iab-728x90

The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

iab-728x90

More than maintenance

Church's subterranean workshop calls men to ministry

The opportunity could so easily have been missed.

In 2004, First Lutheran Church, Sioux Falls, S.D., undertook an ambitious project to construct a “campus for Christ” on its downtown property. This involved remodeling and a major addition to the congregation’s education building. It also included a new atrium between the education wing and the main building.

That atrium sparked the idea. To install supports for the atrium, builders had to excavate and refill the hole. But Herb Mikkelson, then head of the building committee, had another idea. He determined that for about the same cost a concrete floor could be poured at the bottom of the hole and the space, slightly below basement level, could be used by the congregation.

At First Lutheran, Sioux Falls, S.D., a church woodshop has not only saved the church thousands of dollars but given some men a new sense of ministry.
At First Lutheran, Sioux Falls, S.D., a church woodshop has not only saved the church thousands of dollars but given some men a new sense of ministry. Here, Norm Ekeland cuts wood while Elmer Sorensen (back, left), Ron Erkes and Larry Anderson work on other projects.
Specifically, he and others he brought in on the scheme envisioned a subterranean workshop. And so it is that today a small band of (mostly) retired men staff, equip and maintain a fully functioning shop from which they provide woodworking, painting, building and repairs around the church and beyond.

“This is a working maintenance shop,” said Elmer Sorensen, one of the shop’s dream team. “We help the custodians with general maintenance. We did lots of the remodeling work [during the renovation].”

“Here in the friendship room, for instance,” chimed in another member, referring to where the men meet for coffee. The group’s only rule is that everything stops for a 10 a.m. coffee break.

“We redid the reception room,” added another.

“The usher’s room.”

“The youth room.”


The rest of this article is only available to subscribers.

text size:

this page: email | print

iab-728x90
November issue

NOVEMBER issue:

The ELCA's aging clergy wave

More...