April Winebrenner-Palo is the new Program Administrative Assistant and Teaching Congregations Coordinator in the Contextual Learning Department. She will support all facets of the Contextual Learning curriculum, assist in the leadership of the Teaching Congregations program and serve as the primary contact person for Contextual Learning’s congregational partners.
This is what April has to say about herself:
My name is April Winebrenner-Palo. My academic background lies in nineteenth-century American religious/political history, focusing on challenges of capitalism, patriarchy, and nationalism; I completed my BA in Religion at Hamline University in 2011 and I completed my Masters of Theological Studies at Harvard Divinity School in 2013.
Professionally, my skills lie in campus life and interfaith community work. I’ve had the pleasure of working with Hamline University's Wesley Center for Spirituality, Service, and Social Justice, the Saint Paul Area Council of Churches' Interfaith Youth Leadership Coalition, Minnesota Council of Churches' Refugee Services, Minnesota Interfaith Power & Light, the Interfaith Youth Core, and The Pluralism Project at Harvard University. As a social justice advocate, I've also worked on causes like climate change, refugee resettlement, labor rights, poverty, and race.
Here at Contextual Learning, I'm excited to bring to the table my familiarity with student life, my commitment to interfaith dialogue and action, and my passion for socially just engagement with the world. I'm also an organizational and time-management whiz, so I'm looking forward to helping Contextual Learning develop stronger, more sustainable administrative systems for the future.
While my religious roots lie in the Scandinavian Minnesotan Lutheran community (my uncle is an ELCA pastor in Brookings, SD and my grandfather was an ELCA pastor in Maple Plain, MN for many years), my own theological and cultural explorations have led to me down different paths. Today, I identify as a humanist, and my spiritual and religious journey is ongoing. In my personal life, I am an anarchist, socialist, feminist, and vegetarian. I’m also a lifelong sci-fi and fantasy fan. I share an antique old apartment with my husband (Chris), cat (Caspian), fish (Gail), and scindapsus (Nymeria), with a great view of the Minneapolis skyline!