Lutheran Brethren pastor addresses foreclosure
Ebenezer Lutheran Church, a Church of the Lutheran Brethren (CLB) congregation in south Minneapolis, lists its mission statement on its website: “Life is about more than our living for ourselves. We live best when we serve others.”
Pastor Todd Mathison of Ebenezer recently put legs on the mission statement when he offered hospitality to a family across the street experiencing foreclosure, and the Occupy Homes supporters who have been trying to have the family reinstated in their home.
The conflict originated when the Cruz family, owners of the home at 4404 Bloomington Avenue, experienced an online payment “glitch” in February that led the bank holding the loan to put the home up for sale. When Freddie Mac purchased the house, David Cruz, Alejandra Cruz, and their parents decided to leave their home rather than risk a confrontation with the police.
Soon, at the family’s invitation, members of Occupy Homes, an informal movement to bring attention to the foreclosure crisis, entered the home. Occupiers participate in such direct actions to highlight what they consider illegal and unnecessary eviction of people who could pay restructured loans, a win-win according to Occupy Homes representatives.
As supporters of the Cruz family became more visible, Mathison invited them to hold vigils and a celebratory anniversary remembrance, in the church parking lot. Mathison also offered prayers for the Cruz family and for the movement to reoccupy their home.
“I know there’s been some interest and activity around here with the Cruz family home across the way,” Mathison told The Uptake, a nonprofit news service. “As a congregation, we’re not a political organization, so we don’t take a stand as an organization, but as a follower of Jesus, I’ll …. use some scripture. Micah 6 says, ‘What does the Lord require?’ To do justly; to love justice, and I want to see justice done. And to love mercy, and I really want to see mercy done. And to walk humbly with your God.”
At press time the Cruz family has not been allowed to return to their home, though they are still in discussion with the bank, Freddie Mac, and the City of Minneapolis.
For more information about Ebenezer Lutheran Church, go to myebenezerchurch.org. For more information about the occupation of the Cruz home, go to www.youtube.com/watch?v=a5TisHdS7Ig.
Tags: Alejandra Cruz, Bob Hulteen, Church of the Lutheran Brethren, CLB, David Cruz, Ebenezer Lutheran Church Minneapolis, foreclosure crisis, Freddie Mac, Micah 6, Occupy Homes, Pastor Todd Mathison, The Uptake, Todd Mathison