Welcome to the Grace Lutheran Church Web site!
We’re glad you found us. You’ve come to the right place to find out who we are, what we believe, ways to worship with us, and how you can be of help or how you can make use of the community services at our location.
We did it!
After Christmas and Sunday, December 27, Grace Church has received a total of $5,870 in donations toward our challenge grant. We had 27 individuals/families contributing to the total. The challenge grant was made by two VERY generous donors to help Grace Lutheran to meet its year-end budget obligations. The donors pledged to match dollar-for-dollar anyone’s year-end-gift from late November until the end of the year for a combined total of up to $5,000! THANK YOU TO ALL WHO HELPED US EXCEED THE GRANT CHALLENGE!
Annual Meeting To Be Held January 24th
Grace Lutheran Church of Northeast Minneapolis will be hold its annual meeting Sunday, January 24, 2016. The meeting will be held at 11:15 AM (following our 10 AM worship). The primary purposes of this meeting are to share committee reports, approve a 2016 budget and elect members to the Church Council. If you have suggestions about new Council members, please talk to a current council member. Our church council is composed of the pastor and nine members of the congregation. We have 4 slots to fill for 2016. (Beth Breiter, Janis Jablonski Lobins, Steve Sylvester, and Bob Dierke will be rotating off council in January. Jennifer Schultz, Nancy Brazil, Jennifer Fisher, Penny Hinderaker and Janet McGuire will be staying on for 2016.)
Youth Group of the Future is back in the 2016!
On the second Saturday of the month, Grace Lutheran Church children grades K-6 are invited to come spend a few hours with Keyla Christenson, Mercy Seat’s Children’s Church Director. The group will study the Bible, sing songs, and play games. The first Youth Group of the year 2016 will be on January 9, 11 am-12:30 pm! The rest of dates for spring are: February 13, March 12, April 9, and May 14.
Please meet in the Grace Center gymnasium for child drop off. Parents are welcome to join or feel free to leave the kiddos to get in some adult time for yourself!
The Golden Friends had a beautiful day for their Paddlewheel Boat Cruise on the St. Croix River! The group took a trip on Wednesday, October 14, 2015. They departed from Stillwater, MN around 11:30 AM and had lunch on the boat. Thanks to Jennifer Fischer for coordinating the event!
God’s work. Our hands. Sunday
We celebrated God’s work. Our Hands. Sunday on September 13, 2015. We started worship with a brief prayer service and then dispersed to put our faith in action to serve others. Projects shown below include packaging dog food to feed the companion animals of those in need, landscaping projects to beautify the neighborhood, putting together packets of donated school supplies to distribute at the food shelf, and finishing up a quilt to donate to charity. Big thanks to all who participated!
Church Council Votes “Yes” on ELCA Ministry Site Profile
The Church Council voted at its September meeting to check “Yes” on the ELCA Ministry Site Profile to the question of whether or not we would welcome a pastor who is lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT). Answering Yes does NOT mean we have asked specifically for an LGBT pastor. It simply means we have told the synod we want them to look at a larger roster of candidates when selecting a good fit for our congregation. If we interview candidates that are LGBT we are committed to being fair and interviewing in good faith that the time and effort spent is beneficial for both the candidate and Call Committee in working towards a new pastor.
The ELCA is considered the most welcoming and deliberately inclusive Lutheran Church toward LGBT members and has had an inclusion policy since 1991. However, the ELCA has only been ordaining LGBT ministers since 2009 and gives individual congregation autonomy in calling ministers to serve. Our congregation members had a chance to share their views on whether Grace Church would be accepting in interviewing a pastor that is LGBT, in a discussion that was held after the August 30 worship service. Respect was shown from both sides of the discussion and a written poll of members was taken, resulting with 34 voting yes, 9 no, and 2 abstaining.
