Fearless and Faithful
Capital Campaign

TRANSFORMING THE BUILDING

Redeemer’s 100-year-old Gothic Revival sanctuary, burnished from loving use, is significant historically and architecturally, but in need of significant repair. The 70-year-old outreach (west) wing, after decades of intensive use, is worn beyond economic repair, save for its sturdy brick walls. Redeemer plans to transform its buildings and, thereby, empower its mission in two phases:

  1. Sanctuary PreservationOne phase of the capital project will address the deferred maintenance that has occurred over decades and has made significant investment necessary to preserve this historically important, regionally unique sanctuary for the next century of worship. 

  2. Outreach Wing Renovation: A gut rehab of the Outreach Wing will create refreshed spaces to gather, break bread, convene and otherwise serve Redeemer’s beloved community. This portion of the project also includes ADA-compliant restrooms and an elevator to allow all children of God, whatever their physical abilities, to access the sanctuary and outreach wing. We have already obtained a grant from a private family foundation to fully fund the elevator at $80,000. While this is a significant gift, the full construction cost of the ADA-related improvements is $362,470.

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The Outreach Wing will be the place of deep neighborhood and city engagement, featuring:

  • Office and conference room space for mission-aligned non-profit organizations. Presently, two outstanding and long serving organizations, the Interfaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee and the Zeidler Group, Inc. share an office space and inadequate meeting space wherever it might be found in the existing structure.

  • Meeting space for events in the public interest (such as when activists and law enforcement met quietly in the summer of 2020 during the days of Black Lives Matter protests).

  • A new mental health assessment clinic to triage and establish care for persons in difficulty.

  • A new kitchen and refurbished dining space for congregation, rental, and to host the Noon Run Community Meal, a partnership with Marquette Campus Ministry’s Midnight Run outreach. The “new” Noon Run will focus on offering a healthy and free sit down meal, the opportunity to join a Noon Run choir, and an initiative to invite local chefs to guest cook and the local business community to send volunteers for serving and hosting.

 How do we envision this project becoming a reality with $4.0 million total needed? 

Our congregational leadership team has established this as the framework:

  • Redeemer Congregational goal of $2.0 million. Current status: $1.925 million pledged/given.

  • Partner (non-congregant) goal of $1.8 million. Current: $450 thousand pledged/given. This phase is the focus of the campaign for 2022.

  • The financing portion of the project, to avoid too large a debt burden, is planned for $200 thousand. (Redeemer carries no debt at present).

Redeemer Lutheran Church is an Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) congregation located at 19th and Wisconsin Ave., on the west edge of Marquette University’s campus, where poverty and privilege intersect. Ten years ago, at a time when many believed the church would close, Rev. Dr. Lisa Bates-Froiland accepted Redeemer’s part-time call to ministry. Pr. Bates-Froiland is a “second career” pastor and the call to serve at Redeemer is her first call. From that humble start, God has led Redeemer to reverse its decline, growing and diversifying the congregation and revitalizing ministry outreach to its neighbors. Everyone from students at Marquette University, unhoused individuals in the area, and congregants of all walks have devoted time and energy to a rapidly changing ministry.  An understanding of mission for this growing congregation in its next  years of capital redevelopment can be summarized in three words: Responsibility, Accessibility and Hospitality.  

 

  • RESPONSIBILITY: A. To remain as a strong Lutheran voice in the Avenues West neighborhood (indeed, in the Milwaukee downtown), alongside strong Evangelical and Jesuit representations of Christianity. B. To preserve a unique and historic example of early 20th century Lutheran church architecture.

  • ACCESSIBILITY:  Currently, it is difficult to navigate the Redeemer physical plant for anyone with mobility issues. Proposed changes include the following: replacing a 1950s stair lift with an elevator, regrading to unify floor levels; constructing exclusively single-use restrooms with ADA-compliant options on each floor.

  • HOSPITALITY:  Constructing a new kitchen on the upper level and converting Auditorium space to a large banquet hall facility fit for use in serving the “pay as you wish” neighborhood meal, congregational use including Brunch Church, and as a revenue source for event rental. The Mental Health Assessment Clinic will be developed as a hospitable place for the poorest of the poor to begin addressing mental health care needs.

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HOW TO SUPPORT

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