Church Closes, Doors Remain Open
Suderman, Brenda, Winnipeg Free Press
Although it no longer holds worship services and ceased to exist as a congregation last summer, the doors of Trinity Lutheran Church are still open.
That's because the last act of Winnipeg's first German-speaking Lutheran church was to give away their building at 265 Flora Ave. so community groups could continue to use it.
"We're losing a congregation, but I'm proud of the legacy they leave," explains Rev. Larry Ulrich, assistant to the bishop of the Manitoba/Northwestern Ontario Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada.
"They saw themselves as gifting the building when they could no longer care for it."
After its last worship service on Aug. 25, just months after marking its 125th anniversary, Trinity Lutheran Church handed over the keys -- and the deed -- to Aberdeen Mennonite Church, already a tenant in the building.
Ulrich said the congregation, which had dwindled down to a dozen parishioners, decided to give away their 45-year-old building instead of selling it and donating the proceeds to another cause, because they wanted the existing programs to continue.
"In some ways, they tried in a powerful way to say this is how we do ministry in this community, and the building is the piece that allowed them to do that," explains Ulrich.
In addition to Aberdeen, the 10,000-square-foot building also houses two other congregations, First Nations Family Worship Centre and House of Prayer, a weekly lunch program, two food banks, a coffee house and government-run Healthy Start for Mom and Me.
With up to 300 people in and out of the building weekly, the Lutheran congregation was reluctant to force its tenants to find new homes, said Rev. …