To Commend and Support LCMS Campus Ministry, Particularly At the University of Minnesota

WHEREAS, our forebears in the faith built strategically located Chapels to conduct Word and Sacrament ministry at major college campuses across our country, and to promote Lutheran Christian evangelism among students and  community members; and

WHEREAS, ministries at these Chapels are a refuge and a help to Lutheran and other Christian college students, many of whom are away from home for the first time, and to others who are brought to faith in our gracious God in that context; and

WHEREAS, these ministries serve students from all over the country and from international locations as well, and thus their ministries are a service to the Synod at large and indeed to the Church as a whole; and

WHEREAS, one such active congregation, University Lutheran Chapel in Minneapolis, MN, serves one of the biggest public universities in the country, provides a vibrant town/gown ministry, has been the source of dozens of pastoral and diaconal students for service in our Synod, and has provided leadership in theological studies that have been helpful to many other congregations; and

WHEREAS, this faithful congregation’s strategically located campus church home was sold by the MNS BOD for demolition by a developer who paid $3,250,000 for it; and

WHEREAS, the congregation was left without a church building; and

WHEREAS, although the MNS BOD did not provide any funds for the continuation of this congregation, the MNS district in convention granted the congregation part of the proceeds ($2,000,000) from the final sale price of $3,250,000 ; and

WHEREAS, on-campus property is extremely expensive, but campus ministry effectiveness is immeasurably assisted by the presence of such a church location; therefore be it

Resolved, that the LCMS thank the congregation and pastor of University Lutheran Chapel–Minneapolis for their service to our students and to the broader Church; and be it further

Resolved, that the LCMS grant this congregation $1,250,000 to assist them in building a replacement campus chapel and to more justly compensate them for their loss; and be it further

Resolved, that the LCMS express our thanks to God and to all of the campus congregations and pastors of the Synod for their service to the Church, and particularly for their service to students who are blessed to attend universities which have them; and be it finally

Resolved, that the LCMS encourage the title holders of existing campus ministry Chapels to regard these properties as sacred trusts on behalf of the Church at large, and to retain them for posterity, to the glory of God.

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, LCMSsermons.com, 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 KNFA.net.

Comments

To Commend and Support LCMS Campus Ministry, Particularly At the University of Minnesota — 26 Comments

  1. You absolutely have to be kidding.

    I’ve heard that there are pastors’ families, who are receiving welfare. I know several on candidate status, faithful shepherds, who are struggling financially.

    And you want to give over a million dollars to ONE congregation?

    Did you vote for Obama a second time as well?

    The time of district and synodical largess is O.V.E.R. No one has money now. Get used to it. Congregational, district, and synodical budgets are shrinking.

  2. Robert :
    You absolutely have to be kidding.
    I’ve heard that there are pastors’ families, who are receiving welfare. I know several on candidate status, faithful shepherds, who are struggling financially.
    And you want to give over a million dollars to ONE congregation?
    Did you vote for Obama a second time as well?
    The time of district and synodical largess is O.V.E.R. No one has money now. Get used to it. Congregational, district, and synodical budgets are shrinking.

    So are the non-pastoral district and synod staff shrinking as well? The district cannibalized the ULC building of which they were supposed to be stewards. So, like where did the money go? Did it go to salaries for staff not serving in parish ministries? I don’t know. I am not accusing, just asking. It appears that Pastor Kind is continuing his work, but what ministry work is being done with the money the district got from the sale? Is there another campus pastor duplicating the efforts of Pastor Kind and supported with the funds from the sale?

  3. Here is the Minnesota south district site map and I can only find the Campus ministry at Mankato. There is nothing about U of Minnesota. There is a link to some materials but it is all planning and theoretical stuff.

    http://mns.lcms.org/LinksSiteMap/tabid/56/Default.aspx

    The only other item is a form to print and send to the district office. I am guessing not too many college students or their families are going to be tracking that form down and sending it in via snail mail.

    http://mns.lcms.org/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=M-mQ2Q2NpGY%3d&tabid=166&mid=634

  4. @Robert #1

    No he’s not kidding. ULC’s building was stolen from them, plain and simple. Giving them that money would simply help them replace the object of the theft.

