Rejoice! Spiritual wickedness triumphs in Dundas

Holy Cross Episcopal, Dundas (wikipedia photo)Last Saturday’s Nfld News article, When development meets the past, tells the story of a conflict between the descendants William C. Cleland and Rejoice! Lutheran Church which now owns the former Holy Cross Episcopal church in Dundas.  Pastor Dan Clites and the Building Team wanted to move the Cleland family graves as part of the Rejoice! expansion plans. Cleland family descendants opposed the move.  The conflict has evidently been resolved:

Clites says former Holy Cross members gave him the names of Cleland relatives, who he said OK’d the plan to move the graves. Those relatives later withdrew their support, he says, under pressure from family members. That pressure, along with a desire to be good neighbors has led Rejoice! to rework its initial plan. It’s now working on a redesign that will leave the graves, which are encircled by decorative metal fencing, intact…

But had the church decided to move forward with the relocation, [State Archaeologist Scott Anfinson] isn’t sure he would have allowed it. Since the Cleland graves were never recorded with the county, approval for moving the remains rests with the archaeologist. And since the site is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and the descendants opposed the proposed move, Anfinson said he’d likely have denied such a request.

When I first heard about the issue, I thought it was reasonable for Rejoice! to want to move the graves and I thought it was reasonable for the descendants to object.  But last week, prior to the article’s publishing and the resolution of the conflict, Pastor Clites published his weekly update in which he wrote about the issue:

Dan Clites… we have recently come against principalities of opposition (Ephesians 6:12).  Why should we expect anything less?  When a church serves in the Light of the Holy Spirit, darkness will not like it. 

Here’s the verse in Ephesians 6:12 (King James Version):

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

For Clites to associate Helen Albers and Cleland family descendants with ‘principalities’ and ‘darkness’ and ‘spiritual wickedness’ is more than a little ridiculous. Un-Christian even, if I may, as an atheist, say so. And I would assume that MN State Archaeologist Scott Anfinson would have been included among the principalities had he ruled against Rejoice!.

That the conflict was resolved in part because of Rejoice!’s "desire to be good neighbors" (Nfld News reporter Suzy Rook’s words) seems disingenuous, given Clites’ words a few days prior. That he would use the words of Jesus ("Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead") to argue that his opponents’ beliefs about the sacredness of grave sites are misplaced is outrageous.

Clites owes these people an apology.

Here’s the full text and screen capture of the Rejoice! Update Dec. 6 – Dec. 12, 2010 by Pastor Dan Clites:


Rejoice! Update Dec. 6 - Dec. 12, 2010

Dear Friends,

Here is a brief Building Campaign update:  We continue to move steadily along in raising our projected budget goal of $750,000.  Keep in mind that we have already invested over $230,000 for our current ministry site.  Praise God, for we are doing well!  Thank you for your continued sacrificial giving towards adding a worship center and parking lot onto our current ministry site so we can start worshipping on campus— hopefully by the fall.

As mentioned in our December 5th worship service, we have recently come against principalities of opposition (Ephesians 6:12).  Why should we expect anything less?  When a church serves in the Light of the Holy Spirit, darkness will not like it.  Most of the opposition has come from a local family that doesn’t want us moving the Cleland grave site 50-feet and into the northend cemetery.  They believe it is disrespectful to the dead. Our Building Team believes the most respectful and historic thing to do is gracefully move the remains and the headstones so they are not in the way of our important expansion. 

From all this, we are now expecting an article about the "grave situation" in the Northfield News this coming week.  Please know that your Building Team has done everything legally and morally.  In fact, our plans have already been approved by the city of Dundas.  While we are sensitive to the past, our calling is to take the gospel to the living so they may not die in their sins (Romans 6:1-14).  Please do not write a letter to the editor in response to the article.  IF that is needed, it will come from the Vision and Building Teams.  Thanks for your great trust and your prayers of support for the mission we share.

