Why ULC? Guest article by Noreen Linke.

I had the privilege of worshipping at University Lutheran Chapel in Minneapolis this past Sunday. ULC is near and dear to my heart, as it is for many of you. As eviction day draws near (April 30) I wanted to be there at that place and share with my brothers and sisters their burden, this cross they are carrying because they are Christ’s Church.  In the sanctuary filled to the brim with young and old, students and families, led by choir and accompanying instruments, the processional hymn rang out in praise to God in that acoustically perfect chapel: The Strife is O’er!  Rev. Bart Day, visiting preacher, spoke God’s word to us in his sermon: Christ commissions His Church and gives them the Keys of the Kingdom.  Pastor Kind chanted the words of institution, the very words of Christ, giving us His Body and Blood:  Agnus Dei.   In this very place, this house of God on the campus of the University of Minnesota, the vision and desire of our LCMS forefathers is fully realized in the proclamation of our Lord’s Word and the distribution of His Body and Blood. Faith is created and sustained.  Students have a HOME, a sanctuary in the local family of faith called University Lutheran Chapel.  It is in full bloom.  In most worlds this would be treasured, even celebrated, not destroyed.

Several different things have been converging in my ears these past few days surrounding my visit to ULC. At a recent Lutheran conference the idea was presented that it is good in our churches to make decisions based on unanimity of mind. We study, we pray, we discuss, and together in one mind, we make decisions for the church.  In a Bible study while discussing the 7th commandment from Luther’s Large Catechism, we were told that what is ethical and what is legal may not be the same thing. Something that is legal to do may not be ethical, and may, in fact, be stealing from our neighbor.   And throughout it all, swirling in my thoughts is the obvious question which so many of us have been asking since last September, WHY?

WHY the rush to sell this faithful, living chapel with which our forefathers would be supremely pleased?  WHY the secrecy?  WHY the stonewalling?  WHY the lies?  WHY executive decision rather than consensus of the entire convention, of the entire Church?  WHY insist on what is legal rather than act ethically in love toward ULC? The answer is there to see for those who are willing to open their eyes to the truth.  What Luther calls stealing from our neighbor, our churchly officials call a legal right.  We now, as church, condone executive privilege over churchly consensus, exercising legal rights over servant-oriented stewardship management.  Justice is not to be found in the churchly governing structures we have accepted, even insisted upon, and the faithful at ULC become living martyrs, carrying their cross, a cross imposed on them by this “machine” of church governance that has lost all godly accountability. In this case of theft of the highest degree, by Luther’s terms, we are met with shrugging shoulders and pithy comments from the very top, “It’s a real shame.”

Lord have mercy!  Lord have mercy on us all!

April 18, 2012

Noreen Lindberg Linke






Why ULC? Guest article by Noreen Linke. — 18 Comments

  1. FYI–The lady at the organ is my sister Carol, on her last regular Sunday as the organist at ULC after over 18 years on that bench. Outside circumstances led her to finally give up the position (not as much to do with the current issue with the MNSD as with her own personal situation). God bless her for her work there….

  2. Thanks Noreen for letting us know about your visit and for keeping this issue alive and for continuing to ask questions.

    Lord have mercy, indeed!

    God’s Blessings,
    Ginny Valleau

  3. Thanks much for the splendid article.

    “Be with us Lord Jesus Christ for evening is now upon us.”

  4. Thank you Noreen for keeping ULC’s plight in view.

    And thank you for being one of a number of voices in the wilderness, calling out to MN South, MN North and Synod, that will not let this lie and be satisfied with pathetic, impotent platitudes of “It’s a real shame.”

  5. I hope somebody video tapes that final service so we too can watch and be with them in spirit.


  6. There’s nothing about post-move plans on the ULC site yet. I’m not asking you to betray any confidences, but does that indicate a legitimate possibility that the congregation may be able to stay past 30 April, or are they in the midst of packing?

  7. Good post! ULC has not only been a great home for U of M area students, but my friends and I from U of M, Morris were blessed to benefit from the retreats there, which provided very rich Christ-centered theology. And guess what… It was relevant! Good theology is always relevant to Lutheran university students who, surrounded by secular humanism, take refuge at the campus ministry.

  8. @Matthew Mills #6
    ULC has been offered to share worship space at a Roman Catholic church two blocks away. They can worship on Sunday afternoon. They can use the kitchen. They can have Wednesday night Bible study/church. I saw a lot of boxes.

  9. LCMS districts are hopelessly corrupt and need to be restructured. This effort should be the new focus of BJS. If restructuring is done properly, then the districts would be forever banned from owning property.

    Are all the deeds of campus religious centers owned by LCMS districts? Why do LCMS congregations own their own property while campus religious centers do not?

  10. Last October was my first visit to ULC in over a decade, and I’m sick to think it will also have been the last time to worship in that beautiful chapel. The small comfort I take is Noreen’s comment that they at least have something to box up and somewhere to move to at least temporarily. So is the MNS letting them take hymnals, etc? I remember the minutes of last fall’s board meeting noted that a motion to let ULC take any contents that would be helpful to their ministry was voted down. That was an action that made it clear to me that the board not only had no concern for the future of ULC’s ministry, but was in fact actively trying to end it if they could. However, did they later relent on at least this point? I’m grasping for any evidence of a Christian heart in the MNS district office and among the board members …

  11. @Noreen Linke #8
    Well, God bless St. Lawrence Catholic Church. They appear to care more about Word and Sacrament Lutheran Ministry to the Students of my alma mater than do the MNS DP and BOD. I am glad that if Dr. Seitz’ Grinchy heart doesn’t grow three sizes before it’s too late, ULC will at least still have a place to worship.

    @Wallenstein #9
    It’s because most congregations buy their own churches. College students don’t have any money, so they are dependent on the adults who are supposed to provide for them. Ironically, the ULC has been very successful at attracting adults and families over the years and was well on its way to independence as a “Town and Gown Ministry” when this was done to them.

    @Steve Gehrke #10
    Not only do Dr. Seitz and his BOD have no concern for the future of ULC’s ministry, but as they are selling prime property at the bottom of the real estate market, they also appear to be bad at collecting mammon as well.
    “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much. If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? And if you have not been faithful in that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own? No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” (Luke 16:10-13)

    Kyrie Eleison+,
    -Matt Mills

  12. Matthew Mills :

    Not only do Dr. Seitz and his BOD have no concern for the future of ULC’s ministry, but as they are selling prime property at the bottom of the real estate market,

    …and investing it in the worst interest rate environment in years as well. No ‘missional’ explanation for their actions is even remotely credible.

  13. @Old Time St. John’s #12

    Absolutely right. Their “model” for funding their “missional” approach is simply laughable in the current interest rate environment. What is more likely is that any funds from the sale will end up being eaten away paying for the new campus ministry facilitator position that is proposed, at a bloated pay rate, adding to an already bloated district administration…

  14. @Former Anglican #17
    A relevant quote for us from that sermon:

    “But you are not called to allow your fellow sheep to suffer, or those who are under your care to suffer. As members of the one flock of Christ, we are to look out for and care for one another, even protect one another from the enemies who attack the flock. Here is not the place for meekness, but for boldness. When you see your fellow Christian under attack you have a duty to rush to their defense, defending their life, their honor, their possessions, their reputation, their position. This is what the second table of the Law is all about in the positive sense of the Law (meaning not what is forbidden, but what is commanded us).”

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