    You speak of ending largess–Mrs. Hume asked a good question. Where do you think that money went, what was it used for? It certainly wasn’t used to support gospel preaching in our district. Those guilty of largess are those guilty of the theft.

    And as an LCMS campus ministry alum (UND, though I went to one or two study weekends at ULC) I’m very much in favor of this.

  5. @Robert #1
    Discussions regarding salutary use of money for ULC in Minneapolis has appeared on here before. Of course, it’s well-worth pursuing. Too much of our synodical, inc. and district funds go toward heterodox efforts such as The Alley and other Evangelical Free imitators. I agree with the respondent who said that ULC was robbed of its funding.

    This issue, among others, reemphasizes the recognition that we in the LCMS have a real problem with ecclesiastical supervision and have let the financial beaurocrats make decisions that are sometimes harmful to the spread of the Gospel.

    For a further discussion of why proper ecclesiastical supervision must be addressed in the LCMS, take a look at the documents on http://www.acelc.net.

  6. @Robert #1
    I know several on candidate status, faithful shepherds, who are struggling financially.

    Oh, that must be all their own fault, Robert!
    [Someone on here said so, (with no evidence).]

    SARCASM mode off now.

    @Mrs. Hume #4
    Here is the Minnesota south district site map and I can only find the Campus ministry at Mankato. There is nothing about U of Minnesota.

    I would imagine you should look for ULC under independent congregations. As far as MN So is concerned, they don’t have a campus ministry. ULC will have to find the students themselves.

    @Mrs. Hume #2
    So are the non-pastoral district and staff shrinking as well?

    Oh, Mrs. Hume! Now you are being sarcastic! 🙂

  7. The Minnesota South district said they sold the property to fund campus ministry, right? Okay, well what are they doing? I mean, how are they serving the students at the Univ. of Minnesota? If they aren’t supporting the congregation where Pr. Kind is serving, then what are they doing?

    Anyway, from the documents on the MNS website, it looks like ULC cost the district less than Mankato’s ministry. Does Mankato have nothing to sell, and too few supporting parishioners to continue if the district withdrew all support? I am not suggesting cannibalizing Mankato. I just wonder why they wanted to support it but not ULC, or maybe they don’t and it is being cut in some way also.

    http://mns.lcms.org/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=NW4oveke-0Q%3d&tabid=206&mid=791

    Also, why is there no 2012 budget?

    Where is the report on the “expansion/multiplication of Campus Ministries throughout the District” that the MNS district Campus Ministry Plan lays out? Are they actually executing the plan? If so, how would one find out? It is not on the district’s pages. On the Campus Ministry Materials page there are only documents about plans and visions. There are no links to any actual campus ministries.

    http://mns.lcms.org/MissionInformation/CampusMinistryMaterials/tabid/206/Default.aspx

  8. Some wonder what the district office does with the money, I wonder what the office does with their time. In my opinion, the district officers should all be parish pastors with no salary from the district.

  9. @Mrs. Hume #8

    Last I heard was tha tMankato was to be sold to the ultra-contemporary congregation in town for $900,000. Conceivably to get everything off the books and support of district. Philosophically I think it was a good match for worship and theology. I think there is one (maybe two?) other LC-MS congregations in Mankato, which is liturgical but small. I can search the synodical website and ferret out some stuff. But yeah, the think the district is still messed up, not getting all their reports out, etc. And after Dolan asked for and receive an additional slight discount, 2 mil to ULC, the district was lucky to barely get 1 mill out of the whole deal. So they do not have anywhere near the funding they wanted to pull off their grandiose (ridiculous, IMO) campus ministry plan. Now that they are pretty much done doing all the damage they can to ULC, I am too cynical to believe they will move forward with campus ministry.

  10. @11 So, there are no winners? They have these visions and plans but all they are doing is cannibalizing and defunding the ministries that they say they are expanding and multiplying?
    Up = down? less = more? I don’t get it.

  11. Had ULC been taken out by a tornado or an arsonist there would have been a huge article with lots of glossy photos in the Lutheran Witness complete with the info for how to send them money for reconstruction. There would have been Thrivent matching funds, and CEF money available, and the ground-breaking would have been months ago. As it was a clear case of un-repented sinful fratricide that brought their chapel down, that never happened. (Not that it couldn’t have happened, but a decision was obviously made NOT to publicize the destruction of my campus chapel through the Synod’s media outlets, and no broad, synod-wide, appeal was made outside of the Confessional blogosphere.)

