One integral belief that Mount Olivet Lutheran Church of Plymouth holds is that God is active not just in church, but in our world. We look and listen for what God is up to through the work of our community partners - organizations such as PRISM, Northport Elementary School, and the Home Free women's shelter. Through these partnerships, we have discerned that God is calling us to be a church that works toward feeding people, housing people, accompanying people in transition, and working with faith partners.
One of our housing partners, Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative, has asked our congregation to support their work of developing new affordable housing right here in Plymouth through the Cranberry Ridge project, which is proposed to go in at Highway 55 and Old Rockford Rd. This complex would house 47 families who are priced out of the rental market in the west metro, families earning between $20,000-$45,000 annually. More info on the project can be found here.
Pastor Beth and I wrote and signed a letter today in support of this project and wanted to share it with you. This letter went to the Plymouth city council members and mayor, who will be making a decision on whether to approve it over the next two months. The text of the letter is below.
If you are a resident of Plymouth and want to join us in voicing your support for affordable housing in this community, we encourage you to come to the city council meetings about Cranberry Ridge. A Mount Olivet contingent will join many other faith communities for a visible display of support for Cranberry Ridge at City Hall on Wed., Oct. 18 at 7pm (Planning Commission meeting) and Tues. Nov. 14 at 7pm (City Council vote). Pastor Beth and I will be there on the 14th, and we'd love to see you, too! If you're not available those nights, consider calling or emailing your city council member.
We are very excited about this project – our congregation has committed itself to partnering with organizations that work toward ending homelessness and increasing affordable housing, and this is one step on the way to making that a reality. I’m very happy to chat with anyone about questions they have about this venture (firstname.lastname@example.org), and even happier about the prospect of nearly 50 families having their lives positively impacted by stable and affordable housing in Plymouth!
September 21, 2017
Dear Plymouth City Council Members and Mayor Slavik,
As Pastors of Mount Olivet Lutheran Church of Plymouth, a congregation of the Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative, we’re asking you to support the application for Cranberry Ridge – 47 new homes for families in Plymouth.
Our unique position within our community helps us understand the pressing need for affordable housing here in Plymouth. Each week we field calls from families down on their luck and looking for aid. Many times they are staying in hotels, or ‘couch surfing’ at the homes of family and friends. We give them some money to buy food, but we know that’s only a temporary fix. What they really need is stable, safe, and clean housing at a price they can afford.
Additionally, Mount Olivet Lutheran Church of Plymouth prides itself on partnering with many organizations in the community that walk with people facing a variety of needs. When we converse with these partners, a common theme emerges. From food shelves to counseling centers to schools to women’s shelters, every one of our partners can name how a lack of affordable housing in the west metro negatively impacts the lives of the people they work with. It’s becoming increasingly difficult for families to afford to live here. If parents are employed in retail, or work as a bank teller, health aid or childcare worker making $20,000 - $45,000 a year, they’re likely priced out of the rental market, or are paying more than half of their income for housing.
Sadly, neither our church nor our community partners are in a position to be able to create more affordable housing. But you are!
Cranberry Ridge would be a welcome addition to this city. Beacon has a reputation for developing quality homes, built and maintained for the long-term, and well-managed – the kind that anyone would be proud to live in. The planned partnership with Interfaith Outreach gives us additional confidence that Cranberry Ridge is being set up for the lasting success of the families who will live there and the community they’ll be a part of.
As Christians, a large part of our faith life involves seeking the good of those in need and welcoming strangers into community, not only in our congregation, but in the world. Over 1,400 Mount Olivet members live in Plymouth, and we want to ensure that Plymouth continues to be a welcoming, vibrant community. We see advocating for Cranberry Ridge as part of this work, and prayerfully encourage you to give it your support.
Pastors Beth Horsch and Joel Bergeland
Mount Olivet Lutheran Church of Plymouth
12235 Old Rockford Rd
Plymouth MN 55441