Envisioning Anew: An interview with Lake Harriet Spiritual Community


Center for Conscious Living: The renewed vision of LHSC with Theresa Rose

Theresa Rose offers an inspiring Sunday message at Lake Harriet Spiritual Community | Photo by Wendy Houser Blomseth

MINNEAPOLIS — The names have changed, but the energy beneath the dome at Lake Harriet Spiritual Community remains just as refreshing and awakening as ever. It inspires people to reconnect with their true nature, go beyond what they thought was possible and embody the soul that yearns to be expressed.

The energy here inspires change — perhaps the only constant in the community’s 23-year history in the landmark church building at 44th and Upton Avenue South in Linden Hills. Sitting high in the neighborhood, towering over the shopping district to the north and the tree-lined homes leading down to the banks of Lake Harriet to the east, the silver-domed structure is home to one of the nation’s most vibrant spiritual communities. And while many inspiring speakers, worship leaders and members have come and gone since 1988, every transition has inspired the community to evolve into a new expression of what is now.

One senses when speaking to current leaders that Lake Harriet Spiritual Community (LHSC) is in a completely new space, one that it has never been in before. It as if this collection of eclectic souls is coming out of the closet to its city, fully accepting of itself for who it is and no longer afraid to be judged for being different by its neighborhood.

New spiritual director Theresa Rose – an ordained minister, national motivational humorist, award-winning author of Opening the Kimono: A Woman’s Intimate Journey Through Life’s Biggest Challenges, wife and mother — acknowledges that the LHSC is relaxed as it embarks upon a new path of integrating with its more mainstream neighbors by recognizing their shared values of seeking a balance of body, mind and spirit.

“We’ve changed our tagline to A Center for Conscious Living,” she says, “and we really want to create Lake Harriet Spiritual Community as a center for Minneapolis and St. Paul to come for not only Sunday services, but for classes and workshops and concerts and movies and other performance art.”

It sounds like it may be an opportunity for Lake Harriet more than ever before to announce itself and really step out into the Twin Cities community as a whole.
Theresa Rose: That’s exactly right, and that is our intention. We not only want to introduce ourselves to the larger communities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, but we also especially want to extend our hands out to our community in Linden Hills. Those are the people who hear the concerts coming out of the sanctuary, and they’re the ones who come to yoga classes, and they’re the ones who walk to our Sunday services.

We really want to be more integrated with our neighbors in the Lake Harriet area. Connection to our community is good. We want to support members of our community who can walk to where we are and whose businesses we support locally. So, it’s a real synergistic relationship we’re trying to create with our local neighbors.

Recording artist Michael Monroe performs | Photo by Wendy Houser Blomseth

What is your vision of what a Center for Conscious Living is?
TR: It is a gathering place where we offer services, classes and special events that support one’s personal spiritual growth. Anything related to consciousness, anything about increasing our own awareness of our power and developing a spiritual relationship with the Divine – walking on this Earth with a light footprint.

We don’t want people to just merely see us as a church. Sunday service is just a small portion of what we’re offering, and we’re continuing to expand. For example, we are having Gina Citoli come in September for a fundraiser for LHSC and present her Cabaret of Consciousness, a concert that we’re going to be sponsoring with her.

And we’re very excited about Allison Scott, who is going to be here on October 13 to do a fundraiser for us. Allison is a phenomenal singer who is starting to really make a name for herself in the Twin Cities music scene. She has been identified as one of the up-and-coming musical artists and has a really large following. She is a soulful singer who plays at the Dakota and at festivals. She has been a musical guest at one of my Sunday services, and we’re fortunate to be able to have her come for an entire concert. We hope that new people can come see LHSC as the result of their connection to Allison. I encourage everyone to check her out. She is really, really wonderful.

Our goal is to build our presence in the community by bringing in events and offerings like this to appeal to wider audiences.

