Office of the Chaplains

Religious and Spiritual Life

TO: The Gustavus Community
FROM: Siri Erickson and Thomas Flunker

SUBJECT: Our Antiracist Work

DATE: June 1, 2020

To those of you who have suffered the indignities of racial prejudice, and to those of you who have been physically, emotionally, and spiritually injured by the racist actions, rhetoric, and policies of individuals and institutions, we see you and we stand with you.

To those of you whose communities are grieving, angry, and crying out for an end to police brutality and demanding accountability for those who contributed to the death of George Floyd, we see you and we cry out with you.

To those of you who live in neighborhoods that have been vandalized and burned, who have lost access to food, libraries, restaurants, coffee shops, bookstores, pharmacies, and other neighborhood services and gathering places, we see you and grieve with you.

To those of you who have mobilized to show up for peaceful protests, swept up broken glass, organized the distribution of food and supplies to impacted neighborhoods, donated money to organizations on the front lines of helping people, called elected officials, or joined a racial justice organization, we see you and we give thanks for you.

Even though we are dispersed due to the coronavirus and summer schedules, we recognize the need to come together for a time of shared lament and support. The Chaplains’ Office and Center for Inclusive Excellence will be co-hosting two virtual interfaith gatherings so that we might care for one another. Please join us for one of these gatherings via Zoom this . or  Both gatherings require the password “lament” to join. 

In President Bergman’s message to the campus on Friday “George Floyd, Racial Injustice, and the World We Want to Build,” she stated that Gustavus is committed to deepening its own antiracist work. We are writing this email to you as a step in that direction. Over the course of the summer, we will send you emails with information that can guide your learning, self-reflection, and antiracist action. In the fall, the President’s Council for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion will work with the Gustavus community to develop a more comprehensive plan for the College’s antiracist work.

It has been too easy for too long for well-meaning people to simply think or say “I’m not a racist,” or to take the comfortable approach towards addressing systems of oppression that have long been prevalent but have not been given a high level of urgency. However, the reality of racist policies and actions--embedded in our national culture from its very beginning--continues to be perpetuated such that none of us can escape the legacies and mindsets of discrimination against people with black, brown, or olive skin tones. It is imperative that we all commit to learning how to identify, address, and dismantle racist policies, mindsets, and systems that continue to cause harm, and even death, to people of color.

The first step is to learn about what antiracism actually is and means. For this we highly recommend the work of Ibram X. Kendi. 

His book, How to Be an Antiracist, is an excellent place to start.
This interview he did with NPR about his book provides a valuable introduction.

In order to deepen Gustavus’ understanding and work concerning antiracism, as well as to delve into addressing the pervasive systems that maintain such ideologies, it will take all of us learning, reflecting, and taking action together. It will require soul-searching, courage, humility, and compassion. We are grateful for each of you and for the work that we will do together in the coming months.


Thomas Flunker, Director of the Center for Inclusive Excellence

Siri Erickson, Special Assistant to the President for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Curated resources for spiritual care

Individual Spiritual Care

Chaplains are available to meet virutally with students and staff. They are good listeners who are skilled in guiding individuals through times of crisis, grief, vocational discernment, theological questions, relationship struggles, and more. Chaplains also enjoy sitting down over coffee or tea for open conversation. 

Chaplain Siri Erickson: 
To schedule an appointment, please email her at

Chaplain Maggie Falenschek: 
Click to schedule an appointment online. For additional availability, please email her at
Chaplain Grady St. Dennis: 
To schedule an appointment, please email him at

Worship/Religious Services

  • Many churches nation wide are live streaming worship services each week. Check the website or social media accounts of your favorite congregations. Not sure where to start? Chaplains are happy to share recommendations. 
  • Gustavus students will be sharing brief messages every Sunday. To listen to this week's message click or check our social media channels. 
  • Catholicism: A message from Fr. Andrew Dickinson from SDSU's Newman Center, click .
  •  holds resources, programs, hangouts, contests, and virtual gatherings for Jewish community. 
  • Mt. Zion Temple (Reform) in St. Paul is regularly livestreaming services. Click for more information.
  • Romemu (Renewal) hosts streamed Shabbat and Torah studies. Click to view. 
  • The Sri Satyanarayana Temple is hosting streaming services via Facebook. Click to view. 
  • Howard University MSA is hosting regular Jummah services. Click to view. 
  • Muslim American Society hosts daily focus' that includes reflections, Quran recitation and dua. Click to view.
  • The Yaqeen Institute offers
  • Click for a blog post on ritual approaches to COVID-19.
  • For meditations, readings, and other resources click .

Resiliency Practices

Follow the link below to explore tips and best practices currated by Professor Michele Ruskino. 


Next Event

Baccaulaureate Services - 9 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.

May 22, 2021

A baccalaureate service is a worship service that includes Holy Communion, music, readings, prayers and a blessing for the graduates. People of all faiths are welcome.  Baccalaureate services will be held in Christ Chapel on Saturday morning at 9 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.

Go to  to reserve complimentary tickets for a Baccalaureate Service.  Your graduate needs a ticket of their own.

2020欧洲杯体育投注盘口Seating in Christ Chapel is limited, so there are two opportunities to attend the Baccalaureate Service to accomodate requests. Requests will be filled as received until a service reaches capacity. Guest tickets are not limited, although please order as close as possible to the number of tickets needed. Additional requests for tickets or returns can be made if your plans change.

Attending the 9 a.m. service allows for a more leisurely time to attend the  before graduates are required to line-up for Commencement at 12:45 p.m.

Upcoming events
Date Event
May 22, 2021 910 a.m. Baccaulaureate Services - 9 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. Chapel
10:3011:30 a.m. Baccaulaureate Services - 9 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. Chapel