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Dear Friends,

One of the blessings of being in the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod is that we have the re-sources, company, council, and companionship of a larger church body while also making our own decisions about our own congregation. At our April Voters meeting, on April 21st, we will engage an issue that has lurked around in the background of our congregation for at least the last 10 years. What do we do with our east property? Some of you are very aware of the history around that land and some of you do not even know we own it.

The empty (except for a storage shed) two acre lot that lies to the east of our church property, is owned by Apostles. The land was bought about 30 years ago as part of a dream to eventually build a middle school. However, dynamics, times and needs have changed, and that dream is no longer part of our congregation.

Currently, we use part of that property for overflow parking and occasionally rent it out as a staging area for different construction companies. In the past we have been able to pay the mortgage and maintain the property. The mortgage on the undeveloped property has now come due and we have to refinance it at a higher rate, which will mean higher costs for the undeveloped property. Currently the mortgage note on that property is about $295,000 and is held by the Lutheran Church Extension Fund. With our current resources we cannot afford the
new payments. So the question is what do we do with that piece of property? At our Voters’ Meeting on April 21st we will vote whether or not to put the undeveloped property up for sale. If  we vote to keep that parcel of land we are also committing to finding a way to pay the increased cost. If we vote to put it up for sale we will, of course, at a minimum ask for enough to cover the outstanding debt and costs associated with the sale.

If we sell that undeveloped parcel we are not giving up on our plans for growth. The current buildings and space we have on our developed property are adequate to house a congregation of at least 500 – 600 people, which is nowhere near our current or projected membership. We have nowhere near exhausted the uses of our current building site.

I know the sale or use of that parcel of land has been a contentious issue all the time I have been at this congregation and even before my time as your pastor. I do not want our discussion on April 21st to lead to more division. I would like our discussion on April 21st to lead to healing and realistic plans to move into the future. This is possible if we all remember that Jesus is the one in charge of our congregation. He has our best interest at heart and all the resources we need to carry on the work of our congregation. It is also possible if we love our neighbor as ourselves including the neighbors in our congregation. Please be in prayer about this and come to the Voter’s Assembly meeting on April 21st at 12:30.

Peace, Pastor Andrew