Supporting University Lutheran Chapel at the University of Minnesota

A Resolution of the Montana District Fall Pastors’ Conference Supporting University Lutheran Chapel at the University of Minnesota

WHEREAS, the Minnesota South District (MNS) Board of Directors (BOD) has recently taken actions and executed an agreement to sell the property on the campus of the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, used for the past 62 years by University Lutheran Chapel (ULC); and

WHEREAS, the Joint Minnesota South / Minnesota North (MNN) Districts Pastors’ Conference (May 11, 2011, Brainerd, MN) had requested that the MNS BOD bring this entire matter before the MNS District in convention to deliberate and determine an appropriate course of action regarding the sale of the ULC property; and

WHEREAS, at the very time efforts were underway by the Synodical President, the MNN District President, and the MNS District President to discuss this matter with the MNS BOD, documents were executed and signed to sell the property; and

WHEREAS, while the MNS BOD acted by right in executing the documents to sell the building and property used by ULC, by appearance they did not seem to act in love and mercy toward their neighbor; and

WHEREAS, the decision to sell the University Lutheran Chapel by the MNS District BOD has resulted in tension, divisions, and a disruption to our life together across the Synod; therefore be it

RESOLVED, that the Montana District 2011 Fall Pastors Conference humbly express its sincere sadness at the outcomes of these actions of the MNS BOD; and be it further

RESOLVED, to urge that, if at all possible, the MNS BOD reverse or delay its recent decisions regarding ULC, so that the matter may be addressed by the MNS District Convention, and further communicate to the MNS and MNN Districts an explanation of their rationale, and offer a letter of apology to MNS and MNN Districts and ULC and her pastor; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the pastors of the Montana District convey to the congregation of University Lutheran Chapel and her pastor their spiritual support of prayers and physical support from the 2011 Montana Conference offering, so that through these our brothers and sisters in Christ at ULC might be encouraged and supported in their ongoing ministry and mission; and be it further

RESOLVED, that this resolution stand as an example for other Missouri Synod Lutherans to rally around the congregation of ULC, encouraging them to show our “mercy, witness, and life together” for brothers and sisters who have, by appearance, been abused and mistreated; and be it finally

RESOLVED, that the Secretary of the Montana District 2011 Fall Pastor’s Conference send this adopted resolution to the following individuals: The LCMS President; MNN District President; MNS District President; the Chairman of the MNS BOD; and the MNN and MSS Circuit Counselors.

Submitted by the Rev. Douglas Thompson, Park City, Montana
Adopted by the Conference in Great Falls, Montana, 13 October A+D 2011

About Norm Fisher

Norm was raised in the UCC in Connecticut, and like many fell away from the church after high school. With this background he saw it primarily as a service organization. On the miracle of his first child he came back to the church. On moving to Texas a few years later he found a home in Lutheranism when he was invited to a confessional church a half-hour away by our new neighbors.

He is one of those people who found a like mind in computers while in Middle School and has been programming ever since. He's responsible for many websites, including the Book of Concord,, and several other sites.

He has served the church in various positions, including financial secretary, sunday school teacher, elder, PTF board member, and choir member.

More of his work can be found at


Supporting University Lutheran Chapel at the University of Minnesota — 17 Comments

  1. And the groundswell continues. Thanks be to God!

    May our brothers and sisters in Christ at ULC MN be encouraged by the Christian concern of so many churchmen for their plight.

    May our brothers and sisters in Christ on the MNS BOD be moved to reconsideration of their show of right in this situation, and and be moved to showing Christian love to ULC MN as well as to the rest of the Synod who is is concerned about them, by slowing/stopping the sale if possible, and if not, by giving the bulk of the proceeds to the Chapel for their relocation to a permanent site.

    May we and many others support ULCMN with our treasure and our prayers.

  2. I found this on the internet–it was posted on ALPB by a former member of ULC MN, about a week ago:

    My wife and I had the greatest pleasure of meeting Pr. Kind and worshiping at ULC this past Sunday. As part of a long-standing practice, ULC had held a Lutheran Student Fellowship fall retreat this weekend, with Rev. William Cwirla as the featured speaker over the weekend on responses to atheism . He also preached the sermon.

