2020 Lenten L.I.S.T.E.N series

Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?

Faith And Poverty In The

Richest Nation On Earth

Every Lent, St. Paul-Reformation gathers to pray, to learn, and to give.  Part of this is our Lenten LISTEN Series (Learning Insights, Seeking Together, Embracing Neighbors).  Now in its fifth year, 2020 will explore themes of poverty in our city, state, and nation.  How is it that the richest nation on earth continues to struggle with poverty, and how does faith call us to examine the systems that make the cycle of poverty difficult to break?  In an age where income inequality is greater than ever, how are Christian people called to care for their neighbor?

SPR's Lenten LISTEN series runs every Wednesday during Lent from 7-8:15 p.m., and includes both presentations by the speakers below as well as time for discussion and reflection.  Each lecture is preceded by Holden Evening Prayer from 6.30-7 p.m., with the time of learning beginning afterward.  Please join us to learn more:

  • MARCH 4


    Otis zanders, ujama place

    Otis Zanders’ was raised during the Jim Crow era In Mississippi. He was the first family member to finish high school. His mother insisted he attend college, in which he fulfilled her wish by winning an academic scholarship to Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, MN. Mr. Zanders credits his mother who instilled a value system based on his African ancestry of love, strength determination and fighting for the most marginalized populations in society.

    Mr. Zanders received an internship with the Minnesota Department of Corrections during his final semester at Gustavus Adolphus College in January 1977. During his nearly 35-year career with the DOC, Zanders served at various locations around Minnesota and retired as warden of the Minnesota Correctional Facility in Red Wing, MN. 

    In 2012, Mr. Zanders decided he was not quite ready for retirement and accepted the role as President/CEO of Ujamaa Place. His dedication and commitment to Ujamaa Place in serving marginalized African American men at the most vulnerable age, 18-30, many of whom lack education, are homeless, unemployed, have mental and chemical dependency issues and involvement with the criminal justice system, is his calling.  His mission is supported and acknowledged throughout the communities he serves.  Zanders can often be found advocating for the men he serves at the State's legislative sessions and out in the community speaking to audiences large and small about the roadblocks that Ujamaa men face on their journey to transformation.

  • MARCH 11


    Susan Watlov Phillips, MIKAH

    Sue Watlov Phillips is a woman of God. She seeks to faithfully serve the Lord through her passions for Social Justice and Equity, loving others as herself, and ensuring everyone has a safe, decent, accessible and affordable place to call home! Sue Watlov Phillips has a B.A. in Psychology, a Masters in Counseling and Psychological Services. Is a retired Licensed Psychologist, Independent Clinical Social Worker, Marriage and Family Therapist, and Certified Sports Psychologist. She is an author of: "ADAPTING YOUR PRACTICE: Recommendations for the Care of Homeless Patients with Opioid Use Disorders." She has worked for 44 years in social justice with emphasis on serving people at risk and/or experiencing homelessness and housing crisis. With God’s guidance and blessing, she developed one of the first transitional housing programs and prevention/rapid rehousing models in the country in the early 1980s, which has been a model for Local, State and Federal Legislation. 

  • March 18

    poverty, Education, and Incarceration

    First lady Gwen Walz

    Gwen Walz is Minnesota’s 39th First Lady. As a lifelong Minnesotan, she is excited to work on behalf of all Minnesotans. Gwen was born in Glencoe, Minnesota, and grew up in western Minnesota. Alongside her three sisters, Gwen was raised by her parents, Val and Linn, who were educators and small business owners. She has received degrees from Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter and Minnesota State University in Mankato. Gwen began her English teaching career in western Nebraska, where she met Tim Walz. Soon after they met, Gwen and Tim established a summer trip to China for their students and traveled there nearly every summer through 2003. In 1994, Tim and Gwen married and even “honeymooned” on one of these trips, with 60 students in tow.   Educating Minnesota’s children is one of Gwen’s passions. Throughout her career, Gwen has taught in public, alternative, and migrant schools; this has shaped her vision. For more than two decades, Gwen served as an administrator/coordinator in the Mankato Area Public Schools, working to eliminate the achievement gap and strive for more equity and access within education systems. Gwen knows that a strong public education system, encompassing birth through senior citizens, is critical to empowering every Minnesotan to succeed.  Gwen is a passionate advocate for exemplary education in America’s prisons as well. She has worked across the country to bring educational opportunities to incarcerated women and men, or as Gwen notes: students. The Bard Prison Initiative in upstate New York is home to the innovative, high standards approach to a liberal arts college degree that Gwen advocates—inclusive of all students. Gwen understands that corrections must be an inclusive component of our education system, and by expanding opportunity, we can dramatically reduce recidivism rates and most importantly, transform lives. Since her initial visit, Gwen has been an active supporter of the Bard Prison Initiative and is engaged in efforts to bring the tenets of this model to Minnesota and nationwide. 

  • MARCH 25


    MarC prokosch, esq.

    Marc founded Prokosch Law in 2019 after working at a previous immigration firm from 2003 to 2019. Marc regularly handles the most complex immigration cases, representing individuals throughout the immigration process, from application to appeal. Marc practices before USCIS, the immigration court, the Board of Immigration Appeals, U.S. District Courts, and the Circuit Courts of Appeal.  Marc is active in the immigration bar, currently chairing two committees for the Minnesota/Dakotas chapter of AILA, and previously being chair of the chapter from 2012-2013. He is also a member of the Federal Bar Association and is currently on the FBA immigration law section advisory council. He regularly mentors other attorneys and law students, and frequently speaks on immigration topics for attorneys as well as at public forums in the community. Before law school, Marc was a high school English teacher in both Minnesota and Kenya, after graduating from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota.

  • april 1

    POVERTY AND healthcare

    Suzanne burke-lehman

    Dr. Suzanne Burke Lehman has been a nurse and community leader for over 25 years. Burke Lehman began her career as a pediatric nurse at Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare in St. Paul, MN and as a nurse consultant for the Minneapolis Department of Health. She received the Alice Swan Leadership Award in 2012, the Excellence in Education Award from The African Nurses Network in 2018, and served as the Moore Nursing Fellow at St. Catherine University from 2016-2019. Dr. Lehman has provided health leadership and service in a variety of community, education, and practice settings over her career. She is an appointed member of the Fairview University of Minnesota Medical Center Community Advisory Council and co-founder of the Nursing Diversity Collaborative at Minnesota Children’s Hospitals and Clinics. She is currently an Associate Professor of Nursing and Baccalaureate Nursing Program Director at St. Catherine University in St. Paul, Minnesota and provides community based nursing care at the Northside Health Commons in Minneapolis.