A SLICE OF LIFE IN THE CLC
Snapshots of congregations from around the Church of the Lutheran Confession
Living Savior of Eden Prairie is a relatively young church, but its mission is one as old as the world itself. Before there was sin in Eden Prairie, there was sin in the Garden of Eden. It was there that the Living Savior was promised, the “Seed of the woman” (Genesis 3:15). Our goal here is to preach the name of our living Savior Jesus and tell the souls of the southwest Minneapolis-St. Paul area what He has done for them.
Living Savior Lutheran Church was born out of need and opportunity. The CLC has had a presence in the Twin Cities for a long time, but there arose a greater need for the spread of the Word in the Southwest Metro area. This area of the Twin Cities is unique. The southwest corridor is a key area where many of the city’s top corporations are located. Eden Prairie (population 63,000) has consistently been rated a top city to live in, listed on more than a dozen surveys of the top one hundred cities in the U.S., and often scoring in the top ten. The Twin Cities is an area that seems to always be growing, and with that growth more opportunities arise to spread the Gospel.
The Holy Spirit made these opportunities evident to us. In 2003, monthly Sunday evening services began in homes of Berea members in the Southwest Metro area. This opportunity to become an individual congregation was largely provided by $15,000 of initial seed money from Faith of Nicollet, Minnesota, as that congregation had recently closed. In 2004, the group requested more frequent services, and Pastor David Schierenbeck started to conduct services twice a month in Chaska. In 2009 a Southwest Metro Board was appointed. This board was made up of pastors and elders from both the Berea and Fridley congregations. The Southwest Metro group contact at that time was Alan Johnson. This board was appointed to provide oversight for the group. It was during this time that the group chose a temporary name: “The Church of the Lutheran Confession of Eden Prairie.” Weekly morning services began at the Albin Chapel facility on May 31, 2009. The services were conducted by ten to twelve active and retired area pastors, as well as by ILC professors and seminarians. In 2013, Stephen Sydow of Eau Claire accepted the part-time call to provide more on-site pastoral assistance and continuity. He served as the ministry coordinator as well as preaching for services himself. During this time the worship site moved from Albin Chapel to the Eden Prairie Senior Center and then to Lincoln Parc Suites Community Center in Eden Prairie. The worship site was most recently moved to Huber Funeral Chapel on Glory Lane in Eden Prairie. With this new location, the congregation had a dedicated location that allowed them to store all the necessary equipment, as well as having a kitchenette, fellowship hall, and ample parking.
In 2016, the southwest metro group formally organized as an independent congregation. It took on the name “Living Savior Lutheran Church,” with Jeff Radichel as the first president of the congregation. That same year, Living Savior submitted its constitution and its request for membership to the CLC. The congregation was received into membership by the CLC during its convention in June of 2016. On January 1, 2017, retired Pastor Doug Libby of Mankato accepted the call as a part-time pastor. This allowed for more consistent soul care of the growing congregation. The average attendance was around thirty. In 2019, regular attendance was at forty, with a membership of fifty.
The Lord has blessed the small group to allow us to financially support His work independently. As weekly attendance grew, it became clear to the voters that a full-time pastor was necessary. The combination of increased membership and the opportunity for mission work prompted the congregation to issue this call.
While the composition of Living Savior congregation has changed significantly over the years, the congregation still has several of the original families involved as well as several new faces and families, with some attending both Eden Prairie and their home church. The Lord continues to sustain the congregation. In mid-July we began meeting in person again for the first time since the COVID outbreak. Pastor Libby resigned his part-time call in July due to health issues, and the congregation is in the process of calling a full-time pastor again.
The congregation has several items it is looking at for the future. Our desire is to continue to pursue outreach opportunities in the area. We desire to finally have a full-time pastor, to find a permanent location, and eventually our own dedicated church building. But we also know that the Lord has plans for us too. “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord plans to give you peace, not disaster, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11 EHV) This Eden Prairie “field” is one that holds significant potential for growth in the Lord’s kingdom. It is our prayer that Jesus would guide and bless our efforts to proclaim His Word in the Southwest Metro area and help us to do what the Psalmist says: “I will exalt you, my God, the King, and I will bless your name forever and ever. Every day I will bless you, and I will praise your name forever and ever.”
(Psalm 145:1-2 EHV)
Jeff Radichel is a member of Living Savior Lutheran Church of Eden Prairie, Minnesota.