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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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From popcorn to peace

Congregation's youth ministry serves up safety, belonging

When the Popcorn Palace went out of business in the Harrison neighborhood of north Minneapolis, people thought Redeemer Lutheran Church might somehow get involved. Kelly Chatman, Redeemer's pastor, thought so too. The quality equipment and colorful space were simply too good to waste. Renamed the “Peace Palace,” the popcorn business became Redeemer's youth outreach center.

Chatman says the neighborhood has rich assets of people and diversity. At the same time, it has liabilities: young people and adults who fear each other, and youth with too much time on their hands.

At the Peace Palace, Redeemer's youth and adults volunteer together on the popcorn project and provide hospitality. Light pours in from the windows facing the street, and decorations include children's art and greeting cards they've made to sell. In keeping with its name, the Peace Palace's goal is to be a safe place. "Safety and belonging — that's our mantra," Chatman says.


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