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Mount Zion Lutheran is ready to dedicate its new ministry space

The old fellowship and education wing of Mount Zion Lutheran Church, located at 505 13th Street So., has been replaced by a two-level, 12,000-square-foot ministry addition. Photo by Randy Hanson

Mount Zion Lutheran Church is preparing for the dedication of its two-level, 12,000-square-foot ministry addition on Sunday, March 25.

The dedication service will be held at 2 o'clock in the afternoon so friends of the congregation can attend without missing their own Sunday morning worship services.

The dedication will be followed by an open house from 3 to 6 p.m.

The finished space the church got is twice as much as it was expecting going into the project in August 2011.

At that time, the plan was to leave the lower level of the addition unfinished, and put in Sunday school classrooms, restrooms, a youth room and a music room as funds became available.

But by mid-winter, $100,000 that was set aside for contingencies hadn't been touched and the church learned that it needed just $50,000 more to complete the lower level.

Pastor Brian Ferguson credits general contractor Derrick Construction with making it possible to finish the project by managing it well.

Mount Zion was able to convince the Mission Investment Fund of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America to add another $50,000 to its $1 million mortgage, and the work moved forward.

After 31 Sundays away, the members of Mount Zion on March 4 processed from E.P. Rock Elementary School, where they had been holding services, back into their sanctuary. (The congregation met at O'Connell Family Funeral Home for three Sundays, First Presbyterian Church for five Sundays and the school for 23 Sundays while the addition was being built).

The service ended with them processing into the new 2,000-square-foot commons that joins the old sanctuary and the new ministry space.

The commons, with its 34-foot-high interior peak, double glass entrances and clerestory windows, is considered the jewel of the building by Pastor Ferguson.

"When people walk in the door, they just stop and take note," he said. "It naturally causes your eyes to go up."

It reminds him of the first verse from Psalms 121, "I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help."

The window frames above the east and west entrances form a large cross, with two smaller crosses below the main cross.

Ferguson is looking forward to seeing the shadows the crosses make on the commons floor when the sun rises directly in the east and sets directly in the west.

The church decided to call the space the commons, he said, because it shares a purpose similar to the commons at Hudson High School.

"Ask any high-schooler what the commons is and they'll say, that's a place where you go hang out while you're waiting for something to happen," Ferguson said. "That's perfect. That's what we want this place to be."

The commons will be furnished with a couple of round banquet tables and some pub-style tables. It has a sink, counter and cabinets for serving coffee and treats after services.

The upstairs of the addition also has a fellowship room, a well-equipped kitchen, offices, restrooms and a nursery. The upper and lower levels are connected by a full-service elevator.

The long-term plan is for the layout of the church to be a cruciform, like that of a cathedral.

When a new sanctuary is constructed, the altar will be moved to what is now the north side of the building.

The commons forms the arms of the cross, reaching out to the neighborhoods on both sides.

The fellowship space represents the body of Christ and the lower part of the cross.

Randy Hanson

Randy Hanson has reported for the Star-Observer since 1997. He came to Hudson after 11 years with the Inter-County Leader at Frederic, and eight years of teaching social studies. He’s a graduate of UW-Eau Claire.

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