A Conversation with Meena Natarajan and Ingrid C. A. Rasmussen
What happens when a church is called during a crisis to not just to the people in the pews, but to the families, organizations, and businesses in the neighborhood? In this episode, we speak with Meena Natarajan, Executive and Artistic Director of Pangea World Theater, and Ingrid C. A. Rassmussen, pastor at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church. Together, they tell the story of their friendship and partnership in the Longfellow neighborhood of Minneapolis following George Floyd’s murder in May 2020. Pangea Theater produces community-based art and Holy Trinity is a Lutheran congregation located one block from the Third Police Precinct, which was burned during protests again police brutality in Minneapolis. Since those events, Ingrid and Meena have been meeting together with a coalition of community leaders called Longfellow Rising.
Holy Trinity is one of thirteen congregations taking part in Collegeville Institute’s Communities of Calling Initiative. The Communities of Calling Initiative is a five-year program that grants congregations funds to design a new project or enhance existing ministries that help Christians discover and deepen their sense of God’s calling in their lives.
Meena Natarajan is a playwright and director and the Executive and Artistic Director of Pangea World Theater, a progressive, international ensemble space that creates at the intersection of art, equity, and social justice. She has led the theater’s growth since its founding in 1995. Meena has co-curated and designed many of Pangea World Theater’s professional and community-based programs. She has written at least ten full-length works for Pangea, ranging from adaptations of poetry and mythology to original works dealing with war, spirituality, personal and collective memory.