Media Release


Three Minneapolis Churches Form Ecumenical Building Partnership

‘New Branches’ collaboration opens doors to expanded justice, community efforts

Minneapolis, MN: Three South Minneapolis congregations, Lake Nokomis Lutheran Church (Lake Nokomis Lutheran), Living Table United Church of Christ (Living Table UCC), and Spirit of St. Stephen’s Catholic Community (Spirit Catholic Community) announce the formation of New Branches, an innovative partnership. New Branches is located at 5011 31st Ave. S. in Minneapolis, formerly the site of Lake Nokomis Lutheran only.

Extensive main-level renovations to the newly shared space were completed at the end of 2021, making it possible for the churches to share the updated building and worship spaces while retaining their individual faith identities. Building ownership and management is equally shared.

“We are thrilled to create this partnership,” says Rev. Sara Spohr, pastor at Lake Nokomis Lutheran. “We have been deeply rooted in South Minneapolis for over 100 years, and this partnership will help us grow more fully into our call to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God.”

In addition to reducing the environmental impact of three separate church spaces, the partnership allows the three churches to focus financial and human resources on mission and ministry. The faith communities were drawn together by a shared call to justice, including racial justice and LGBTQIA+ inclusion. Through their partnership, the congregations are committed to increasing their impact in the community.

Marilaurice Hemlock, Community Coordinator at Spirit Catholic Community, explains, "The relationships we have begun to build support a vision of being a new church, one rooted in traditions of hope with branches reaching out in possibility."

Living Table UCC Pastor Rachael Keefe agrees: “Working together, we can provide a place for people to worship, question, and seek, to challenge the status quo, and to find wholeness. We’re excited for the future.”

New Branches plans to host a welcoming event for the broader community when the pandemic allows for safer gathering.


New Branches is home to three unique congregations, deeply rooted in faith and focused on possibilities. Together, they share a call to do justice and love mercy within and beyond their walls, into the community and world. New Branches partner congregations are Lake Nokomis Lutheran Church at, Living Table United Church of Christ at, and Spirit of St. Stephen’s Catholic Community at Learn more at