Students at commencement

CPL Site List

Looking for a CPL site? Please review this Site List for available options. Please pay careful attention to the CPL site descriptions: if you are looking for a position in your concentration offering compensation, the description is where that will be listed. After checking out some sites, please select your choices on your Student Preferences Form by August 22.

Arranging a CPL site of your own? Your site will not be listed here. Please contact us if you do not find your site on your Student Preferences Form by August 22.

Please don't hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns: 651-641-3266 or contextuallearning@luthersem.edu.

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Lydia Place Collaborative Communities

Address:P.O. Box 14203
City:Saint Paul
State:MN
Zip:55114-0203
Phone:612 859 1134
Web:www.lydiaplace.com
Email:scott@lydiaplace.com

Student Information

What kind of Christian Public Leader student would be right for you:We are looking for energetic, imaginative, curious leaders who are energized by chaos, intrigued by ambiguity, and willing to step outside the box to see how God is at work in the world and how we are gifted and called to be the church.

At the same time, we are looking for theologically astute students who are willing to discern how the realities of our particular context cohere with and inform our understandings of church practice, ritual, tradition and theology.

This is a wonderful opportunity for any student who feels called to imagine and discern the future of 'church' in a very non-conventional context.
How many students have you worked with in the past:0
How many rising students or seminarians do you work with currently:0
For this coming semester, what is the maximum number of students with whom you could work:3
What is the optimal length of learning for students working with you:1 semester|2 semesters
Why would this length of time be best:We are a new faith community doing something no other new start in the world is doing (o.k., maybe not the entire world, but at least in the ELCA and possibly even mainline U.S. Christianity)... and we seem to be breaking new ground and breaking old rules every step of the way.

What we have learned so far is that collaboration is key... and that we all have gifts to bring, whether one is involved daily or monthly, short term or long term, on site or remote. What is more important than length of time is a commitment to faithful collaboration during the time you are committed

Site Information

Site keywords:Ministry opportunities include: 1) A collaborative leader role in Lydia's weekday coworking community and meeting space, which is hosted at the Dow Art Gallery in South Sant Anthony Park. Students will have opportunity to host, lead, and possibly co-develop new sites and coworking programs/opportunities while discerning how this work is an opportunity for authentic Christian public witness. 2) Co-leading weekly Sunday afternoon worship (1 pm) and providing pastoral care to the residents of Seal Tower - a local public housing community serving a significant population of people with disabilities, people in poverty, and immigrants. 3) A leadership and planning role in weekly Wednesday community prayer, also 1 pm at Seal Hi-Rise. 4) Assisting minister for Sunday night public worship (5 pm at the Dow Art Gallery) and leadership. Will have an opportunity to help plan, host and occasionally preach. 5) Students will participate in Lydia's discipleship huddle process, initially as a participant, with the hope that students will lead their own huddles eventually. 6) Students will have freedom and opportunity to help communicate the Lydian message to potential supporters and participants through social media, traditional media and other means, as appropriate. 7) Students will have opportunity to assist in promotion and presentation of Hymntap, our popular monthly beer and hymn event. And, if they play a killer bluegrass instrument, to be in the band. 8) Work directly with the pastor to explore the key Lydian missional values of faith in public square, faith in everyday life, vocation, radical acceptance of the hospitality of others, and the spiritual practice of discerning and wholeheartedly responding to the invitation of the Holy Spirit. 9) Opportunity to be on the leading edge of new Lydian ventures as they arise and, as importantly, the freedom and support to explore their own missional imagination.
What is your congregation or nonprofit organization all about:We are Synodically Authorized Worshipping Community of the ELCA located 10 minutes south of Luther Seminary, near the Raymond Street Green Line Light Rail Station on University Avenue.

In some ways, we are a very non-traditional ministry: a Monday - Friday collaborative community centered around faith in everyday life and faith in the public square, a strong emphasis on vocation (particularly, but not exclusively, in the economic realm), a commitment to relationship as a central act of our ministry (think, Andy Root's "the Relational Pastor"), and a devotion to creativity, imagination and wonder as central activities of missional discernment.

Part of the mission of the collaborative community is to generate profits from coworking, business and professional consulting, and other professional services.

Coworking/consulting profits, resources and facilities will be used to support the start of a new word and sacrament worshipping community... solidly grounded in Lutheran theology and practice but not necessarily in form (music, vestments, liturgical order, etc...).
Please tell us a bit about your site:Lydia's Place grew out of a group of pastors, seminary students and seminary professors trying to envision what God was doing in the area around University Avenue and Raymond Street, as Green Line Light Rail construction was transforming the area from an old warehouse district which had become primarily the domain of artists studios and non-profit offices. As the Light Rail neared completion, warehouses began to be converted to housing, drawing a mix of creative, artistic and forward-thinking individuals (largely millennial).

These new residents were more likely to be spiritual but not religious... and not likely to go searching for the nearest Lutheran (or other) church. What mattered most were authentic relationships, the common good, and the ability to make a different in the world.

