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Mission Possible

When three historic congregations from three denominations decided to let go of building space in Minneapolis that was holding them back to enter into a shared building ownership agreement, they were nervous. How will this work? Can we be in covenant together and retain what is unique about our congregations and our traditions?

When all was said and done, their courage and foresight freed them to let go of space that was underused and draining their resources, so they could invest in renovating and inhabiting one building that serves their now energized and growing ministries.

SpringHouse signFirst Christian Church of Minneapolis, Salem English Lutheran Church and Lyndale United Church of Christ went from a building footprint of 125,000 square feet to total usage space of 20,602 square feet under the roof of the original Lutheran church, now called SpringHouse Ministry Center. The three congregations entered into an agreement within which each church owns one-third of the land and extensively renovated facility, with life together guided by a covenant written by all three churches. They rotate their worship space and share fellowship, children’s, meeting, administrative spaces, and even a baptistry. But, it’s not just congregational shared space – SpringHouse Ministry Center opens its doors to community organizations every day of the week, everyone from arts groups to yoga classes to recovery organizations. All this with each congregation contributing less than $30,000 toward SpringHouse’s annual operating expenses of approximately $100,000!

With the help of a short-term bridge loan from Disciples Church Extension Fund (DCEF), First Christian Church Minneapolis and partners were able to realize the renovation of what is now their fully “green” building. Of her congregation’s partnership with DCEF, First Christian’s Pastor Laurie Feille says,

“We just love DCEF! You all get building issues and are so cutting edge on this for the whole Church.”

And, speaking to First Christian Church’s successful relationship with their Lutheran and UCC partners, she says,

“We have no plans to merge. We are three congregations who celebrate our differences and live into our differences. We share our resources. We do some ministry together. We laugh together. We grieve together. We believe in the unity found in Christ.”

For more information about DCEF’s work with SpringHouse Ministry Center or DCEF’s building planning and loan services, visit, email or call 800.274.1883.

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