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August 1, 2017

The following is an article that appeared in the July issue of Connect, the newsletter of Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Minneapolis and Minnetonka.  

By  Pastor Bob Wertz

We continue to be extremely grateful to members in both Minneapolis and Minnetonka who have recently donated much-needed household items to furnish the new apartments at 66West, Beacon Interfaith’s most recent housing development on 66th Street just north of Southdale shopping center. Fifteen homeless youth/ young adults have moved in recently, and soon the 39-unit facility will be fully occupied. With all the goods donated to date, three of those 39 have been fully furnished by generous Bethlehem donors—THANK YOU!

Beacon Interfaith is an ideal mission partner for Bethlehem, and one of the key partners we are supporting through our three-year, $3M Opening New Doors mission appeal. Four compelling reasons Bethlehem and Beacon are a good fit:

• Bethlehem Minnetonka has a long and supportive history with Beacon through the Families Moving Forward program (in which homeless families are offered overnight shelter, food, and hospitality for a week at a time on a twice a year basis);

• Service providers working directly with homeless or at-risk youth in the western suburbs estimate they serve between 200-300 youth a year, and those numbers are growing;

• There are no shelter beds or permanent housing in the west metro serving youth and young adults prior to 66West being built;

• Congregations like Bethlehem and the 70-some others that comprise Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative have both the passion and the resources to help solve this problem.

Next up in terms of launching another facility is Cranberry Ridge, a 45-unit development in the Wayzata School District on Highway 55 near Old Rockford Rd. in Plymouth. This facility will include many three-bedroom homes for working families. Most of the families living at Cranberry Ridge will be earning between $16,000 and $45,000 per year and will benefit from the great western suburban schools, parks, and other community assets we all appreciate. Please direct any questions you may have about 66West or Cranberry Ridge, or donating household furnishings to bwertz@bethlehem-church.org.

Bob Wertz
Bob Wertz is the Stewardship Pastor at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Minneapolis.