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Sept. 3, 2020

Three-Church Initiative: A decision for our future

Even as our Lake Nokomis Lutheran Church building has remained closed because of the pandemic, discussions around reimagining our building space have ramped up. 

Our congregation’s Three-Church Team has continued to work closely with representatives from Spirit of St. Stephen’s Catholic Community and Living Table United Church of Christ. We've been digging into details of what a shared campus could look like, how it could function and, most importantly, how such a Spirit-centered partnership could grow our collective impact in God’s world. 

Now it’s time to share those details with all of our LNL members. And to share the Three-Church Team's strong recommendation to approve a resolution to enter into the Building Partnership Agreement. 


We authorize the Lake Nokomis Lutheran Church Council to enter into the Building Partnership Agreement dated Sept. 1, 2020, including these specific actions:
  • Form a joint, nonprofit Building Corporation and join as a member congregation.
  • Transfer the title to the building and parking lot to the Building Corporation.
  • Appoint three members to the Building Corporation Board.
  • Authorize the nonprofit Building Corporation Board to remodel the 5011 31st Avenue building in accord with the Agreement and the Proposed Building Layout.

Information included here:

This information is also available on our website at

Why support the new building partnership?

How is God calling this congregation to ‘be the church’ going forward? 
Can we imagine our faith community filled with renewed energy to live out its mission? 
Are we open to ‘a new thing’ that takes us beyond survival to transformation?

Over the last several years, Three-Church Team representatives have explored the possibility and feasibility of sharing our building space – of entering into a shared building partnership with like-minded congregations. Click here to read more about the history.

Saying ‘yes’ has never been a given, but the careful, prayerful process of discernment has brought the team to that conclusion. Here are just three reasons we enthusiastically recommend that Lake Nokomis Lutheran members approve the resolution.

  1. We can do more together. During planning conversations, we’ve talked about the real potential to leverage our numbers (of both members and leaders) for greater impact in the beloved community. There’s strong interest in learning from each other – and then taking action together. 
  2. This change both honors our rich, 100-year history AND opens doors to renewal. Our church’s legacy of radical welcome, focus on faith formation, service, and more will remain. But if we built our church today, how would our space demonstrate that inclusive welcome to people who don’t know us? What ministries would resonate with the community? Are we making it a priority to listen to new voices and equip new leaders? 
  3. It’s forward-looking stewardship – financially and environmentally. Our congregation will spend less on the building, freeing up our giving resources for current and potential ministries. Emotionally and physically, we can lighten the burden of going it alone, freeing up our energy for mission. Environmentally, it allows three congregations to have one footprint – a value of creation care. 

The partnership arrangement will boldly signal our openness and commitment to being church into the future. In fact, it’s one of the things that appealed to Pastor Sara Spohr about a call from LNL. We’ll share her perspective in more depth once she officially joins us in September.

REFLECTION: What opportunities can you imagine for our congregation as a result of affirming this building partnership?

Process and timeline for the congregational vote

Sept. 3: Special email sent to all LNL members; hard copy mailed to members who don’t have email.

Sept. 9: Join us for Zoom Info Session One, Wednesday, Sept. 9 at 7 p.m. with Three-Church Team members.         

Zoom Link for the Meeting:
            Meeting ID: 892 8536 6889
            Passcode: 846615
            Call-in option: 1 (312) 626 6799

Last half of September (dates to be determined): Watch for an invitation to additional small-group Zoom conversations. A call-in option will be provided. 

End of September or early October (date to be confirmed): Members will vote on the partnership resolution at a special congregational meeting – via Zoom with a call-in option.        

Building Partnership Agreement highlights

  • The three churches would not merge. We would share the building, but have our own worship services, staff, councils and budgets.
  • The building would be owned and operated by a new, nonprofit Building Corporation. 
  • Lake Nokomis Lutheran contributes the building. Spirit Catholic Community and Living Table provide the funds for renovations and improvements. 
  • The building corporation will be governed by a nine-member board made up of three members from each congregation.
  • The board will hire and supervise a building manager.
  • The board will be responsible for managing the charter school lease.

Click here to read the full Building Partnership Agreement for more details. The terms of the agreement will be incorporated into the governing bylaws.

Proposed building renovation highlights

  • Lake Nokomis Lutheran and Spirit Catholic Community will worship in the current sanctuary space, but at different times on Sundays.
  • Living Table will worship in a new, smaller sanctuary located where the family room and nursery are today.
  • In the current sanctuary, chairs will replace pews for greater flexibility. This gives us the opportunity to orient ourselves in a semi-circle, perhaps facing the courtyard for worship – an arrangement that lifts up our desire for community. We imagine a worship space that’s up-to-date, appealing, and welcoming to visitors. Click here to read a reflection on the sanctuary orientation written by LNL member Steve Schou. 
  • Outside of worship times, both sanctuaries will be shared spaces.
  • The back wall of the current sanctuary is moved forward to create a larger gathering space and better traffic flow.
  • Offices will move to the Keewaydin side of the building, where the library and coat room are currently.
  • A smaller nursery and larger library/meeting space will be constructed where offices are currently located. Five unisex bathrooms, some accessible, will replace the existing office area and nursery bathrooms.
  • The current Bethel Room will be converted into space for youth and families.

Click here to review the Proposed Building Layout. Thanks to LNL member Andy Peterson for creating the drawings that help us imagine what is possible. 

Preliminary estimates from several potential contractors show that these changes are financially feasible, although final design details are subject to change.

Updated FAQs and other resources 

Click here to read updated FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) about the agreement. 

Click here to read Congregational Summaries for each of the three-church partners.

Contact a member of the LNL Three-Church Team with your questions:

Prayer for discernment

Let's continue to pray for our congregation and for openness to the Holy Spirit as we discern our path forward. 

Lord God,
you have called your servants 
to ventures of which we cannot see the ending,
by paths as yet untrodden,
through perils unknown.
Give us faith to go out with good courage,
not knowing where we go,
but only that your hand is leading us
and your love supporting us;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. 


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