by Dale Witherington, Church Networking
At a time when many Americans are growing more dissatisfied with and disinterested in politics and government, St. Paul 101 Trainings launch Minnesotans into the legislative process in a fresh, personal way! I recently had an opportunity to co-lead a St. Paul 101 Training with Tom Prichard as we hosted 40 students from a Christian high school in Chaska, MN. They came for a “hands-on” experience inside of Minnesota’s state government. And that's exactly what they got!
The day began with a brief overview of the process. Students were invited into the operations of state government as participants rather than mere spectators. This introduction led to a demonstration of how the Minnesota Court of Appeals operates as we watched an actual case being presented to the panel of three Appellate Judges. We were then treated to a 30-minute personal presentation with Minnesota Supreme Court Justice, the Honorable Barry Anderson.
Justice Anderson gave a concise description of how the Minnesota Supreme Court functions and shared his personal journey to the bench. He then entertained questions from the students and teachers until he had to be whisked away for some out-of-state travel.
After a brief stop for pictures in front of the recently renovated State Capitol building, we headed over to the new Senate Office Building and were promptly invited into the office of Senator Paul Gazelka, the Senate Majority Leader! Senator Gazelka is a committed man of God who understands that he is not merely a Senator who happens to be a Christian. He is a Christian Senator “on assignment” from God as he serves Minnesotans in this influential role.
Our whirlwind tour included time with well-known state lobbyist, Maryann Campo, and our State Senator from the Brainerd Lakes region, Senator Carrie Ruud. Both gave generously of their time explaining their roles in government. Like Senator Gazelka, Senator Ruud is a committed Christian representing the Lord and the people of Minnesota in our legislature.
The day wrapped up with State Senator from Watertown, MN, Senator Scott Jensen. Senator Jensen spent 20 minutes with us in the magnificently beautiful Governor’s Reception Room!
It is our hope that these students left with a great resolve: To be an impactful member of the Kingdom of God on earth, one must be a biblical citizen and a steward of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in every sphere of life!