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This past Sunday, Bethany Lutheran Church announced to its congregation its intention to gift its property at the corner of Franklin Avenue and 25th Avenue South in the Seward neighborhood to Augsburg University. The gift is contingent on a congregational vote, which is scheduled for October 27. It will then need to be formally received by approval of the Augsburg Board of Regents.
In coming to this decision, Bethany Lutheran leadership and the Minneapolis Area Synod of the ELCA was engaged with Augsburg about the potential future for the property. While there is still much exploration to do, Augsburg’s objective is to determine a long-term use for the location that advances our educational mission and community engagement and honors Bethany’s unique legacy of service to the Seward neighborhood.
In the near-term, we do not expect any immediate operational changes. The Bethany Lutheran congregation will continue to occupy the building and worship in the space through May 2020. Commitments are in place relative to current tenants for continued use until alternative plans are mutually developed in the longer-term. Augsburg also will support Bethany’s ministry of Soup For You and assure its continuation in the neighborhood.
With the anticipation of a new pedestrian bridge over I-94, Augsburg will be more closely connected to the Franklin Avenue corridor and the Seward neighborhood than it has been in the last half century. This property offers us an exciting opportunity to engage even more fully with that vibrant and richly diverse neighborhood.
There is much more to come relative to this project. We anticipate beginning an exploration process this summer, and, in the meantime, plan to update various groups on campus — beginning with University Council at its monthly meeting yesterday.