Guest Pastor to Lead RIC Discussion on October 11
ALL are invited to join us after our October 11, 2015 worship service for a discussion led by Guest pastor Anita Hill that will focus on scripture relating to RIC (Reconciling in Christ). RIC is a program that recognizes Lutheran congregations that have in place a formal statement of welcome and inclusion to Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) persons. Grace Lutheran began preliminary exploration of what it would mean to become a Reconciling in Christ Congregation with small group discussions back in November of 2014. The discussions were facilitated by church members. They included respectful listening and no agenda or outcome was intended other than to provide an opportunity for the Church Council to hear the perspectives and ideas of members. Plans to proceed with further discussions were stalled when Council attention was drawn to other church matters that included receiving notice that Pastor Craig and Pastor Lori had accepted calls to new areas of ministry in early 2015.
Pastor Anita Hill helped us restart our discussions at an after-worship gathering on August 30, 2015. Pastor Hill is a former Deputy Director of Reconciling Works and has a great deal wisdom and experience in this area. Pastor Hill talked with us about the RIC program in general, shared her personal experiences, described what RIC is all about and why we might want to become an RIC congregation. The October 11 discussion will focus on scripture relating to RIC.
Interim Pastor Eva Jensen and 12 leaders of the congregation, including Council and Call Committee members, gathered on Saturday, June 27, 2015 for an extended “retreat” to review our congregational journey, the strengths, gifts and assets that we carry as well as vulnerabilities and challenges we face looking to the future.
Pastor Eva led the session. (In addition to being an ordained minister, she has a professional background as a consultant in organizational development, group facilitation and strategic planning; we are blessed to have her extensive experience and skills to lead us!) A recap of the retreat has been organized into chart form. You can view it by clicking here.
Special thanks to Mojo Coffee Gallery, Marko and Amy Field’s business, for catering breakfast sandwiches and coffee.
Church Council Votes to Clarify Welcoming Statement
At Grace Lutheran we strive to be welcoming to all people. At the 6/11/2015 council meeting we clarified our welcoming-statement by voting to sanction same gender marriage ceremonies in our sanctuary. I am pleased to say this motion passed unanimously. In discerning this question the council looked at our own statement of welcome, the history of the ELCA’s position on being welcoming to all and to our recent table conversations with the congregation last fall where we discussed the possibility of becoming a Reconciling in Christ Congregation*.
When same gender marriage became legal in Minnesota in 2013, the synod asked each congregation’s council to decide if they would welcome same gender marriages in their church. Our council has discussed the issue many times since then but never voted on it. During this transition time the synod urged us to decide on this issue. In 1991 the ELCA church-wide assembly passed a resolution stating “Gay and lesbian people, as individuals created by God, are welcome to participate fully in the life of the congregations of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.” Our mission statement at Grace Lutheran says we want to create a welcoming faith community. In order to be clear that we are welcoming all people at Grace Lutheran we have voted to sanction same gender marriages in our sanctuary.
This action is not the same thing as becoming a Reconciling in Christ Congregation*. We will continue to discuss this issue with all of you and are working on plans for more discussion or possibly a bible study.
Beth Breiter, Council President
Grace Lutheran Church
*The Reconciling in Christ (RIC) Program is for congregations, synods, colleges, seminaries, and other Lutheran organizations. RIC recognizes Lutheran communities that publicly welcome lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender believers. According to the organization’s website, the complete Reconciling in Christ Roster now exceeds 600 settings, including congregations, synods, colleges, seminaries, and other organizations.
Meet Our Interim Pastor
We are pleased to welcome Rev. Eva Jensen as Interim Pastor to Grace Lutheran Church! She began working with us in a half-time position in the beginning of March 2015. In addition to a Masters of Divinity, she holds a Ph.D. in Development Studies focused on community-based development and social change, gender and development, food systems and food security.
March Fundraising Boosts Little Kitchen FoodShelf!!
Thanks to everyone who helped out with the Minnesota FoodShare March Campaign! Here are the results:
Money Raised: $23,768.18 (includes a $10,000 matching gift from a generous, anonymous donor form Grace Church and $6,000 raised by the Eastside Food Co-op when customers “rounded up at the register.”)
Pounds of Food Collected: 2,060
The money raised will help erase the Emergency Foodshelf Network (EFN) debt we have had on the books from 2014. (The Little Kitchen Foodshelf purchases basic staples at or below wholesale cost from EFN to supplement food supplies and meet the needs of hungry neighbors.)