    I know it’s probably early, but once they get their ducks in a row I would like to see ULC’s plans for rebuilding widely published. I’m heartened by the fact that they have property on the campus, but I’d like to see their plan. Are they going to eventually build a chapel on the property they own? Do they have enough land to add a chapel there? Do they need additional land? How much money do they need, and have they broken their plan down into stages that BJS could publicize and track?

    The real shame is that Confessional support for ULC may end up being a flash in the pan if there’s no way to publicize their plans, needs and progress. This resolution would give the Synod the ability to “pay off” ULC for their lack of support, when a strong public show of public support could have made a difference, but it’s not enough on its own.

    Pax Christi+,
    -Matt Mills

  12. The Texas district is doing the same thing. The Lutheran center has been surrounded by UT dorms, so this appears as shortsighted as ULC-MN. [But it’s no doubt raised the property value.]

    The “campus minister” for lcmess is an Alley wannabe who plans to have a campus program without a Lutheran center, as I understand it. (“Have guitar, will travel”) ?

    @Mrs. Hume #12
    So, there are no winners?

    Doesn’t look like it has district interest, does it!? The “young people” we supposedly worry about losing aren’t profitable, short term! 🙁

    I’m told that Christ on Campus, the college version of Higher Things, is getting underway at UT. I hope that grows!

  13. @Jason #11

    According to the MNS BoD unapproved minutes of Sept 11, 2012, (page 5), a resolution (in line with the June 14-16, 2012 decision of the district in convention) was passed to authorize the district treasurer to execute a purchase agreement with Hosanna Lutheran Church, Mankato for the sale of the Campus Lutheran Chapel property in Mankato for $500,000. I believe the sale has been completed.

    At a BoD retreat on Sept 10, 2012 for the 2012-2015 triennium, a prioritized list of 11 ‘initiatives’ was passed by the BOD (there is no specific campus ministry initiative)…

    1. Providing administrative services for schools (early childhood, elementary, secondary) and their supporting congregations
    2. Using Biblical Transformational Processes to Align Leaders with God’s Mission
    3. Facilitating growth in concord and harmony among pastors in our district
    4. Assisting Congregations in Developing New Starts and New Ministries to Gain New Believers
    5. Raising Congregational and Public Awareness of God’s Mission in MNS
    6. Holding leaders accountable for God-pleasing professional conduct
    7. Promoting the Spiritual, Emotional, Physical and Professional Development of Leaders Involved in God’s Mission
    8. Implementing New Ways and Means for Funding God’s Mission
    9. Facilitating an efficient call process effective for God’s mission
    10. Preparing and Equipping Leaders and Congregations to Further God’s Mission By Finishing Their Ministries Well
    11. Celebrating Our Growing Unity Around God’s Mission

    The rest of the minutes are worth reading as well.

    http://mns.lcms.org/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=C_lZpqUke0E%3d&tabid=59&mid=809

    The MNS BoD also met early in Dec 2012, but no minutes have been posted the the MNS website yet.

  14. @Former Anglican #15

    So the district has even less, in that $500k instead of $900k, and no specific plans for campus ministry. What about discussion of the district coordinator? I read hints (which have since disappeared from websites) about Monte Meyer leading the charge. But he is in effect no longer a district employee, but now under the auspices of Hosanna. (which is the congregation I refered to earlier) So things are looking a little messy and a lot less funded. My impression is this Campus Ministry plan is DOA.

  15. It is very impressive to me that ULCMN has evidenced their ongoing commitment to campus ministry despite the destruction of their church home and campus center. I imagine that they could have purchased property some distance away from campus at far cheaper rates than on campus property and simply hunkered down and continued to be an excellent, exemplary congregation but given up the on campus presence and focus. However, according to their website, rather than leaving the campus, in December they purchased an old sorority house property less than 2 blocks from their demolished Chapel, and have published information indicating that they are already hosting campus ministry events there, the very next month. This is a tremendously faithful stance.