One day an interested party asked Jesus to come along with him.  Jesus said, "Yes!"  The man’s reply, however, showed that his priority was misplaced:  "Lord, first let me go and bury my father."  But Jesus told him, "Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead."  (Matthew 8: 21-22).

Our mission at Rejoice! is to follow Jesus for the sake of life in proclamation of the true gospel.  There is no higher purpose!

This coming Sunday, December 12th, I’ll continue our Advent Message series on "Signs of a Coming Savior".  We’ll take a look at Luke 2 and see three Signs of a higher Christmas purpose: Celebration, Salvation and Reconciliation.

Until then, have a GOD-week!

– Pastor Dan Clites


  1. Kathie Galotti said:

    Wow. Just….wow.

    December 14, 2010
  2. Paul Zorn said:

    Wow indeed.

    Attributing disagreement to “darkness” and “principalities of opposition” takes the ad hominem fallacy to new heights. Or depths, in this instance.

    December 14, 2010
  3. Hermann Weinlick said:

    This is bizarre! How has the conflict been resolved?

    December 14, 2010
  4. Helen Albers said:

    Hello Griff,

    I’ll fwd my letter to editor Sam Gett, which Suzy Rook refused to print in the News.


    To: Sam Gett
    Subject: Letter to the Editor

    Editor Gett,

    Please know that there were several discrepancies in Suzy Rook’s article on our Cleland family graves and Rejoice Church!

    I informed her that Dan Clites, minister at Rejoice Church, has told repeatedly that the Cleland family was contacted for a meeting, which is untrue. She printed this in her article when she had been told that NO Cleland was ever contacted! She reported that the family was “OK” with this. Never. No Cleland was “pressured” as Rook wrote in her article.

    She wrote that “Helen Albers husband was raised on Union Lake.” No, my husband was raised on our Albers’ farm in Little Prairie (1/2 way to Faribault on Hwy 3.) Rook had taken notes and was aware that my mother-in-law, Beatrice Cleland Albers, was raised on the Cleland Union Lake farm.

    Rejoice has changed parking lot plans, “That decision, whose mother-in-law, Beatrice Albers, was related to Wllliam C. Cleland, pleases Helen Albers.” Now, how could she write that this pleased me when I did not know about changed parking plans?

    A plan to move the graves was moot because of an order from Scott Anfinson, State of Minnesota Archeologist, not by Rejoice Church decision to revamp its parking plan. The church was informed by Anfinson that the parking must be 20 feet away from the Cleland graves!

    William C. Cleland , builder of Holy Cross Church in Dundas, was buried in 1889 beside his wife, Mary. Family graves may Not be moved unless the family requests. All of the Cleland family wants our ancestors to “Rest in Peace.”

    I was told by Suzy Rook that several letters from the Cleland family had been received, and one was signed by numerous family members, but none were ever published. Why?

    I shared many historical facts, which tied the Founder of Dundas, John S. Archibald, and William C. Cleland to the early days of Dundas, Minnesota. Unreported history.

    My phone rang all afternoon as Northfielders inquired why there was inaccurate reporting, and I heard the question, “Does Suzy Rook attend Rejoice Church? Most felt the report was biased with few facts about our large historic Cleland clan.

    We long for the Northfield News to report facts accurately which are given to their reporter in an interview. We are loyal readers of the Northfield News and we expect that!

    Thank you very much,

    Helen Albers
    200 4th St. E., #4
    Northfield, MN 55057

    December 14, 2010
  5. Griff Wigley said:

    I’m not sure it has been resolved, Hermann, as the Rejoice! expansion plans may conflict in other ways with the National Register of Historic Places designation.

    December 14, 2010
  6. Griff Wigley said:

    That’s quite a list of discrepancies in the Nfld News article, Helen. Thanks for posting it here.

    I thought it odd that Suzy Rook didn’t attribute or quote Dan Clites on the "desire to be good neighbors" phrase but wrote it in a way that made it her words.

