Minnesota South District Votes to Sell ULC Property and Allow the Lord’s Place to be Demolished and Replaced for Capital Gain, by Pr. Rossow

The Minnesota South Board of Directors has voted to sell the University Lutheran Chapel sanctuary and property. They have done this without going to the people of the Minnesota South and North Districts, who gave the money to build the beautiful neo-gothic sanctuary on a strategic plot in the middle of the University of Minnesota campus. It is not certain how the property will be repurposed but as we reported yesterday the Board has already been in discussions with a local developer who is in the business of buying properties, tearing down buildings and erecting new facilities for financial gain.

We are not opposed to capital gain. It is a good thing. But this capital gain is a loss for the Gospel. It robs a parish of its place where God’s word is preached in its purity and the Gospel is are administered according to Christ’s command.

Have you seen the pictures of the University Lutheran Chapel? We are not talking about a storefront ministry here. We are talking about a building and site that give our Lord the glory due His name. The chapel is a beautiful, soaring tribute to the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ.

This sale just does not make sense. The chapel has been fulfilling the dreams and goals of the thousands of people who 60 years ago made real the vision to build a chapel on the University of Minnesota campus. There is a thriving congregation of over 200 members who have maintained the chapel without subsidy for the last several years. It does not cost the district anything to run this parish and yet the district Board of Directors, without taking it to a vote of the district, decided to sell this property because they have not managed their district finances well enough to get along without such a sale.

To be blunt, a beautiful, glorious facility that brings fitting praise to our Lord and His Gospel and has brought that Gospel to thousands of young people through the years, is being torn down so that the district can support its own bureaucrats who sit in offices and spin out theories and programs like the one proposed for campus ministry in Minnesota that has led to the pending destruction of this house of God and putting the congregation in peril.

A motion to grant the parish $250,000 out of the three million dollar proceeds to help them relocate was postponed until December but the sale could happen as soon as tomorrow since the Treasurer has been empowered to negotiate a sale immediately.

In no world does this make sense. The Roman Catholic Church has been wisely moth-balling inner city edifices in struggling parishes in failing neighborhoods for future use for the last generation. This is not a failing neighborhood nor a struggling parish. This is a vibrant university community and a thriving parish and yet the District Board is not even proposing moth-balling. They are proposing destruction.

This also seems odd since the parish recently started a local, state and national capital campaign to raise funds to “buy back” its facility from the district with new funds from the very people who built it in the first place. The District President’s office was aware of this plan and agreed it was a fitting thing to do.

I did not give any money 60 years ago to help build this sanctuary. I was not alive yet. I was ready to give a gift to “buy it back” as were countless other confessional Lutherans. Now, I will not get that chance. If I were one of the original donors from sixty years ago, I would be outraged at the mismanagement and poor stewardship being shown by the District Board of Directors who with one little vote, determined that this incredible facility, built by the gifts of donors seeking to establish the Gospel on the University of Minnesota campus, shall be replaced for capital gain.

The Minnesota South District Board of Directors has created a bureaucracy that it cannot support. To save themselves they have decided to sell off an altar, pulpit and the very ground they have occupied for 60 years so that this plot can now house high rent apartments, shops or whatever other capital gain the savvy developers might erect in place of the University Lutheran Chapel.

Here is the motion approved by the District Board of Directors:

 

A RESOLUTION TO SELL THE MINNESOTA SOUTH DISTRICT PROPERTY

LOCATED ON THE UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA-MINNEAPOLIS CAMPUS

September 13, 2011

Resolved, that the Treasurer of the District effectuate the sale of the University of Minnesota campus property located at 1011 University Ave. S.E., Minneapolis, MN, including the parsonage, under the following conditions:

1) The district retain a broker for the purpose of selling the District’s University of Minnesota campus property for the highest market price available but not less than a net price of $3.2 million.

2) The board expressly authorizes the Treasurer to execute any purchase agreement in excess of this net amount with no further board approval.

3) The Treasurer is authorized to negotiate terms of the listing agreement on behalf of the board without further ratification.

4) It is the intent of this board that a final purchase agreement be entered into prior to the close of the 2011 calendar year.

5) The broker will immediately notify the University Lutheran Chapel of the listing price and negotiate in good faith with any offer that meets the above conditions.

The resolution was adopted unanimously.

A RESOLUTION TO SELL THE MINNESOTA SOUTH DISTRICT PROPERTY

LOCATED ON THE MINNESOTA STATE UNIVERSITY-MANKATO CAMPUS

September 13, 2011

Resolved, that the Treasurer of the District effectuate the sale of the District’s Minnesota State University, Mankato campus property at 329 Ellis Ave, Mankato, MN, under the following conditions:

1) The district retain a broker for the purpose of selling the District’s Minnesota State University campus property for the highest market price available.

2) The Treasurer is authorized to negotiate terms of the listing agreement on behalf of the board without further ratification.

The resolution was adopted.

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