The following bulletin announcement was found in the First Lutheran Church of Crystal on April 7, 2019:
“Please join us for a special gathering to celebrate our new relationship with Faith International Seventh-day Adventist Church on Saturday, April 13th at 4:00 pm. It will be a time to mark the change in property ownership and the beginning of a new relationship for our two congregations. We will take time to pray, sing, and socialize in this new era of ministry.”
Faith Church International, an Adventist church in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, hosted a handing over service on April 13, whereby they took ownership of the building at 7708 62nd Ave. in North Brooklyn Park. The two faith traditions have been sharing the same building for several years, with Faith Church International as renter and First Lutheran as landlord.
This relationship produced a desire to do ministry together. The two churches developed a Covenant Partnership in use of the space, and the Lutherans demonstrated a true Christian spirit in their relationship with the Adventists. These were the early growth years of Faith Church.
Pastor David Folkert of the Lutheran church demonstrated a keen interest in making sure the Adventist congregation was both comfortable and felt part of the larger Christian community. He created the necessary bridges for cooperation. The Faith Church congregation was, during this time, learning to live out their faith in relation to another faith tradition.
The Faith Church International leadership created a financial plan and started a capital campaign to finance the congregation’s rent and build enough financial assets to purchase a building of their own in the future. It was during this period that the Faith congregation became aware that the Lutheran church may be willing to enter a lasting covenant for the use of the space.
During the last three years, Pastor Enoch Bigogo and Pastor Folkert have navigated the many spiritual, emotional and congregational considerations involved in the sale and purchase of property. They sat through many long meetings, working through the negotiation process.
These church leaders agreed that the property must remain in the hands of the two congregations and continue to be used for religious purposes. They worked on a clear understanding of what it would cost to change ownership of the building.
The two congregations reached an agreement and signed the papers in early April.
During the handing over service, Pastor Folkert shared, “I want you to know there are several parts to what is happening here today, beginning in 1952 in Lincoln, Nebraska, with my home Lutheran congregation. When they needed a place for worship they were accommodated in one of the halls in Union College, a Seventh-day Adventist college. At about the same time, First Lutheran Church of Crystal was starting a congregation here. The Adventist college shared their space with the Lutherans, and that relationship in Lincoln became the bridge that allowed this relationship with Faith Church International Seventh-day Adventists to happen here. I have worked with pastors Brian Mungandi, Enoch Bigogo, and Erick Mokua. And today, 60 plus years after that shared space in Lincoln, Nebraska, these two faith traditions are sharing and swapping this building ownership in the hope that the mission of our Lord Jesus will continue—in this building—bringing men and women to faith.”
Elder Justin Lyons, president of the Minnesota Conference, closed the service by challenging the two congregations, saying, “Let’s continue to work together to make sure people come to faith, building the kingdom, baptizing those who search for God, as we wait for the Lord’s second coming.”
Pastor Erick Mokua, who currently pastors Faith Church International, appreciates the work of the two churches and the property committees. During the service he stated that the Adventists are committed to, “… upholding the spirituality of this place where these two congregations gather.”
Faith Church International is now the landlord and First Lutheran Church of Crystal is the renter, and the mission of our Lord goes forward.