Long Lake Lutheran Church works on raising funds for new sign

A bright, electronic sign will soon catch the eye of passing drivers at Long Lake Lutheran Church.

The church is in the middle of fundraising to erect a new sign to replace the old wooden one, which can’t easily be seen from the highway.

From left, Long Lake Lutheran Church Interim Pastor Tyler Gubsch, Sign Committee Chair Loretta Fornberg, Ruth Sweet and Pastor Matt Flom stand by the wood construction that shows the size and outline of the new electronic sign to be built. The church is holding a Sept. 22 auction and an Oct. 5 spaghetti dinner and silent auction fundraiser for the new sign.

From left, Long Lake Lutheran Church Interim Pastor Tyler Gubsch, Sign Committee Chair Loretta Fornberg, Ruth Sweet and Pastor Matt Flom stand by the wood construction that shows the size and outline of the new electronic sign to be built. The church is holding a Sept. 22 auction and an Oct. 5 spaghetti dinner and silent auction fundraiser for the new sign. Photo by Elizabeth Sias

A Sept. 22 auction at 10 a.m. will feature donations from the area, including gift certificates, collectibles, antiques, homemade canned goods and more. Concessions will be available.

The church is also holding a spaghetti dinner and silent auction fundraiser Oct. 5 from 4 to 7 p.m. The all-you-can-eat spaghetti dinner is $5 for adults, $3 for children 6 to 12 and free for children under 6. There is also an ongoing aluminum collection site in the church parking lot.

“I think it’s a great way to reach out to the community,” Pastor Matt Flom said about the new sign. “Society is getting farther and farther apart as the electronic age comes in. People are getting more and more displaced and community is becoming more important to people—community in the sense of being able to be with people, and talk with people. I think community churches like ours are taking on a greater importance these days. It’s a place where people can come where all people are welcomed. We bring in a lot of people, we provide a sense of community, and I think that sign is going to help us to get the word out.”

Ruth Sweet with Long Lake Lutheran said the new sign will be controlled electronically from inside the church.

The new electronic sign is projected at 16 feet high. The congregation is hoping to break ground in October.

The new electronic sign is projected at 16 feet high. The congregation is hoping to break ground in October.

Aside from eliminating the safety issue of changing letters on the old sign in the winter, she said the new sign—at 16 feet high—will be visible from further away.

“The biggest thing we’ve run across is the fact that, coming down the highway from both directions, the sign is obstructed,” Sweet said. “It’s just not highly visible. This is a very modern church and a very old, outdated sign.”

During Highway 47 construction, the road was elevated and the church is now further back from the highway, making the current sign too low for passersby to notice. That’s when the idea for a new sign came about.

Long Lake Lutheran was established in 1891. Pastor Flom describes it as a community church, serving many community functions and acting as a gathering space for organizations such as Al-Anon, AA and 4-H. The church also partners with the Interfaith Hospitality Network to provide lodging and meals to the homeless several times a year.

“It’s kind of like a hub,” Sweet said. “I was confirmed here as a kid, and I returned here as an adult. That says something. It’s a welcoming atmosphere, but our sign doesn’t say that, and that’s a problem. We need a sign that welcomes people and welcomes the different groups that we serve and the community that we serve.”

The church congregation has a goal of raising $25,000 to erect the electronic sign. If the auction is a success, Sweet said they’re hoping to break ground in October.

Long Lake Lutheran Church, 3921 277th Ave. NW, Isanti, can be reached at 763-444-5315.

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