The Apostle Paul wrote these words from a dark, musty jail cell, far from the modern context in which they are commonly quoted, to encourage people to dream bigger dreams.
As we read the Bible, we find a God who unfailingly urges God’s people to “Get up and go,” a God who is always rolling out new assignments and pushing God’s people toward new relationships. These assignments are usually more moving, more going, than any of us would choose on our own. But the Holy Spirit continues to call the church to move, to enlarge its community and its influence. Our ‘Get up and go God’ refuses to let this congregation and its members stand in one place for too long. There is always more to be done for the neighborhood and the world.
In the ECLC Strategic Plan 2021, our purpose is stated as: We give witness to love and justice at God’s welcome table and in the world. What will that mean for our congregation? Are we poised to support the work God puts before us?
Love of God’s Creation (est. $150K)
Our congregation sits on the banks of Minnehaha Creek. This land deserves our best efforts in caring for God’s creation. First, we honor the land and fulfill our obligation as stewards of this corner of creation by restoring ECLC’s woods with native plants and trees. Secondly, we honor the saints who have gone before us by creating sacred outdoor space to reflect, remember and celebrate. Thirdly, we honor our future by creating usable outdoor space. We have an opportunity to vision how our remarkable facility can be enhanced with finishing touches to serve us and our neighborhood well into the future, and how our congregation can honor the land and enrich our congregation.
Giving Witness to Justice (est. $2.35M Debt Retirement + 10% Mission component)
Since 2016, ECLC has had to use existing cash reserves to service our mortgage liability, averaging $80-100k annually. Those reserves have now been fully spent. Our church’s finances are in a precarious situation going forward. In addition, since 2016 ECLC has run significant operating deficits in the annual budget since servicing the mortgage debt. The financial statements that were presented, mitigated this impact by using transfers from designated funds, or Council’s release of funds to balance the budget. These were dependent on existing cash reserves. To stabilize church operations, church leadership looked at several different models, including refinancing, significant staff reductions, or a capital campaign.
This campaign would retire the debt we carry on our new and renovated building and provide a 10% Mission Component. What would being free of our mortgage allow us to do? With the debt retired, there will be an immediate and dramatic increase in the congregation’s capacity for mission and ministry. Being debt free is a gift we will give to all of those who follow us. Rather than paying interest, we could invest in mission.
This would mean:
You are invited to “See what ‘Yes’ can do!”
Danish theologian and philosopher, Soren Kierkegaard wrote that Jesus wants followers, not admirers. There will always be plenty of people who can say, believe, and stand for all the right things. What God is short of are people who will go where God calls them and do what God gives them to do – even when it goes against their fears, even when the path is yet untrodden.
God has promised ‘Yes” to us in our baptism, and now, as recipients of God’s grace, we can do all things through the One who saves, provides, and strengthens us. (Phil. 4:13) We invite you to respond to God’s “Yes” and to join those who not only admire God, but follow God too. Those who look forward to seeing what “Yes” can do!
A significant part of capital campaigns at ECLC has been the gift of a tithe (10%) to non-profit organizations. Four organizations have been chosen as recipients of these funds for our current Capital Campaign.
Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services
LIRS is the largest faith-based immigration organization in the USA. They plan to open Welcome Centers in several cities across the country, including Minneapolis.
Welcome Center programming will help connect people with the services and expertise they need in specific communities. These services include:
Project for Pride in Living
PPL’s mission is to build the hope, assets and self-reliance of individuals and families who have lower incomes, by providing transformative, affordable housing and career readiness services. A strategic priority is to reduce racial disparities and improve access to wealth creation for Black, Indigenous and people of Color (BIPOC).
Indian Land Tenure Foundation
The Foundation is a national, community-based nonprofit organization and the only organization in the nation devoted to Indian land recovery and effective management. In addition to providing funds to assist tribes in buying back land, they focus in four areas: Education, Create Economic Opportunity, Increase Cultural Awareness and Legal Reform.
Avenues For Youth
The Twin Cities has the worst housing shortage in the nation for homeless youth. Avenues partners with youth experiencing homelessness to achieve their dreams. For more than 27 years, Avenues has supported youth ages 16-24 in Hennepin County. Whether a young person needs someplace to stay for just one night, or a year and a half, Avenues supports them in finding their path out of homelessness. They do that by providing a stable home, building trusting relationships, and navigating the youth’s education, career, health and wellness and housing goals.