    That pressure, along with a desire to be good neighbors has led Rejoice! to rework its initial plan. It’s now working on a redesign that will leave the graves, which are encircled by decorative metal fencing, intact.

    Either that’s just a mistake or she indeed has a bias towards Rejoice! as you wondered.

    December 14, 2010
  7. Helen Albers said:

    Good question, Reverend Weinlick.

    You always have an ear for the truth!

    December 15, 2010
  8. Bruce Roberts said:

    The top, center story on the Rejoice Church Web page (as of Dec. 15) identifies, that as a result Rejoice Church’s interest in “moving a couple graves on our ministry property” they have learned a lesson about “culture thinking vs. church thinking”.

    Pastor Clites’ separation of Northfield’s culture from Northfield’s churches is more than a little ironic, given Northfield’s 20 churches, and long history of thoughtful attention to matters of the church.

    What is “culture thinking”?

    A lesson to be learned about culture thinking from this current conflict over the graves in the former Holy Cross church grounds in Dundas, is that it is important to have a concern for our community’s history, and it is valuable to have a continuing care for loved ones past by family members.

    What then is “church thinking”?

    Is it what Pastor Dan Clites’ writes in his Rejoice Update of Dec.6-Dec.12.? Pastor Clites’ chooses to address actions and interests of others with negatively charged quotes from our Bible, and he chooses to imply from another Bible quote that we should “let the dead bury their own dead”?

    If this is “church thinking”, then I am hard pressed to see a necessary middle ground of understanding where we can all listen with respect to each other’s beliefs and interests.

    December 15, 2010
  9. Stephanie Henriksen said:

    I have been aware of the discomfort so many Dundas area residents are experiencing in regard to Holy Cross for some time. I was relieved to see the issue of the graves brought forward in Saturday paper, errors and all.

    The computer rendition of the site plan submitted by Rejoice! I find fascinating. The gated monument and graves in question (not far from the east side of the church) appear to be a football field away.

    December 15, 2010
  10. Griff Wigley said:

    Thanks, Stephanie. I’ll see if I can get a file or image of the site plan and post it here.

    December 15, 2010
  11. Griff Wigley said:

    Thanks for chiming in, Bruce.

    Since I’m not versed in enough of the details of the issue thus far, I’m not ready to weigh in on what should happen.

    I just object to this particular tactic that Dan Clites is using.

    December 15, 2010
  12. Helen Albers said:


    After several exchanges with Suzy Rook, the Northfield News refused to print my corrections to her story.
    I was told by her that she would print, “my husband was not raised on Union Lake, but I stand by the rest.”
    She was told the editor must be an honorable man, and he would not want untruths published. We insist on accuracy!
    No more letters to the Nfld News!
    Thanks for comment!

    December 16, 2010
  13. Stephanie Henriksen said:


    The website version of the NNews story you posted at the start of this topic does not include the graphic of the building plan shown in the Saturday paper, p.11A. Can you post it?

    The graves do not intrude as far into the parking lot area as this graphic suggests. The addition (which I am told is only Phase l) would seem to be out of character with the original structures.

    December 16, 2010
  14. Griff Wigley said:

    Here’s a cropped photo of the page from last week’s print edition of the Nfld News showing the image of Rejoice’s planned addition to the church. Click to enlarge:

    December 16, 2010
  15. Kathie Galotti said:

    I guess I still want to know if Suzy Rook (or anyone above her at the NNews) has an affiliation with Rejoice! church. It’s bad enough to make the kind of errors and omissions that Helen Albers is describing in earlier posts; it’s still worse if the bias was a motivated one.

    December 17, 2010
  16. Jane Moline said:

    There are a number of problems caused by the Rejoice! church, mostly through their pastor. He told members of the former Holy Cross congregation that they could hold services in the church–causing the former congregation to leave much of the “furniture” and other accouterments in the church proper–instead of removing them and donating them to the Rice County Historical Society or the Dundas Historical Society and thus preserving them from being scattered.

