About Circle of the Beloved
In the Fall of 2016, The Episcopal Church in Minnesota, together with St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, and community organizers and neighbors launched Circle of the Beloved: the Minnesota chapter of the Episcopal Service Corps.
Each year four young adults live in intentional community on the North side of Minneapolis and serve full time at non-profit sites that serve the greater Twin Cities area. Some of our residents work at Americorps sites that work to close opportunity gaps in Minnesota while other residents work directly for non-profit agencies in advocacy roles supporting programs that address issues of environmental justice, affordable housing, and food insecurity. We invite you to join with us as you discern how you might spend a year serving others and living in intentional community.
At Circle, we live together in intentional Christian community that acknowledges and deepens kinship across many lines of difference. In community, we live out these values:
Instead of operating from a benefactor paradigm of “us” helping “them,” we acknowledge our innate kinship, where all sides give and receive based on our mutual gifts and needs.
Rule of Life
We craft a rule of life together that encourages holy listening and prayer, simplicity, a ministry of presence, and active justice-making in our neighborhoods.
We embark on a journey of racial, socioeconomic, and spiritual reconciliation, grounded in following the way of Jesus.
Our Leadership Team
Chair, Bishop Brian Prior
The Rt. Rev. Brian N. Prior was elected IX Bishop of Minnesota at Diocesan Convention on Saturday, October 31, 2009. He was Ordained and Consecrated on February 13, 2010.
Before moving to Minnesota, Bishop Prior was the Rector of the Episcopal Church of the Resurrection in Spokane, Washington for 14 years. He served as the Vice President of the House of Deputies. He received his Master of Divinity from Church Divinity School of the Pacific (CDSP) in Berkeley, California in 1987. He was presented with an Honorary Doctorate Degree from CDSP in October of 2014.
Bishop Prior has been married to Staci Hubbard Prior for more than 25 years. They have two adult sons.
Chair-Elect, The Very Rev. Craig Loya
The Very Rev. Craig Loya was elected during the 162nd convention of the Episcopal Church in Minnesota (ECMN), held in St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral in Minneapolis, MN on January 25th, 2020. Loya has served as Dean of Trinity Cathedral in Omaha, Nebraska since 2013, and was the Canon to the Ordinary in the Episcopal Diocese of Kansas from 2009-2013. He received his Master of Divinity from Yale University and a Diploma in Anglican Studies from Berkeley Divinity School at Yale in 2002. Loya lives in Omaha with his wife, Melissa and their two children.
Vice-Chair, The Rev. Craig Lemming
Craig is delighted to serve as the Vice Chair for the Board of Directors of Circle of the Beloved Episcopal Service Corps. Craig previously served Circle of the Beloved as founding Director and as then as volunteer Chaplain. He is currently the Associate Rector at St. John the Evangelist Episcopal Church in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Craig holds a Master of Divinity degree with a concentration in Theology and the Arts from United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities, and a Master of Music degree with a concentration in Music of the Baroque era from Indiana University. Craig was born and raised in Zimbabwe, attended St. George’s College in Harare, and graduated from New England Conservatory of Music in Boston. Craig completed his Chaplaincy training at Abbott Northwestern Hospital and served as the Transitional Deacon and then as the Curate of St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church in Linden Hills, Minneapolis. Craig enjoys cultivating love, awe, gratitude, centering prayer, and singing as daily spiritual disciplines, and is fascinated by Intersectionality, Art Films, Sonata Form, and the Patristics.
Director, Denise Graber, MSF
Denise is an East Texas native who has a heart for mission work, a background in Christian Education and youth ministry. Denise serves on the Commission on Ministry for ECMN, the Council at St. Mark's Episcopal Cathedral and on the ECMN Transition Committee. She loves to cook and stay active through various forms of exercise and outdoor activities and has 2 children attending Texas A&M University.
Volunteer Chaplain, Anna V. Ostenso Moore
Anna is the associate for family ministries at St. Mark's Episcopal Cathedral, Minneapolis and author of "Today Is a Baptism Day." She feels called to accompany people on their faith journeys, wrestling with the hard questions of life through ordinary and extraordinary times. Wife, priest, daughter, sister, aunt, godparent, friend, and expectant adoptive mother, she lives in Minneapolis with her husband, David.
Treasurer, Kathy Schweikart
I am a lifelong Episcopalian and currently a member of St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church in Minneapolis. I recently retired from General Mills where I spent most of my career in a variety of finance roles. Besides volunteering, I enjoy reading, walking with my dog, visiting with family and friends and supporting my high school young adult children with their various endeavors.
Secretary, Liz Farmer
An educator and Americorps alum herself, Liz is passionate about history, spirituality, and working with young and young-ish people. She earned her M.Ed. at the University of Minnesota and is currently working towards a spiritual direction certificate.
Hospitality, Mary Lusk
In my role of Canon Community Developer at St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral, I am blessed with the opportunity to greet, welcome and incorporate new members. I have been on staff at our Cathedral for about 15 years, and have had a wide variety of experiences, all of them including developing people for ministry. As a board member of Circle of the Beloved, I am blessed with the opportunity to welcome and incorporate guests into various events and functions. I look forward to continuing to support the development and growth of this ministry of young adults as we move into the future, by introducing more people to Circle of the Beloved.
St. Andrew's Episcopal Church Liaison, Gracie George
Gracie is a Liberian-American Immigrant from Saint Paul. She works as a Risk & Compliance Professional for U.S. Bank. And when she's not working, she can be found out serving her community; she sits on several boards and is a youth leader at St. Andrews Episcopal Church in North Minneapolis.
Liberty House Property Manager, Jacob Buchen
I support Circle of the Beloved as the liaison between the Board and St. Andrew’s vestry. In this function, I coordinate with the fellows and St Andrew’s vestry any necessary repairs that need to happen at the house. I also perform the repairs when capable. Outside of Circle of the Beloved, I am a Finance Manager at Be The Match. My wife and I attend St Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral and live in South Minneapolis.
Past Vice- Chair, The Rev. Susan Moss
Susan is a senior priest in ECMN and founding Circle Board member and its immediate past chair. "I am drawn to give my best efforts to promote kinship across lines of difference, and to support this opportunity for young adults to engage in a year of service and intentional community, with time to explore their God given gifts, sense of call and purpose to better guide their future vocational decisions."
“Stepping back and connecting reconciliation to God’s story also helps us move away from dramatic visions of fixing the world, as if our job were to provide solutions to problems outside us. If Christians believe anything, it is that no one—including ourselves and the church—is separate from the brokenness as an untainted solution to the problems of our world. The new creation contends with the old. The dividing line between good and evil runs straight through each one of us. So the journey of reconciliation begins with a transformation of the human person.”
― Chris Rice, Reconciling All Things: A Christian Vision for Justice, Peace and Healing