    Campus ministry serves the entire Synod. Often children attend college in distant states, and thus are away from home for the first time there. The presence of strong, Lutheran campus ministries for them is crucial, and as the mother of a 16 year old, very aware of the faith issues on university campuses, I am more grateful than ever for ULC’s faithfulness in continuing to serve the local campus community under the most challenging of circumstances, and for other campus ministries that do the same, nationwide.

  16. @Robert #1
    It is amusing that Robert chose to use the word ‘largess’ to describe the provision of funds from Districts and Synod.

    According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, largess (largesse) is defined as:

    “Definition of LARGESSE
    1: liberal giving (as of money) to or as if to an inferior; also : something so given
    2: generosity ”

    Dictionary.com’s entry is:

    “lar•gess [lahr-jes, lahr-jis]
    noun
    1. generous bestowal of gifts.
    2. the gift or gifts, as of money, so bestowed.
    3. Obsolete . generosity; liberality. ”

    I would suggest that in the case of MNS there was certainly no generosity or liberal giving of gifts to ULC. Quite the contrary. Over recent years, as documented by ULC, MNS dramatically reduced the limited agreed upon funds the district provided to support ULC – keep in mind that as a campus mission at the U of MN Twin Cities, ULC serves all of MNS and beyond. Thank the Lord that ULC in recent years has become more and more self-sufficient (while occupying a fully paid for property constructed for the purpose of campus ministry – the building that was sold and razed to the ground). Now, due to the misguided and spiteful plans of a former district president, ULC needs help to reestablish itself physically on the U of MN campus.

    There was a clear desire to see the casting out and destruction of this congregation at the direction of the former DP. It seems the desire was to get this all done outside of the supervision of the District in Convention, with a laughable pittance to assist in relocation. Thank the Lord that the District Convention acted to help ULC.
    ULC is a vibrant, thriving campus congregation, one that is clearly a model for other campus missions. The former DP had a personal agenda to see ULC cast out on to the street. At the convention his fury and frustration that his designs and plans were thwarted was almost palpable. But he was justly defeated. Thank the Lord that He continues to watch over ULC, however, property on and near the campus of the U of MN Twin Cities is very expensive and ULC needs additional help to secure a long-term physical worship presence on campus.

  17. @Matthew Mills #13
    Matt,

    I do not think it would be revealing too much to refer you to the following web page, which tells of ULC’s announced intentions:

    http://www.saveulc.org/

    To quote the page:

    “We (“That is ULC) hope to build a chapel on campus next to the house, and have already started to have plans drawn up. In order to make this hope a reality ULC needs to raise an estimated $1.6 million. Please help if you are able by donating through this website, or mailing a donation to ULC.”

    Anything else, and I will just refer you to the members of ULC itself to comment…..

  18. @Rahn Hasbargen #20
    Thanks! This is exactly the sort of thing I’d like to see expanded and publicized. not just here amongst “the choir” but officially through Synod channels. (Again, like it would have been already had it been a tornado or arsonist that had destroyed my old campus chapel.) I hope it looks a lot like the one that was taken from them by a show of right, but I trust Pr. Kind and his congregation to use their resources wisely and beautifully to the Glory of God.

    Cheers,
    -Matt Mills, ULC ‘85

  19. Matthew Mills :
    (Not that it couldn’t have happened, but a decision was obviously made NOT to publicize the destruction of my campus chapel through the Synod’s media outlets, and no broad, synod-wide, appeal was made outside of the Confessional blogosphere.)

    Matt, this is simply not true.

    While you and many may wish that President Harrison had done more, or perhaps had done some things differently, please remember the following:

    1. President Harrison sent out the following letter, not only on the Synod’s WMLT blog but also as an e-mail blast to the entire Synod, in which he, among other things, DIRECTLY encouraged people to support ULC with their donations:

    http://wmltblog.org/2011/10/pastoral-letter-regarding-campus-ministry/

    Unless I am mistaken this was a fairly unprecedented public action by a POTS on behalf of any single LCMS congregation.

    2. President Harrison’s presence and statements at the MNS District Convention were certainly, at least in part, helpful in moving the Convention to give ULC the $2 million from the sale to help with their relocation expenses.