The folks moving in are also more likely to be self-employed, self-directed, self-starters for whom a coworking space could be beneficial not only in terms of work resources, but also as a place to find community and build relationships.

As you can see, context matters in the formation of Lydia's Place. So do relationships and collaboration. And we feel that we all learn when we bring those things into conversation and interaction with Lutheran understanding.

Here's a short blurb about the coworking community and meeting space that we're developing.


LydiaPlace Collaborative Communities is a synodically authorized worshipping community of the Saint Paul Area Synod (ELCA). LydiaPlace’s primary focus is on faith in daily life and faith in the public square, particularly as it relates to economic vocations among self-employed and independent professionals. Advances in technology enable this group to work anywhere with a laptop and cell phone (think writers, designers, programmers, consultants, etc.), avoiding office rent. They often work out of home or third spaces such as coffee shops & libraries. These spaces do have their drawbacks, including isolation and a lack of privat meeting space.

All this has led to the development of 'co-working spaces' - collaboratives designed to cater to working professionals with nice amenities such as printers, meeting rooms, hi-tech equipment, and, most importantly, community.

LydiaPlace is partnering with Dow Art Gallery on the Green Line Light Rail in Saint Paul to develop a coworking community center. We have the potential to attract hundreds each week to a gallery that suffers from a lack of foot traffic. Lydia benefits from a cost-effective shared space as well as coworking and meeting revenue which will provide a sustainable economic base for all of Lydia’s work (worship, pastoral care, community development)

LydiaPlace has funded the construction of a new Great Room in the Gallery through a series of grants. In addition to providing private space for coworkers, the Great Room can hold 40+ people for training events and private meetings, opening up a rental revenue stream from local businesses, organizations and nearly 1000 non-profits within a mile. The space will also provide a much-needed community gathering space.
Please tell us what a student can learn at your site:Our students will learn:

How the Spirit works in context, through collaboration and relationship, for the common good of all.

How Lutheran Theology anticipates and informs the church in this new and exciting context.

The value of pisteuo (a trusting belief) in the formation of Christian community.

The role of authentic Lutheran in the midst of a non-conventional Lutheran community.


Our students will be able to explore:

Lutheran vocation - how God gifts us and calls us to use those gifts for the sake of the neighbor;

Faith in daily life (particularly in the mon-fri economic realm);

Faith in the public square;

How the Spirit works powerfully through collaborative relationships;

How the Spirit might be gifting and calling them through this community towards God's preferred future;

And, how their own dreams and ideas might be realized and supported through this collaborative community.

We have challenges, yes... mostly in terms of economics... but the Holy Spirit keeps opening up possibilities for us in the future... and we are hopeful and trust that Lydia's Place will continue to grow.

Finally, we take collaboration seriously, and look also to learn from our students and to invite them into full collaborative partnership in this community.

Mentor Information: Scott Simmons

Current position:Pastor/Mission Developer
Please tell us a little bit about yourself as a Christian public leader:I am a second career pastor, with an Mdiv from Luther Seminary in 2012. Before seminary, I spent 20+ years as a writer and creative director in advertising and graphic design. I hold an MA from the University of Missouri School of Journalism and a BA in English from Bethany College in Lindsborg, Kansas.

Much of my life has been about imagining strategically creative and honest ways to communicate a message. Now, as a pastor, I am working to communicate the Good News of God in Christ Jesus through the Holy Spirit (I like the Trinity, by the way) to a world that is tuning out the conventional church.

I was drawn to Luther by the missional church conversation, and drawn more deeply into development and redevelopment through the excellent faculty and missionally-focused programs and opportunities, and by contact and recognition from the Fund for Leaders and the office of Congregational and Synodical Mission at the ELCA.

While on internship (Westwood, Saint Louis Park), I began to explore opportunities for new mission starts in the Twin Cities, and was drawn into conversation with a group looking specifically in South Saint Anthony Park, along the new light rail line.

In addition to my role as developer of LydiaPlace, I have also served as an associate pastor at St. James in Burnsville, a ministerial assistant at Farmington Lutheran in Farmington, and as administrator of the Center for Missional Leadership at Luther Seminary.

As part of my Lydian work, I serve as a board member of the Saint Anthony Park Community Council as co-chair of the Executive Board and chair of the Equity Committee.
Please tell us a little bit about yourself as a mentor of students:The church doesn't have a mission, God's Mission has a church. That's one of my favorite ways to describe the focus of my work as a Christian Public Leader. As such, I proclaim that the Holy Spirit is actively at work bringing about the Kingdom of God... sometimes even in our churches. And my call, as a Christian Public Leader, is to realize that the church doesn't exist behind our own walls, but is found wherever and whenever two or more are gathered in Christ's name.

In order to do that, I must be trusting and open, vulnerable yet firm in my convictions. I must listen and be heard, I must love God and neighbor as myself, and I must step forward into places I've never been before. I do not hide my faith, but celebrate it as God's loving gift. And, I try my best to be authentic and welcoming.

I want to walk alongside those students who join us, not just a mentor but more as a partner, not just a teacher but also a fellow learner, not just a supervisor but also a collaborator for the sake of God's kingdom.