Is there a reorganization of what’s already existed at Lake Harriet or are there new ideas that are being implemented into this vision?
TR: Both. First of all, there is a reorganization of what we’ve already done, but we have also endeavored to include a lot more offerings than we previously have in the past. We want to not only offer classes and services for people who are well down the path of spiritual development, but also for those who may be just beginning, opening our doors to them, as well.

We’re looking at things that we haven’t looked at before, like fitness classes, nutrition classes, parenting classes, relationship classes, different things that really haven’t been happening at LHSC. I want to even bring in a hula hoop class, because that’s a great way to get in the body.

We want to support the body-mind-spirit triad by looking at things we hadn’t brought in previously because we were focusing solely on metaphysical studies, whereas now we’re really expanding our vision.

What sparked this change?
TR: The universe started pushing us in different directions with some people departing the community and new people coming into the community — and different inspirations developed. One of our motivations is to maintain a thriving community, and to do that we really want to offer what people want.

This is not an exclusive club. We want it to be an open community, a really thriving center. And so, change was something that was being called for.

What is changing at Lake Harriet from a leadership perspective?
TR: We have restructured the spiritual leadership at LHSC. Previously, as you and your readers may be aware, we had ministerial guides. Those ministerial guides were elected for a period of two years and they led one Sunday service a month. There were anywhere from three to five MGs, as we called them, and then we occasionally had guest speakers.

As the community has evolved and morphed, what the community decided was that it would be more effective, and ultimately more of a representation of who we are, to have one spiritual director and a group of resident speakers. Resident speakers are leaders in the spiritual community nationally who were not able to commit to once-a-month services as a typical ministerial guide and did not want to be too terribly involved in the day-to-day operations of the community.

We have selected four of our six resident speakers so far, and they are going to be doing services on a quarterly basis. They include: noted jazz vocalist and radio personality Patty Peterson; spiritual teacher, healer and Pleiadian channel Christine Day; intuitive, author and “Michael” channel Linda Elwell; and intuitive counselor Cindi Claypatch. All of these people come from a different perspective, from their own unique perspective, from a spiritual development perspective, and from a consciousness perspective, but they all are in such harmony with the energy of LHSC and they all bring a unique voice. That’s what we’re really excited about, that they’re going to be here on a regular basis and be able to provide that sort of leadership to us.

And then, we’re going to continue to have guest speakers once every month. We’ve had such notable guest speakers as Leonard Jacobson and Kathryn Harwig, and all sorts of different people from different realms have shared their expertise with us, and we encourage differences. We want to see lots of different voices and we want to hear from these amazing teachers who can share with us their own guidance, their own messaging.

What is the value for somebody to become part of this spiritual community?
TR: I think the value lies in the welcoming, nurturing community that we offer. It’s more than just a beautiful building and more than just a calendar of events. We are really creating a spiritual family, a spiritual community that can provide all of those tools that we need to traverse this world and to get through the challenges that we face. The value is helping you move into a greater place of joy and health and connectivity to the Divine. That’s what we offer.

Maybe for some it is just about entertainment. So if you want to see wonderful music being played through joyful hearts, that’s what we offer, too. Everyone is looking for something different, but our goal is to provide that sense of home — a spiritual home for people.

What will a first-time visitor experience at a Sunday service at Lake Harriet?
TR: They will experience a morning full of inspiration and music, meditation, fellowship, community and lightness. That’s the through line of every single Sunday service, whether it’s me who is delivering the service or one of our resident or guest speakers. Each week will be completely different, but visitors will get some nugget of what they can do to move in this world with more grace and more connection and more power. They’ll hear from lots of different sources on how to do that.

The community is building and it’s very loving, and I’m really excited about how we are all becoming the best of who we are as individuals and as a community. We’re really rising above a lot of fear and really stepping into our power more fully, both as individuals and as a community.

It’s a really beautiful thing to be witnessing, and I’m really just privileged to be a part of this.

For more information, please visit www.lakeharrietspiritualcommunity.org or search for Lake Harriet Spiritual Community on Facebook.

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Tim Miejan
Tim Miejan is a writer who served as former editor and publisher of The Edge for twenty-five years. Contact him at [email protected].


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