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One Month Together

I am writing this one month since the Elim Church community joined us at Mill City. When people ask me about what this season of discernment and coming together as a church has been like I have often found it difficult to describe. I usually say something like, “the way the Holy Spirit is moving is hard to put into words, but it’s one of the most meaningful and exciting ministry experiences of my life.”

It hasn’t been easy, but I have watched so many of you choose to lean in to develop new connections, honor the cultures of the two different communities by listening and asking questions, and being people of hospitality. We commissioned Pastor Paul and Pastor Becky as Mill City Pastors having previously served Elim.

It seems clear to me that God brought these two communities together for more than what it may seem on the surface.

Yes, Elim Alumni joining Mill City meant a courageous step that will further the legacy of 135 years of faithfulness in Northeast Minneapolis.

Yes, Mill City will now have a chance to be rooted in the community in a new way because of the building on the corner of 13th and Madison as a home base.

Yes, there are kids and teens who are making new friends and our community is now the most genuine expression of “multi generational” from the 9 month olds to 90 year olds.

Yet – I think there is something greater that the Spirit is up to in our midst. I believe the increased capacity for us to love our community in the name of Jesus will bear fruit for the Kingdom of God that we couldn’t imagine right now if we tried.

If we remain Jesus-centered and open to the leadership of the Holy Spirit, we will continue to have opportunities to join in the Kingdom of God in Northeast Minneapolis and beyond!

As we continue to come together, join me in praying this prayer:

“God give us eyes to see what you are doing, ears to hear your voice and courage to join in what you are doing around us!”

Continue to check out the Transition Web Site – and don’t hesitate to communicate to the transition team with your feedback or questions –

Building Update – Fresh but Familiar

Praise report – the restoration of the building at 13th and Madison is ahead of schedule. As of right now, we plan to move our worship services to 638 13th Ave NE by April 2nd, 2023 – Palm Sunday! Stay tuned for details.

Thank you to Kale Johnson leading the restoration project and to the expanded building team, as well as the over 100 community members who have come to serve at the building in some way, shape or form! There are more times to help out – please sign up here: JOIN IN!

The hope for anyone who has experienced the incredible resources of this building in the past would enter and feel like the spaces are freshened up, yet still very familiar!

This is primarily a work of “restoration” not of “remodeling”. The building has been taken care of with great effort and attentiveness – so the focus is on deferred maintenance of carpet and paint, light fixtures and bathrooms.

Here is a brief description of the work that has been done or is in process:

Sanctuary – The beauty of this room is what is being accentuated with the restoration. The room has been painted and new carpet has been installed. These updates will accentuate the beautiful wood work, antique light fixtures, pews crafted specifically for this room as well as the organ and stain glass that we will all enjoy come April. There will be updates to the sound system and screen to be sure people can hear and see well from any seat in the room.

Here is a shot of the Sanctuary (Pastor Aashish was filming something special for Lent before the pews are re installed):

Kids Space – The lower level of the building is dedicated to kiddos! Elim Preschool continues to run smoothly in the East wing. The central and west side of the lower level is over 4000 square feet that includes a large open area for kids to gather and 6 classrooms for different age groups on Sundays. Paint, carpet and new lighting will make the entire space feel brand new! The kids aren’t only the future of the church – but core members of our church right now!

Here are work in progress photos:

Bathrooms & Accessibility – An accessibility button is being added to the Madison Street accessible entrance that is closest to the elevator (the elevator gives access to all 4 floors). The main level bathrooms are the closest areas to being “remodeled” with brand new tile and sinks. Because of some intentional cost saving in other areas it was determined we could add an additional family and accessible single use bathroom around the corner from the main bathrooms. Kale discovered previous bathroom plumbing in a janitorial closet across from the current chapel in the 1960s part of the building!

Youth Room – The two student ministries have been coming together as one and meeting at the Mill City Commons while the building is being restored. The youth rooms will get new paint and brand new furniture! The students worked together to give input on the new style – or as they say “vibe” – of the room. Youth rooms – BEFORE:

Lobby, hallways and dining room – These areas are all getting a fresh coat of paint and member Nick Knuth has been updating light fixtures so that the hallways are better lit! Huge shout out to Nick for the many hours he has invested! Here is before paint in the lobby – and Nick changing out lights in a hallway, and a hallway with completed lights and carpet:

Atrium – for those who aren’t familiar, above the dining room there are two more levels of gathering space and classrooms. The gathering space in the atrium is under a large skylight (hence the term “atrium”). This space and it’s adjoining kitchen will be available for our church and partner church communities on evenings and weekends. It was restored and refreshed by Render Free, a co-working space for Black and Brown women led by Arielle Grant. They will have exclusive access of the atrium space during the week and their rent will go to support the costs of the building which helps us free up money for ministry as a church!

This has been the summary of the “move in ready” improvements being done – they are on schedule and on budget – praise the Lord!

As we live into the space together as a unified community new projects may emerge. I would love for us to think of our buildings not as “assets” or “liabilities” but as a Kingdom resources that we have the privilege to steward together for the glory of God!

It is a deep honor to serve this community as one of your pastors!

With you,

Pastor Steph