zoom login information is provided in Oak Grove’s weekly email newsletter to members and in the weekly bulletin.

April 19, 2020, 11:45 a.m., “How Oak Grove Is Cutting Its Carbon Footprint”

In this Faith Formation session, we’ll focus on how Oak Grove is now getting 200% renewable electricity and using it to offset the emissions from our electricity and natural gas use.  We’ll review of our LED lighting retrofits and will provide an overview of our EV Expos and efforts to promote electric vehicles, tools, e-mobility.  We’ll discuss the start up of our KidWindeducation efforts and will discess Oak Grove’s plans to sequester carbon and infiltrate/clean water with a new rain garden.   Starts after completion of the online church service at 11:45 a.m. on Zoom (see weekly email announcements or bulletin for login details). Presenters:  John Crampton and Green Committee.

April 26, 2020, 11:45 a.m., “How You Can Cut Your Family’s Carbon Footprint”

In this Faith Formation session, we’ll focus on simple things that you can do to cut your own carbon footprint, including LED lighting, WindSource, Wellspring, EVs and PHEVs, rooftop and community solar, and eating simpler foods from farms/gardens that are building healthy soils. Starts after completion of the online church service at 11:45 a.m. on Zoom (see weekly email announcements or bulletin for login details). Presenters:  Bob Gerdes and Green Committee.

May 3, 2020, 11:45 a.m., “What Are Our Elected Leaders Doing to Address the Climate Crisis?”  

In this Faith Formation session, we’ll focus on legislation in MN Legislature to mandate 100% Renewable Energy by 2050 to protect clean car standards in opposition to the Trump Administration’s rollback of those standards; efforts to compel MN car dealers to offer EV; and efforts to build EV charging networks statewide using the Volkswagen settlement funds. We’ll also focus on legislation at the Federal level including the “Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act.” Starts after completion of the online church service at 11:45 a.m. on Zoom (see weekly email announcements or bulletin for login details).  Presenters: Green Committee. 

May 10, 2020, 11:45 a.m., “Eat Like Our Planet Depends on It” 

Just in time for Mothers Day, this Faith Formation session focuses “eating green.” Find out how Oak Grove people are cutting their carbon footprints and improving their health and overall wellbeing by growing, buying, and cooking foods that are good for Mother Earth and its climate, rather than foods that are spewing GHG emissions in our air and poisoning our precious soils and waters. Starts after completion of the online church service at 11:45 a.m. on Zoom (see weekly email announcements or bulletin for login details).  Presenters: Pdon Pinkham and Green Committee. 

Special Earth Day Program, April 22, 2020

Earth Day Multi-Faith Livestream: A Call to Collective Care

In addition, we invite Oak Grove members to participate in an inter-faith Zoom-based celebration of Earth Day Multi-Faith Lifestream: A Call to Collective Care, put on by a number of churches and Minnesota Interfaith Power and Light on April 22, 2020, 1-3 p.m. See below for details.

Register here

On the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, join us for a virtual gathering of prayer, storytelling, art, and wisdom from our diverse spiritual teachings that speak to this current moment of crisis. 

This moment of pandemic reminds us how deeply connected we are to each other and to the earth. We know that many of us are suffering, and we are finding new ways to care for one another and for our planet. 

We invite you to connect and support one other as we navigate this difficult time, and to send a powerful message to decision-makers that climate justice is still a top priority. We’ll be broadcasting from 1-3pm; come when you are able and invite a friend! Register here!

Included in this toolkit are ways to take action leading up to and after Earth Day, from including creation and climate prayers or practices in worship, to participating in the Earth Day livestream. Check them out below!

Sponsored by Minnesota Interfaith Power and Light of which Oak Grove is a participating faith community. For more information, contact John Crampton.

Winners of the 2020 Chili Cook Off

And the winners are …

Lord’s Choice (best chili) – three-way tie to Stephen Jones for his Chicken Chili, Mattie Hawley for her Dad’s Traditional, and Patty Nail for her Meat Chili.

Devil’s Choice (spiciest chili) – Craig Propsom for his Girl Power Chili.

Angel’s Choice (prettiest chili) – Stephen Jones for his Chicken Chili.

Most Creative – Tim Dubis for his Ginger Pineapple Chili.

Greenest (most-ecofriendly) – two-way tie to Mary Hendrickson and Neil Schroeder for their Crumbled Tofu Chili and Katharine Painter for her Mild Vegan Chili.

Best Name – two-way tie to Mattie Hawley for her Dad’s Traditional Chili and Travis Scott for his Meat Fiesta to Cause a Siesta Chili.

Congratulations to all of the winners!