Two Southwest congregations to share spaces in Lyndale neighborhood

Salem English Lutheran Church will move into Lyndale United Church of Christ, 810 W. 31st St., on Nov. 1. The two churches will share facilities but will not merge.

Salem will host its last service in its old space at 610 W. 28th St. in Whittier on Oct. 29.

Salem is moving to Lyndale United’s space as a way to save on winter heating costs, said Jen Nagle, Salem’s pastoral minister.

Plans are underway to develop a new church building at a yet-to-be-determined location that the two churches would co-own. Church leaders are searching for developers interested in either church site.

Originally, the churches proposed a plan to demolish Salem’s building and replace it with a mixed-use development that would include town homes, two sanctuaries and retail space. That plan is still a possibility but has stalled because some neighbors want to save Salem’s old sanctuary and see it added to the National Register of Historic Places.

Lyndale Pastor Don Portwood said the church is open to saving the sanctuary if there’s an interested buyer or developer.

For now, the Salem building will be vacant over the winter. Tenants that lease space in the building include New Creations Church of God in Christ, Minnesota Tenants Union and the Youth Performance Company (YPC).

Nagle said although it will be sad to leave the Whittier building behind, keeping the congregation intact is the important thing.

“We’re saying carefully and often that a church is people and not the building. People can go anywhere. It’s like in Exodus, where the people of God are on the move. We’re on the move,” she said.

Lyndale and Salem have already started offering joint Sunday school and youth group programs.

On Oct. 29, Salem will host a special service, with coffee, a worship service and meal starting at 9:30 a.m.

For more information about Salem, call 872-4650 or Lyndale United Church of Christ at 825-3019.