    There were well over hundred worshippers, the distinct majority UM students. The church was unquestionably the youngest demographic I had aver observed in a church – in addition to the students, there were a great many young children -certainly more children under 5 than over 50.

    Thus the chapel was full and the singing filled the space – it was one of the most dramatic services I have ever attended just in terms of the acoustics. The sound of strong human voices undergirded by the organ made it clear that the chapel was perfectly designed for Lutheran worship.

    The facilities and people were very inviting and accommodating. In fact, when I thought my wife had gone out to the car prior to the service and I walked out of the building before the service started, a young man quickly came outside after me and asked if he could help me – obviously it had looked to him like I was leaving before the service started and he was concerned why. There was new carpeting throughout the building and the church library was newly renovated. The walls were tastefully painted, eliminating the garish disco touches from my years at ULC when that was the “contemporary” style of the era prior to Pr. Pless. There was a full game room in the downstairs hall for the students, and also for the Sunday School for the chlldren.

    The students were planning a bake sale to help raise finds to aid ULC’s survival. I talked to some people who were simply perplexed as to why the MNS would want to destroy their chapel and evict them from such a beautiful facility so well-designed for Lutheran worship and so readily accessible for students. In fact, I took a photo of the ULC sign which captured in the same shot the ‘Welcome to the University of Minnesota” sign. One block down the street from ULC (a block nearer to the heart of campus) was a fairly new Mormon temple, and next to that was the Baptist student church. I was simply stunned by the fact the Mormons and Baptists see the value of campus ministry in Minneapolis, with the Mormons making an investment in a student church while the LCMS abandons the one they have.

    I have been a strong supporter from ULC from afar. After one Sunday at ULC, I am even more astonished the MNS BOD sees no value in the ministry of Pr. Kind and ULC. – that they would tear God’s house down without an explanation the congregation can understand while the Mormons build a new one nearly next door.

  3. Didn’t President Harrison recently send out a financial appeal to help the congregation continue to thrive and worship together, in a different building?

  4. Pastor Harrison, in a pastoral letter, asked everyone in the Synod to financially support ULC MN–an unprecedented request by a Synodical president on behalf of one congregation. You can find his letter here on BJS; I believe it’s on page 2.

  5. Yes, but now people have to actually send financial support, and not just talk about it. It is VERY expensive in this area, so it is going to take sacrificial giving on the part of all confessional Lutherans who care about this matter, and it may require those who are able to do so to put ULC into their own annual family budget. We have.

  6. @Ted Crandall #6
    If an acre of land on the eastern edge of campus is worth $3.5 million to a secular developer, what chance does a congregation w/ ULC’s demographical mix have of buying land w/in walking distance of its student members? I appreciate Pastor Harrison’s words, but if the sale goes through, and the building comes down, I fear for the continuation of W&S ministry to the students of my alma mater.

  7. @Old Time St. John’s #12
    Even were he to authorize Synod to make an offer to the developer for the thin slice of land where the chapel sanctuary proper stands, that would be a huge win.

    @John Rixe #11
    That would be something, but I don’t see $3.5 million being anywhere enough to keep them on campus as anything but Dinkytown store-front renters.

  8. @John Rixe #11

    that the district convention will allocate a substantial portion of the sales proceeds to the ULC property fund

    Yes, and I keep thinking about the 1963 resolution that while the legal title was place with the south district, the property was to continue to serve both districts. Since the property is being replaced by the sale proceeds, shouldn’t the replacement serve both districts? Doesn’t the north district have a claim to part of the proceeds under the resolution?

    I also wonder what the effect would be if the resolution were on the public record.

  9. @T. R. Halvorson #16
    MNS served the MNN students at the U of M Twin Cities Campus from ’63 to today by operating ULC. If the sale goes through, MNS will claim that they are in fact serving ALL the MNN students studying on campuses in MNS through their $120,000 per year salaried traveling campus-ministry consultant. Absolute bologna, but Q.E.D. from their perspective.

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