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Tuesday December 12th 2017

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On Sanctuary doors Luther nailed 95 Theses Messiah Congregation “nailed” For Sale sign*

Messiah Church 2501 E. 25th Street. Tops of 700 Car Parking Ramp/Clinics building and 2 Heliports in background
Ben Heath

BY HARVEY WINJE

Five hundred years ago, on October 31, 1517, the priest and scholar, Martin Luther nailed a piece of paper with 95 opinions to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany. It would begin the Protestant Reformation.

One hundred years ago, on June 24, 1917, 9-Year Old Messiah Lutheran Congregation dedicated their new Church building at 2501 East 25th Street, Mpls.

Almost 100 years later, on February 26, 2017, 108-year old Messiah Lutheran Congregation voted to “enter into negotiations to sell that historic church building” by a 31“Yes” to 2 “No” vote giving notice also (on their website) that “we will be updating everyone as the Church Council discerns how to move forward.”

The future of this historic building of worship remains uncertain. It is not clear if or how the building is being marketed. Apparently, a previous offer from Children’s MN Hospital was contingent on it being demolished by the Congregation to avert the severe criticism of Children’s MN for their demolition of almost the entire block ten years ago.

The Messiah Congregation moved to 2400 Park Avenue in 2008 and rents the 100 year-old building to Emmanuel Mennonite Church and Centro Nueva Vida Iglesia Apostolica.

Nine months ago, on June 21, 2016, the Minneapolis Heritage Preservation Commission unanimously approved Commissioner Sue Hunter Weir’s nomination of Messiah Evangelical Lutheran Church located at 2501 Columbus Avenue South, as a Landmark, established interim protection, and directed the Planning Director to have a designation study prepared.

A Designation Study outlines the potential significance of a property, both individually and within the context of Minneapolis planning and heritage preservation goals. Studies are based on a review of resources including historic building permits, unpublished histories and documents, newspaper articles, and archival materials from the Minneapolis Collection of the Hennepin County Library and Minnesota Historical Society.

The Heritage Preservation Commission may vote on the church’s status as a landmark before June 21, 2017, but has the option of requesting an extension of up to six months to complete the review. Ultimately the decision will be up to the City Council.

*“For Sale Sign” is a metaphor as used here because the Congregation’s decision on the building’s future is “to enter into negotiations.”

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