Friends of Christ Church Lutheran
Tax id (EIN)
Address3244 34th Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55406
"If a building is honest, the architecture is religious." These are the words of renowned Finnish-American architect Eliel Saarinen, designer of the sanctuary of Christ Church Lutheran. Saarinen’s “honest” use of light, brick, stone, concrete and wood create a space of stunning simplicity, tranquility, and spirituality. Since its construction in 1949, it has been the focus of fascination by architects, photographers, students, and those seeking a place of worship, community, beauty and solace.
Christ Church Lutheran, located in the Longfellow neighborhood of southeast Minneapolis, is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and was designated a National Historic Landmark in January 2009. In 1977, the building received the American Institute of Architects’ 25-Year Award, crediting the influence of the building on church design in the second half of the 20th century. In the award, the AIA described the church as "a living symbol of architectural integrity . . . a building with great dramatic effect and architectural impact, and yet which retains a very human scale and possesses a feeling of serenity and repose.”
It’s hard to believe that Saarinen's modern Christ Church Lutheran building is over 70 years old. This National Landmark structure has been loved, respected, and maintained through the years by the congregation. The years are taking their toll, however. The congregation undertakes ongoing preservation work, funded in part by donations raised by the Friends of Christ Church Lutheran, established in 2008 to preserve these National Historic Landmark buildings designed by Finnish-American architects Eliel Saarinen (the 1949 church) and Eero Saarinen (the 1962 education wing). We support fundraising, education and public awareness efforts as a non-sectarian 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.
The Friends’ participation in Doors Open Minneapolis in May brought nearly 450 architecture fans to the church, eager to hear from volunteer guides stationed through the complex. Our monthly tours, privately scheduled tours, and Doors Open visitors, along with an international group of 63 in the Twin Cities for the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy Conference in September, have brought over 620 visitors to Christ Church Lutheran this year. This is an important part of the Friends' mission of education and public awareness about this influential modern worship space.
The other critical aspect of our mission is supporting preservation of the church buildings, and last year, thanks to your generous donations to the Friends 2022 Appeal, FCCL raised over $9,000 to pay for the restoration of Christ Church Lutheran’s pulpit woodwork. In early March, Fresh Air Finishers completed the work. It is not just an incredible, and visible, improvement to all who use or visit the sanctuary. It also serves as an important pilot project as the congregation's Preservation Committee plans for further sanctuary woodwork restoration.
The Friends continue a close relationship with Christ Church Lutheran’s Preservation Committee to support worthy projects. Our 2023 Appeal is supporting the replication of two uplight fixtures for the outdoor arcade connecting the church with the education wing, estimated at $6,000.
Please consider a tax-deductible donation toward our $6000 goal in supporting historically accurate reproductions for the church exterior.