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River of Life Lutheran Church

Address:2200 Fremont Ave North
Phone:(612) 521-7655
Baptized Membership:325
Confirmed Membership:274
Average Sunday Attendance:75
Paid Staff:Pastor (FT)
African and Anglo Choir directors (PT)
Office Manager (PT)
Access to Public Transit:Accessible by Metro Bus. Route 5 runs right past the church, and other routes run on nearby West Broadway
Congregation Description:To be a part of River of Life is to be cross-cultural. Our congregation is a 9 year old consolidation of what were, in their time, two of the flagship churches of north Minneapolis. One of the congregations had a population of Liberian members at consolidation, which has expanded into the majority of our population as River of Life. Elderly members of Scandinavian descent, multi-generational and multi-racial families and Liberian families have made an intentional choice to be one. They have resisted all suggestions to have separate worship services, and our current worship is a blend of traditions and musical styles with some unique elements. Our children and youth are navigating at least two different cultures all the time: their urban context in north Minneapolis or nearby first ring suburbs, and the culture of their heritage.

Worship is central to our life together, and is a time for music, sharing what is going on in our lives, teaching, preaching and sacred rites. We have one worship service on Sunday at 10 am, which may last an hour and 15-20 minutes. The liturgy is recognizable as a North American traditional liturgy, with spontaneous prayer and praise elements that are more from African-American and African traditions mixed in. We also attempt to balance less formal elements with higher church elements on festival days. Children are an integral part of the congregational life. Sunday School happens in one group during the sermon time; children practice singing, drumming, reinforce the Gospel story for the day, learn about the Church, and bond with each other. In the 2012-2013 school year we are following the narrative lectionary.

Confirmation is held collaboratively with Christ English Lutheran Church and Salem Lutheran Church, on the 2nd Sunday of the month; the curriculum is a field-trip based model: one year of Bible and one of catechism.

Finally, we have outreach opportunities through organizations that share our space: Youth Enterprises, which teaches urban youth to make t-shirts and Loaves and Fishes, which serves a meal from our kitchen every weeknight. We are strengthening these partnerships all the time.
Congregation Keywords:multi-cultural, immigrant, African

Mentor Pastor: Lee Ann Pomrenke

Phone:(612) 521-7655
Years in Ordained Ministry:7
Years in Current Position:3.5
Previous Students Supervised:2
Autobiography:River of Life is my second call, and a very good fit for my passions and personality. I trained (youth & family internship) in an urban, primarily African-American congregation. My year-long pastoral internship was in rural NE Montana, and my first call was in suburban northern Virginia. Needless to say, I appreciate variety. In early 2008 my husband (a family medicine doc) and I spent 2 months in eastern Africa, and someday hope to return permanently. Now I am serving a little slice of Africa in America, navigating cross-cultural relationships and exercising what has always been a strength of mine: flexibility. I am aware of the limitations of my own cultural background, and seek to raise up leadership that resembles more the diverse membership of River of Life.

I love to preach and gravitate towards continuing education that allows me to network and hear great stories. I like when people verbally respond to sermons, and when the music makes us move and even clap. I am involved in my own neighborhood block club and "Restorative Justice" work in my neighborhood in east St. Paul. To me, all of the groups who share our space are opportunities for so much multiplied ministry. I am energized by the challenge and opportunity! I very much enjoy being outdoors, meeting new people and hearing children laugh.