New family center filling gap in Lincoln Park

A new family center is being organized in the Lincoln Park neighborhood to fill the space left by the resource center that closed there earlier this year.

A new family center is being organized in the Lincoln Park neighborhood to fill the space left by the resource center that closed there earlier this year.

The Neighborhood Family Center is housed in Lakeshore Celebration Church, 2331 W. Third St., formerly occupied by Wesley United Methodist Church. The Rev. Gayle Neuerburg of Lakeshore said that the congregation felt the loss of the Lincoln Park Resource Center when it closed, and she wanted to do something about it.

The center is still a work in progress. It offers services that the church had already offered such as a food shelf and free clothing and household items. Free Internet access is available on one computer and it will soon be expanded to four.

Like the resource centers that closed, the Neighborhood Family Center will have a referral service so that people can find other places that offer services that the center does not offer.

Neuerburg said that in the future she hopes to include an after school program and counseling with a trained counselor. The center will be a place for families and individuals to participate, regardless of their religious affiliation.


"Not to say that I want to diminish the role of the church," said Neuerburg. She said she wants the center to become a place for people to come for wholesome and fun family activities such as trips to Twins games, hayrides and tours of the aquarium.

"These are all things that we would love to see happen," she said, but stressed the need for more volunteers and funding to make it happen.

"If everybody in the community gave something, it would underwrite the whole thing," she said.

Help may be on the way. A few weeks ago Neuerburg was contacted by Nicole Kreidler of Great Lakes Gospel Church, located just down the block from Lakeshore. Great Lakes Gospel is also organizing the same types of services. A partnership between the two churches is in the future.

Nicole Kreidler and her mother Roxanne Kreidler began the services at Great Lakes Gospel. "We just saw a need in our church," said Nicole Kreidler. She credits the idea to her mother who was prepared to run the center out of the basement of her home. That was until they found out about the work on the center at Lakeshore.

"There are a lot of people I know who are struggling," said Roxanne Kreidler. "I've been a single parent in my own life and I've struggled to get resources." She said she wanted to do something now that she has the resources to help others.

Roxanne Kreidler said that Lakeshore Celebration has the facility and Great Lakes Gospel can bring the people to volunteer at the center.

The two churches have many of the same goals and ideas for the future of the center.


All of the resource centers closed in Duluth earlier this year. Neuerburg would like to see a partnership developed with churches throughout Duluth to fill the space that the other resource centers left when they closed. "Just to make this truly a community thing," she said

Roxanne Kreidler has the same idea. She said that the goal is to bring unity in the community. "And we have so many churches and we should have one goal in mind and that is to help others." She also plans to bring the idea up to the board of another local church where she works, so another partnership may be in the future.

Neuerburg said that it is just as important for people to be served as it is for people to serve. She plans to have a system of people who need services so that people can offer their talents and skills to help them.

Nicole Kreidler said that in their original idea they would create a base of contacts for people who offer certain services and skills such as carpentry and painting or those who have a truck to use for hauling.

Neuerburg has the same idea. "Because everybody is good at something," she said. "It's kind of the pay it forward idea." She said people will come away with the satisfaction of being able to help others.

She credits all that has already been done to the volunteers who spend their time helping others. "It's very much volunteers that make it happen."

I think it was definitely meant to be," said Neuerburg about the church and the family center.

Lakeshore Celebration Church began a few years ago when Neuerburg and her husband Jason came to Duluth. At the time they held a Bible study in Proctor and held a worship service at Forbes United Methodist Church. In July 2002, they began to meet at Wesley United Methodist.


In June 2003, the Wesley congregation disbanded after membership dwindled and the church was put up for sale. The members of Wesley wanted the church to go to Lakeshore, but it first had to be offered to other Methodist churches in the area. After it was determined that no other church in the area wanted it, the Wesley congregation sold the church to Lakeshore Celebration for $1.

Lakeshore Celebration became the official owners of the church in March 2004.

"We feel really grateful to the (Wesley) congregation," said Neuerburg. "Really, it was a gift to us." She said this gift gives more of an incentive to use it to help others. "To me, as a believer, it's a miracle."

Lakeshore Celebration Church serves free meals each Sunday at 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. As part of the Neighborhood Family Center, the food shelf and free clothing are available on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon, and the computer lab is open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, call the center at 727-9379.

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