    Subsequently, when it was found on the Rejoice website that they were selling the pews, some quick thinking Dundasians quickly mustered and attempted to purchase all of the pews so they would not be lost. The Rejoice church went on to rip out the dedication plaques from the church interior walls, and ripped out and sold the beautiful little pipe organ the congregation had purchased and installed in the early 80s. The pipe organ was historically appropriate for the church and had been the center of not only the church services but also many wonderful organ recitals given by local and visiting organists.

    I don’t doubt the Rejoice congregation has no idea of what was told to the Holy Cross congregants that kept them from mounting a defense or to prevent the sale, destruction and desecration of their beautiful much-loved and always well-cared-for little stone church. These poor people had their church stolen from them and then sold out from under them–and now Rejoice believes that means they are morally right to destroy the church in favor of their big ugly box.

    The tactics of Dan Clites are to bully anyone outside his church and dissemble to his own congregation. His claim that he is doing everything legal is no excuse for treating people with such disrespect, nor for the treatment of this historically significant and beautiful church.

    The city of Dundas has neither the legal right nor say over cemeteries and gravesites–claiming that Dundas gave them legal permission shows their disregard for any legalities or moralities or feelings of anyone outside the congregation. Their attitude seems to be “If they can slip it by the city of Dundas then it is OK!”

    Shame on Rejoice for picking on a bunch of old ladies–and accusing them of being evil! Hiding behind the claim that it is all legal is no excuse. Hiding behind a truly overblown claim of doing God’s work is downright disgusting.

    December 17, 2010
  17. Kathie Galotti said:

    Wow again. This is like getting all Peyton Place. Who is this pastor? How does this kind of behavior, which seems to be ongoing bullying, get overlooked or tolerated. My God!

    December 17, 2010
  18. Helen Albers said:

    Kathie and Jane,

    Wow! Our first response comes in louder all over my hometown.
    Minister Clites may say, “God often sends trials to the righteous to test their faith.”
    All I asked for was the truth to come out, and to Jane, a big WOW!
    Thanks, Helen Albers

    December 17, 2010
  19. Barb Kuhlman said:

    Wow, Wow, and Wow. Griff, thanks for posting this. Thanks to Helen for attempting to make the truth known, and to Jane for her clear and thoughtful comments. Pastor Clites’ comments truly are offensive, not only to the Cleland family, the former occupants of Holy Cross, and the city of Dundas. Biblical scripture is often mis-read, misinterpreted, and misused. “Even the devil can cite scripture for his own purposes,” Shakespeare wrote. I agree with you, Griff, that to cite those scripture verses to advance his own agenda at the expense of the family, the city, and the community of faith that preceded Rejoice, is indeed an un-Christian act. And I agree with others that what Rejoice has done and is doing to the church and grounds is a desecration of hallowed space.

    December 18, 2010
  20. I’m not sure why anyone would be surprised by this behavior coming from the leader of a fundamentalist denomination. All-or-Nothing. Right-or-Wrong. Us-versus-Them. Good-versus-Evil. These are the paranoid absolutes with which fundamentalist blast and cower their congregations. They don’t have many other plays in their playbook. The name of the game is increasing their congregations, bringing in more money and gleaning power by numbers through the abuse and misuse of honest Christianity.

    December 18, 2010
  21. David Ludescher said:


    Do you seriously believe that Clites blasts and cowers his congregation or that Rejoice! is interested in bringing in more money and gleaning power?

    According to Anfinson, this type of issue happens fairly regularly. The folks involved seemed to have come up with some reasonable solutions.

    I doesn’t strike me that Christianity or fundamentalists have much to do with the story, except perhaps as an excuse to attack a pastor and his congregation for being fundamentalists.

    December 18, 2010
  22. David,

    Clites’ communication as cited in the original post is reprehensible. Positioning legitimate opposition by the family as some force of “darkness” is just absolutist bullshit. Yes, I seriously believe that he uses such mischaracterization as a deliberate tactic, and I know full well that this belief will, therefore, make me evil in their eyes. So be it.

