Love them as I first loved you?

14725697_10209953356583479_2267772485690217289_nDecember 23rd, 2016

This happened a few hours ago outside of the Central MN Islamic Center in St. Cloud, right after Friday prayers.

No, this is not how you #unitecloud. And no, this is not what Jesus would do.

Jesus, whose birthday I am celebrating in a couple days, came with radical LOVE for everyone. He walked in that love and he had harsh words for religious zealots that didn’t lead with love. How I wish I knew, sign holding sir, that you were going to be at the mosque today. I would have high tailed it over there and talked with you, Christian to Christian – just like I did when I saw you this summer at the gay pride family festival.

Our #unitecloud hats go off to Melissa who shared this post and then walked over to the man with the sign to tell him that this wasn’t right. He in turn said that she was a Jezebel and her husband an Ahab, told them they were wicked and informed them they were going to hell because they supported our Islamic Center neighbors.

As I said to Melissa on Facebook – I’ll be right there with you then, sister.

My fellow Christians, I plead with you: This Christmas, be in relationship with your neighbor. Serve them. Bring them some Christmas goodies. LOVE THEM AS CHRIST FIRST LOVED YOU.


In other news….#unitecloud friend Tiffany shared an amazing story of the LOVE that fills St. Cloud so, I want end this blog with Christmas goodness:

15590150_1414838901859814_6044056869059126793_nYesterday was the last day of school before break. It was busy, chaotic, exhausting, and FUN! I’m thankful for my team, and all Discovery staff, who work so hard to provide great experiences for our students. We work in a very diverse, high-poverty school. I do not expect gifts at Christmas because
1) Half of my students do not celebrate Christmas
2) Most of my families are working hard just to make ends meet.

I was so touched yesterday morning when a Somali mother dropped off Christmas cupcakes for my class, and a warm bag of sambusas (a delicious Somali food) for me! She wished me “happy holidays” and thanked me for everything I do for her son (which, btw, is just doing my job)! So grateful for the tolerance, respect, and acknowledgment of our differences–and similarities–this Christmas season. Love wins!❤️

About the Author

Natalie Copeland

Natalie grew up in Central Minnesota and received her Music Education degree from Concordia College in Moorhead. She taught middle school choir in Georgia and worked in the church sector for over a decade. She now works as Executive Director of Unite Cloud, a non-profit working to reduce racial, religious, and cultural tensions in Central MN and is a trainer with the CARE (Community Anti-Racism Education) Team at SCSU (St Cloud State University). She is also a member oft he St Cloud School District 742 board. In her spare time (haha) she loves to spend time with her 3 children, making music and playing games.