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In the bleak mid-winter of 2019, Johnny Smith was murdered on the steps of Redeemer Lutheran Church. It was a tragic day for our church and neighborhood. After learning that both the murderer and the victim were unhoused and beset by mental illness, the leaders of Redeemer felt that the congregation was called to act: to provide neighborhood wellness services—including food to the hungry; a warm, welcoming space for the lonely and isolated; and mental health services to those in need.

However, our physical space was in terrible condition, with an old boiler, leaking pipes, inadequate gathering spaces, and stairs limiting accessibility throughout the facility. Redeemer launched an ambitious campaign to transform its buildings and more greatly empower its mission of serving neighbors in need. 


Skeptics thought the ambitious campaign could not succeed, yet the first phase of the campaign is completed and fully funded. This “Love Your God” portion of the capital project installed new HVAC throughout the facility and addressed deferred maintenance in the sanctuary and building exterior.


Phase 2, the “Love Your Neighbor” phase, broke ground on May 8, 2024, and consists of a complete renovation of the west wing including creating the physical spaces for our neighbor’s health and dignity to be restored through these ministries:

  • A new mental health clinic and social worker support services;

  • Substance use disorder treatment in partnership with Serenity Inns; 

  • Private showers and laundry facilities for our unhoused neighbors; and,

  • Expanded food ministries, thanks to a new commercial kitchen and partnerships with Marquette University’s Campus Ministry student volunteers, Interfaith Food Pantry, Feeding America, Christ Church Mequon, and other partner congregations. 


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The Love Our Neighbor construction phase is valued at $4.4 million. The thermometer above shows how close we are to reaching our goal. Our project is anticipated to be completed by January 2025. Help us reach out goal and provide space for the services above by donating today. 

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Checks may be sent to: Redeemer Church, 631 N. 19th Street, Milwaukee, WI 53217

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Thank you for your generous support!

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