by Cori Hilsgen
The Resurrection Lutheran Church in St. Joseph is getting a new look.
Pastor Dwaine Bruns said construction now underway at the church includes an expanded fellowship hall, a commercial kitchen, dedicated space for youth ministry, classroom space, an adult meeting room, storage, and repaving and expanding the parking lot.
Bruns is the senior pastor and John Gabrielson is the interim associate pastor of the church that has almost 1,000 members.
The $900,000 project is being constructed by Winkelman Building Corp.
Bruns said the project grew out of a visioning process in the congregation and has been several years in the planning.
“The planning involved looking at the mission God has given our congregation and how it might be enhanced by an expansion and renovation of our facility,” Bruns said.
A fundraising campaign for the building took place in fall 2014. A building committee put together the final plan and is responsible for the construction process. The plan was approved at a congregational meeting last spring.
“This is an exciting project in our congregation,” Bruns said. “Our prayer is that an enhanced and expanded facility will allow us to better serve the mission of our congregation as well as the community around us. We are especially thankful for the generous gifts of our members that make this construction possible.”
Organized Nov. 6, 1983, the church is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America and is part of the Southwestern Minnesota Synod.
Bruns, who graduated from Augsburg College in Minneapolis and Luther Seminary in St. Paul, has been serving Resurrection for 20 years. He is married to Jeanne, a senior high-school mathematics teacher at Albany High School. They live near Avon and have two adult children, Rachel and Joel.
Bruns has been a pastor for 33 years. Before coming to Resurrection, he served congregations in Atwater and Twig.
Gabrielson, who grew up in Sartell, graduated from Carlton College in Northfield and Luther Seminary in St. Paul. He began serving at Resurrection Lutheran Church in September.
Gabrielsen is married to Sara, an assistant principal at Sartell High School. They have two children – Arlo, 6, and Johanna, 3. Before coming to Resurrection, he served in New Ulm and Gaylord.
“I expect the building project will open up a lot of opportunities for fellowship and ministry in general,” Gabrielson said. “Especially by allowing Resurrection to broaden its outreach to the community and increase our capacity to serve the many young families that join our congregation seeking to connect their children to faith development.”
Bruns said they are especially excited about using the facility for events such as the area churches’ Vacation Bible School, Fare for All food-distribution program and community meals.
Construction work began during the summer and is expected to be completed by mid-November. Dedication of the space is planned for Sunday, Dec. 6.
Resurrection Lutheran Church worship services are at 8:30 and 11 a.m. Sundays and 6:30 p.m. Wednesdays. For more information, contact the church at 320-363-4232.