|Congregation Description:||Redeemer Congregation offers a rich context for learning and celebration of the church in an urban congregation that connects globally. Redeemer is a 103 year old Lutheran congregation celebrating its Lutheran identity in a diverse Minneapolis context. The ministry at Redeemer engages students from Augsburg College, Luther Seminary and Bethel Seminary. In partnership with the non-profit Redeemer Center for Life, college and seminary students are involved in youth and neighborhood outreach, innovative worship, community organizing, mission outreach, neighborhood development and anti-racism training. |
Additionally students benefit from the mentorship of supervising pastor, Kelly Chatman. "PK" has served as pastor at Redeemer for 12 years and is a recognized leader in both church and community.
In 1998 Redeemer Lutheran Church, a congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in American established a not-for-profit agency, Redeemer Center for Life, Inc. This decision was in response to the significant challenges within the north Minneapolis Harrison Neighborhood. To determine the best avenue to address challenges, the Redeemer Lutheran Church, a neighborhood church, embarked on a survey of the neighborhood to establish a sense of safety and belonging where families live and raise children. The three main areas identified through the survey were affordable housing, after-school programs and jobs.
Current Census defines the neighborhood demographics as follows:
Ethnicity and Age:
48% of the residents are African American
13% are Southeast Asian (a 50% decrease in the past three years due to home foreclosures)
25% are White
57% of neighborhood residents are below age of 18
65% of residents rent their homes and the population of the Harrison Neighborhood has grown 21% in 10 years with no increase in housing units.
Median family income is $21,314
63% of residents under the age of 18 live in poverty
Head of Household:
61% of head of households are women
2000 - present, Redeemer/Redeemer Center for Life have offered both a housing/retail complex and the after-school program providing successful outreach in the neighborhood. Redeemer After-school Program (RAP) provides a learning environment that offers structure, safety, belonging and the educational tools to increase success for in school, community and in life. In 2002, Redeemer birthed the Harambee program to respond to the concentration of Black children and families whose lives are impacted by foster care, kinship and adoption. In 2004, Redeemer birthed Hip Hop Enterprise as an outreach to youth culture and address health disparities among children and youth in the Harrison Neighborhood. The Redeemer After-school Program (RAP), offers educational and experiential health-based programming to children in grades 2-6 and a daily nutritious meal; JUMP, a monthly hip hop worship service that draws 200-300 children and youth; music and video production, encouraging positive self-expression and mastery of technical skills; The use of hip hop at Redeemer has reignited involvement of African American and other neighborhood youth. Building on the experience of Hip Hops success, Hip Hop Enterprise invites Hip Hop music and culture to promote spiritual health and positive self-expression among a youth with limited experience with the church.
Redeemer Congregation is experiencing a time of growth and transition. The ministries now encompass an entire city block. The congregation is growing and the ministry is a hub for social and religious activities. Since 2002, Redeemer has hosted an annual neighborhood block party with more than 500 in attendance. The congregation and non-profit offers a busy schedule of activities that include a dance studio, recording studio and neighborhood living room space. The congregation is a model for transformative leadership as congregation members, neighborhood residents, youth, seminary and college students come together as witness to the transforming power of relationship.
In 2008, after seven years Pastor Kelly Chatman stepped down from the duel role serving as both pastor at Redeemer and director for Redeemer Center for Life. Marilu Thomas, a 2009 Luther Seminary graduate, now serves as the executive director for RCFL. Marilu also obtained her Masters of social work degree from Augsburg College.
Worship at Redeemer is spirited and highly relational. The Sunday worship begins with time of Prayer and Praise from 10:00 a.m. to 10:30. At 10:30, the worship liturgy begins with the processional utilizing the Far by Faith and Evangelical Lutheran Worship hymnals resources.
This is a time of hope and excitement at Redeemer as the congregation is an amazing cross section of people who gather to celebrate their love for God. The congregation is un-apologetically relational. During the worship service when the congregation passes the Peace it can easily take ten minutes as people move freely about the congregation. The membership is almost evenly Black and White. The pews are filled with people who have no degrees as well as people with terminal degrees. Lay leadership is strong and significant number of the members have lived in other parts of the world. Young people are versed in hip hop and Redeemer has a hip hop worship team and the youth ministry at Redeemer is inclusive and rooted in urban identity.
A new focus at Redeemer is the Glenwood Project, building a a new duplex to house six seminary and Augsburg College students. The house is immediately across from Redeemer and the goal is to engage current students in meaningful ministry with community as a complement to classroom learning. You can read about the 2012 July publication of the Metro Lutheran.
|Congregation Keywords:||urban, innovative, asset based, relational, youth, team, multicultural, community organizing, community development, leadership, music, mission partnerships, contextual learning|