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 have worked 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 an 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 Craig Loya
Bishop Loya served as Dean of Trinity Cathedral in Omaha, Nebraska from 2013-2020, 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. 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. Joining Bishop Loya in Minnesota are his wife, Melissa, and their two children, Mari and Asa.
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 a northeast Texas native who has a heart for mission work and a background in Christian Education and youth ministry. Denise serves on the Commission on Ministry for ECMN and the Council at St. Mark's Episcopal Cathedral as Jr. Warden. She also served on the ECMN Transition Committee which was responsible for introducing the final three candidates for bishop of Minnesota to churches all around the state. Denise loves to cook and stay active through various forms of exercise and outdoor activities. She has 2 children attending Texas A&M University.
Volunteer Co-Chaplain, The Rev. Katie Ernst
Beloved! I am so excited to introduce myself to you all! You can call me Rev. Katie, and I use they/them pronouns. I have a long history with the Church, one that is filled BOTH with gratitude, awe, and healing AND with pain, heartache, and anger. Through it all, I’ve been rooted in the liberatory love of Jesus (especially modeled by my grandma, Eleanor Jenson). This love fuels my hope for Transfiguration (I am a co-founder) as a space of transformation and liberation, particularly from white supremacy. When I’m not on Zoom, I love feeding people, delighting in ordinary things, listening to music, and adventuring with my two dogs! I am an Episcopal Service Corps alumni and excited to join Circle this year.
Volunteer Co-Chaplain, Jayan Koshy
Greetings, dear friends, I’m Jayan (he/him pronouns)! I’m a seminarian training for the priesthood, and I’m thrilled to serve as one of Transfiguration’s co-planters and equally excited to lead Circle fellows through spiritual formation this year. I grew up in a church riddled with racism & homophobia. I fled that painful Christianity in my teens. But in time, God led me to find wholeness in that Anglican tradition that had nourished my Indian ancestors. This journey drives my desire to create spaces where we can experience Jesus’ liberating love and heal from the wounds of racism. I live in St. Paul with my husband, Benji, and our Goldendoodle puppy, Granger. In my spare time, I enjoy baking, singing, and watching murder mysteries.
Treasurer, Kathy Schweikart
Kathy is a lifelong Episcopalian and a member of St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church in Minneapolis. She recently retired from General Mills where she spent most of her career in a variety of finance roles. In addition to volunteering Kathy enjoys reading, walking her dog, visiting with family and friends, and supporting her 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 am a Spiritual Director.
Hospitality, Mary Lusk
Mary is the Canon Community Developer at St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral, and feels blessed with the opportunity to greet, welcome and incorporate new members. She has been on staff at our Cathedral for about 15 years, and has had a wide variety of experiences, all of them including developing people for ministry. As a board member of Circle of the Beloved, she enjoys the opportunity to welcome and incorporate guests into various events and functions. She is looking forward to continuing to support the development and growth of this ministry of young adults as they move into their future.
Liberty House Liaison, The Rev. John Bellaimey
John has recently retired as the chaplain for the students at Breck School so he can travel and enjoy time with his family. John is not officially a board member (yet) and we are so blessed to have him sharing his energy, repair knowledge, and organize many helping hands in and around Liberty House!
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