I invite you to join me in a unique opportunity for ministry at St. Andrew Lutheran Church in the Montbello neighborhood of Denver, Colorado.
When our small congregation had to close our Christian day school a few years back, we faced a stewardship question that many other older congregations are dealing with: What do we do with the vacant facility? We saw that we needed to realign our ministry efforts to the changed needs of our community. Selling the property and relocating to a newer, fast-growing location in the Denver Metro Area was an option, of course. But the congregation has a rich history in Montbello. We wanted to maintain a vital witness to the love of God in Jesus Christ here, where we could continue to address the spiritual as well the physical needs of the people around us. We committed ourselves to finding a way to make a difference for the people of Montbello and develop new ways of reaching people with the love of Jesus Christ. In addition to this, we had to consider that our church building provides our sister Lutheran congregation, Cordero de Dios, with a place to worship and conduct its Spanish language mission in Montbello. We also have two other non-Lutheran Spanish-speaking congregations that use our campus their as church home.
We spent many months searching for an innovative solution that would be effective. The solution we developed was to re-purpose the school side of our building into an Assisted Living Residence called Open Arms. Open Arms will provide a below-market living environment for an under-served group in our community—low-income seniors. Study of our area revealed that there is a great need for this tupe of living centers in Montbello. What makes this assisted living project an innovative initiative for strengthening the community is that the focus of care is on nurturing a person’s mind, body and soul, while reducing health care expenses. Where once the congregation had served the children and younger families around us, we would now provide a quality place to live to an under-served group in our community. We sought to make as many of the resources being built in Open Arms, such as the telehealth resources and common areas, to be available for outreach efforts as well. The response from our community for what we are doing has been overwhelming. We have received enthusiastic support that has made the Project an unique coalition between congregational, public and private actors. With their assistance, we have obtained the necessary financing and grants to renovate the school for Phase One of this project. Our efforts have even attracted the attention of the governor’s office. Phase 1 construction began in December, 2019 and we anticipate opening the doors to Open Arms in the late summer. You can learn more about the Open Arms Assisted Living facility by going to the St. Andrew Lutheran Church’s website: www.salcs.org.
Would you please join with us in achieving the goals of Phase Two?
We know that Open Arms, by and in itself, isn’t a replacement for outreach. The congregation is committed to using this project to enhance its primary calling to make disciples of Jesus Christ. Our efforts in Phase 1 have already produced people relationships that the congregation is pursuing in its outreach efforts.
Phase 2 is meant to support our outreach. The complete make-over of the school side leaves the church side looking like Cinderella standing next to her half-sisters. As any other congregation does, we think it is essential to our congregation's outreach efforts to make the place where we offer Word and Sacrament ministry to our community as inviting and conducive to hearing the Gospel as we can. The improvements the building project provides will give us more resources to enhance these efforts. We want to maximize the effectiveness of our work to build relationships with people who do not know Jesus.
Would you please partner with us in making this outreach effort as successful as possible?
Phase Two involves:
1. Strengthening the structures that support the large stained-glass window over the altar in the chancel to support the weight of the window.
2. Laying new carpet in the sanctuary.
3. Repairing a chronic leak in the roof over the sanctuary.
4. Updating and repairing the building entrance: things such as refinishing or replacing the front doors, windows, and flooring.
5. Renovation of the classrooms and offices in the basement: carpet, drywall, paint, and lighting.
6. Landscaping: trees, plants, sod, garden boxes, etc. on the church side of property and the irrigation system which sustains them.
7. Provide furnishings and equipment for inter-generational activities and events that include the community in the common areas that the congregation shares with Open Arms.
These upgrades will also allow us to make our older facility more accessible to people with physical limitations and those with disabilities.
You can join us in this endeavor to strengthen our witness in Montbello in two ways…
First, please pray that the Lord would bless our Open Arms project and enable us to bring it to completion.
Second, please make a donation to our Phase 2 Campaign. Thank you for your interest and support!
May God bless and keep you.