In addition to the totals above, the Little Kitchen Foodshelf will receive additional funds through a percentage-match from Minnesota FoodShare to help stock its shelves throughout the year.
Farewell Reception For Pastor Crag Pederson Held February 1st
The reception followed Pastor Craig’s last Sunday leading the worship service. Pastor Craig is leaving our congregation to join the Minneapolis Area Synod staff as Assistant to the Bishop for Congregational Vitality.
Pastor Craig has had a connection with our congregation and the local community for over twelve years. He served as pastor at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Northeast from 2002-2007. St. Paul’s was one of the three Lutheran congregations that merged in 2007 to form our congregation. Pastor Craig oversaw the merger of our three congregations and the development of Grace Center for Community Life, which in addition to housing our congregation houses a number of social service and educational programs.
Our congregation will be saying goodbye to Craig and his family as members of our church, but they will be staying in the area and we can look forward to seeing them out and about in the community. We thank them for their years of friendship and service and wish them well in the next chapter of their lives!
Thank you to 2014 Church Council!
Vote To Change Name Unanimously Approved!
A special congregational meeting was held on Sunday, April 6 to vote on changing our name from “Northeast Community Lutheran Church” to “Grace Lutheran Church of Northeast Minneapolis.” The name change passed unanimously. This new name orients us firmly in God’s grace and aligns our name more directly with Grace Center, the community center project that we started back in 2010. The new name will be officially introduced and begin to be used on Sunday, May 4, on the occasion of our congregation’s 7th anniversary.
Multi-Generation Mission Trip
Plans have begun for Grace Lutheran’s first group mission trip. We will be traveling July 19 through July 26, 2014 to the farming town of Booneville, Arkansas. During the week we have plans to work with the local Family Resource Center, the Boys & Girls Club, spend time with senior citizens, work projects and children’s programming. Please come to our informational meeting or contact Pastor Lori Youngvorst or Grace Pardun Alworth if you have any questions or are interested in taking the trip!
Landscape Renovations at Grace Center
A major transformation of the massive “sea of asphalt” surrounding our building took place during the month of November. A generous grant from the Mississippi Watershed Management Organization (MWMO) along with other Grace Center Funding sources allowed us to remove almost half of the asphalt area and replace it with rain gardens, bio swales, landscaping, grass turf, and dedicated parking. We installed a shorter decorative fence with gates in place of the six-foot-high chain link fence and the large backstop fences in the corners. The west parking lot on the 5th street side of the building will be partially regraded and repaved. Some of the landscaping has been installed, but more will follow when the weather warms in the Spring.
ELCA “Day of Service”
On Sunday, September 8, 2013, members and friends of our church engaged in a variety of service projects as part of the ELCA’s 25th anniversary celebration. We met in the sanctuary at the regular start time for worship for a brief prayer service and then went out to do projects. Service projects included:
- Assembling care packages and bagging bulk items for the Little Kitchen Food Shelf
- Finishing two quilts to be given to families in need
- Spreading wood dhips in a nearby park
- Picking up trash on the west bank of the Mississippi river.
Kitchen Renovation Complete
Completion of our kitchen is complete and we will be able to make full use of it for our September 28, 2013 Community Dinner. We are looking forward to using “real dishes” and expanding our cooking equipment beyond roasters and outdoor grills. Our kitchen has been under renovation throughout the summer of 2013. Our church has been without a working kitchen since moving into Grace Center in July of 2010. In our building’s former life as Holland elementary school, the kitchen lacked cooking equipment. (The school district operated a centralized kitchen that did all of the cooking for the schools. Food was sent out in plastic trays or bags to be kept chilled or warm.) When our church moved into the building the kitchen consisted of two small sinks, warming racks and cupboards. Refinancing of the original loan that provided for the purchase and renovation of Grace Center made upgrades to the kitchen (and heating/cooling improvements) possible. The renovation has also included installation of a new walk-in refrigerator. The Little Kitchen Food Shelf was awarded a $7,000 grant for the purchase. The walk-in fridge will enable proper and adequate storage of the abundant produce donated by neighbors, the Garden Gleaning Project, and grown on-site in the Grace Center raised bed gardens. Congratulations to Food Shelf Manager Jennifer Schultz who worked hard on the grant application.