    Look, I have been an ally and supporter of campus ministry in general, and ULC in specific, for many, many years. Campus ministry is in my blood. It is my complete passion and vocational focus. The damage inflicted upon ULC still grieves me on many levels, as do the unfortunate situations in many other campus ministry locations. I join all of you in praying that ULC gets all the support they can and I will continue to do everything I possibly can to help them, and any and all campus ministries who need similar support.

    But I encourage everyone to give credit where credit is due.

    While it may not seem like it to some of you because the wounds regarding ULC are still fresh and deep, you need to know that President Harrison and others at the Synod like Pastor Bart Day have done more to directly support campus ministry in the LCMS since they have been in office than any administration in my lifetime. And it’s not even close.

    Evidence of that includes the recently concluded UNWRAPPED Conference, which was the largest such gathering for LCMS college students in some 45 years, the launching of http://lcms.org/LCMSU, and the confidence that the President and others have placed in people like me, and my two assistant coordinators, Pastor Ian Pacey and Pastor Jay Winters, to develop the campus ministry support system that is so sorely needed.

    As a full time campus pastor and the Coordinator for Campus Ministry for the Synod, I think I can say on behalf of everyone in campus ministry that we welcome any and all overtures of support for campus ministry going forward. We would love to see countless such signs of support and encouragement.

    My sincere thanks to everyone for their continued support of ULC, all of us engaged in campus ministry, and our bold new synodical initiative to support it going forward, http://lcms.org/LCMSU.

  20. @Marcus Zill #22
    Dear Pastor Zill,

    My mom doesn’t read posts on the WMT Blog or go to conferences or conventions (except for a few LWML events) and there are a lot of faithful Lutherans, just like her, that might have stood up for ULC. She does read the LW though, and if there’s a church destroyed by a tornado or arsonist, she knows about it.

    I acknowledge and thank Pastors Harrison and Day for all they did, and are doing, for ULC. But, there is a difference between actions and statements that reach clergy and the subset of active and informed laity on one hand, and actions and statements designed to reach the greater majority of LC-MS parishioners on the other. This fight was a big deal for the combatants (and I include Pastors Harrison and Day in that category) it was fought hard, but it was fought in the dark. It was an insiders’ fight, and there are a lot of folks in the synod at large that never knew it was happening.

    That decision is behind us, and that phase is over. As ULC puts together a plan to go forward and rebuild though, I would ask those w/ the power to do so to let in the light. Put Pr. Kind and his faithful congregation on the front cover of the LW; put the architectural drawings in the article w/ info on how to support their efforts (and campus ministry in general.) It’s what we would do for a congregation that had lost their sanctuary in a less theologically divisive way, and the practical effect for ULC is the same.

    Pax Christi+,
    -Matt Mills

  21. @Matthew Mills #13
    @Matthew Mills #21

    Matt:

    What you are looking for regarding ULC’s plans are partly addressed by what Rahn shared and linked to. There is much for ULC to consider, review, plan and prepare. Keep in mind that the purchase of the former sorority house was a first step (and consumed the time and energy of those involved). But it has, so to speak, given us a beachhead on the campus of the U of MN Twin Cities.

    Rest assured that when the time is right, ULC will be public in its communication and specific in its need regarding the next steps in the journey to re-establish worship space and presence on the campus.

    In the meantime, keep us in your prayers and check in with our website(s):

    + http://ulcmn.org/
    + http://buildulc.org/

    Oliver Young
    Elder
    ULC MN

  22. @Matthew Mills #23

    Matthew is totally correct.  For ordinary laymen the Lutheran Witness is about the only means of finding out about such issues.  I also am an alumnus, and I would never gave known about ULC’s situation had I not stumbled upon BJS.  BJS provided a tremendous service here, but few ordinary laymen are connected.

    John
    ULC ’61

  23. @John Rixe #25

    When St Louis wanted to emphasize the need for some money to get past the districts to the IC, an envelope was stapled into LW which was sent directly to the IC. An issue on Campus outreach, with a similar envelope, would reach some of the people who don’t use the internet. (Many don’t subscribe to LW either, unfortunately, including whole congregations which do not have a history of mission giving.)

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