Lyndale United Church of Christ (lyndaleucc.org) at 31st Street and Aldrich voted on December 7 to sell our building to New Wine Church of St. Paul (newwinechurch.org)! If only it were that easy. A done deal.
New Wine Church wants a bigger building. They want to buy and restore our building. Partnered with Salem Lutheran Church (discoversalem.com) and presently sharing our building with them, we want to sell and downsize (our building is 25,000 sq. ft), moving the fall of 2010 into a renovated green friendly building, Salem Lutheran Church’s sanctuary at 28th Street and Garfield Avenue.
It is a big deal for a congregation to voluntarily agree to sell their building, what with the edifice complexes some congregations are often known to have. But the Lyndale Church building has been too big for the 120 member congregation for years, and 5 years ago we began to work on plans to move to a more sustainable building. Salem Lutheran Church joined in the quest and in November of 2006 Salem Church shut up their 45,000 sq. ft. building at 28th & Lyndale and moved in with us. We are partnered, not merged. Salem has a traditional service in the sanctuary at 8:30 a.m. Lyndale has our service in the sanctuary at 10:30 a.m. and Salem has a jazz service in the dance studio at 10:30 a.m. Just to make things exciting, the Greater Deliverance Church moved into the garden level of the building in July of 2008 and they begin worship on Sundays at 12:15 p.m.
As all of us are too fully aware, these decisions are happening in a tough economy. And that’s an understatement. New Wine Church has 60 days following the signing of the purchase agreement on December 18th to inspect the building. Even after they decide to move forward, they need to work with a bank that will make the loan. And we know how that’s going.
But faith is often simply putting one foot in front of the other and trusting God for the results. That’s what these three churches are doing. Who better?
So there may be a miracle on 31st Street in this economy in the near future. We won’t know for sure until the end of March, 2009. Presently Lyndale and Salem Churches are looking in the immediate neighborhood for a place where two congregations can share one space, continue to worship separately, but minister together in other ways.
Meanwhile, Brighton Development continues to apply for gap funding to make the project at 28th & Lyndale a reality. Some money will be coming from the Metropolitan Council for the affordable housing part of the project. We hope for other money from the City of Minneapolis. When all the funding is in place (this coming summer), the project at 28th & Lyndale will begin and hopefully be completed by the fall of 2010. Another miracle? This time on 28th Street.
Both Lyndale and Salem Churches ask for the prayers/thoughts/energy/manifestations of the neighborhood, that together we might continue to serve in the neighborhood.
Don Portwood is Pastor of Lyndale United Church of Christ.