By Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield

DONATE: Click here to donate to Gethsemane Lutheran

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The timing of this deep freeze couldn’t be worse for a Twin Cities church.

It’s icy cold inside the sanctuary of Gethsemane Lutheran Church in north Minneapolis, where the boiler went out. The church houses both a day care center and a food ministry that feeds thousands each month. But that could soon all change.

This church feeds more than 4,000 a month through their food shelf and free warm meals. Tonight’s special: homemade chicken noodle soup.

But just like many of the people they serve, this church has fallen on tough times too.

Gethsemane Lutheran has deep roots in north Minneapolis.

“125 years of being a neighborhood congregation,” Pastor Jeff Nehrbass said.

But it’s not clear how much longer they’ll be here.

“We need a miracle,” Nehrbass said.

Pastor Nehrbass explained their plight from the frigid hand built pews.

“It’s cold,” Nehrbass said.

In 2016, the church started running a day care after hearing neighbors talk of the great need for quality affordable child care.

Soon after a flood wiped the center out. They rebounded and then the heat went out.

“Unless we can repair our boiler that we can’t keep our day care open because it’s not warm enough for the kids to be in the day care. So we’re scrambling,” Nehrbass said.

The day care is the main money source for the church and their food shelf, which serves hundreds of people a week.

Joyce Turner used to be one of them.

“There was a period of time where we were pretty much down to nothing,” Turner said.

Now she’s on the other side of the receiving line thanks to a church and food shelf that could soon have to close completely.

“Yes, we definitely need to stay open. We need to keep going. Because without this, there’s lots of people that are not going to be fed,” Turner said.

The pastor says they need $50,000. Until then they’ll keep going on a wing and a prayer.

“We believe if God wants us here, God will find a way,” Nehrbass said.

Another thing making the situation here so tricky: the cold months. January and February are the moments when people most need food.

Owens Air Conditioning & Heating made a donation to the church and give them a loan. They are hoping a GoFundMe will help them come up with the rest of the money they need.

If you’d like to help the people here keep serving, click here.

Comments
  1. I know many historic churches in North Minneapolis are in the same situation . . . I know many of them are trying to stay open by using creative ideas to use the building to help the community! River of Life church on Fremont and Emerson are facing the same financial burdens. The cost to maintain and repair these churches is a big challenge!!! I read about a church in Denver Colorado that was having the same financial issues . . . they came up with an idea to open the church building during the week to those who are maybe self employed or need a “work station” to print, copy etc. This way the church can still be open for services and the community during the weekend and open during the week for business.

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