    You answered your own question, David: it does not have anything to do with Christianity. It has to do with its abuse for the sake of personal power. I believe his form of demonizing needs to be vociferously attacked wherever encountered. It is poisonous.

    David, do you think he doesn’t want more money or power in terms of his number of followers?

    December 18, 2010
  23. Actually, David, a better question would be: Do you think that a religious leader should be challenged when framing an issue like this?

    I say yes, and I will say yes for a very, very long time. If he wants to wrap himself in Jesus and then treat people like quite the opposite, he joins a long line of fundamentalist preachers who have behaved similarly over many years.

    Seriously, there’s a deep and rich tradition.

    He can talk whatever kind of smack he wants, and anyone has the right to talk smack back.

    Why did he chose to frame the issue as he did to his congregation and to take the compassionate, good neighbor path in the newspaper? Which is real? That reeks of manipulation and hypocrisy.

    December 18, 2010
  24. Sorry, David, one more. You may not think “Christianity and fundamentalism have much to do with the story,” but I would say you are in error. Pastor Clites is having no problem framing this as a Christian issue with his language. Why wouldn’t people cite that language, or the obvious fact that he is a Christian pastor, in countering his hyperbole?

    December 18, 2010
  25. Jane Moline said:

    Brendon (and David L.):

    I think this has more to do with a poorly skilled and ignorant church leader who covers his own abysmal social and political skills by claiming that anyone against him must be evil–it makes him look like a hero to his congregation and is an excuse for the opposition he caused by his brutish treatment of the community outside his congregation.

    Sincerely–if Clites had approached the family (and the former congregants of Holy Cross) in an open and Christian manner he would not have caused this drama. His congregants deserve to know that he is the snake in the grass–and that it is not the other way around.

    December 18, 2010
  26. Jane Moline said:

    Or, in the famous words of Pogo, “We have met the enemy, and he is us.” Clites IS the “principalities of oppression.”

    December 18, 2010
  27. Helen Albers said:

    Shall we cool the rhetoric which is not helpful to our preservation cause.

    The issue is graves, parking lots, history, space and ‘promises.”

    December 18, 2010
  28. David Ludescher said:


    Reprehensible to whom and for what reason?

    I don’t know to what Pastor Clites was referring when he is citing the forces of darkness. But, I don’t think that he was referring to the families objecting. I think he was referring to the obstacles the congregation has had to overcome to get the church built. He framed the issue much differently for his congregation than he did for the public.

    Should you or I challenge him for how he frames the issue for the congregation? Sure, if we are one of his congregants. But, we aren’t, and it isn’t fair for us to render judgment on what he intended, especially when we don’t have the context of their struggle and the general theology of the congregation.

    To the general public (us), the issue was between the buyer and the deceased (who have representation through the descendants and the State). All interested parties seem to have come up with a reasonable solution to what is essentially a development issue. I think Clites was fairly clear that the Church wanted to remove the remains and the descendants wanted them to stay. He also showed some prudent leadership in telling his congregants to not write letters, and make it an issue.

    December 18, 2010
  29. David Ludescher said:


    Calling Pastor Clites poorly skilled, ignorant, a snake, disingenuous, or un-Christian is not only unproductive, but it is the same kind of behavior that the 3 of you apparently find reprehensible.

    December 18, 2010
  30. David,

    Nice legalistic answer. That’s your profession. But I have every right to criticize what I see as standard religious demagoguery whether I’m in a congregation or not. I am not viewing this as you are.

    To answer the question: I (referring to myself only) find it reprehensible for all the reasons I’ve stated above. I have every right to do so. Your legal advice is irrelevant to my take on this issue. It is not how I’m looking at it.

    You are wanting to give the benefit of the doubt and naively believe the best about the obvious hypocrisy on display. I think you’re wrong in this case.

    December 19, 2010
  31. No, David, what I find reprehensible – I can only assume I am one of the “3” – is someone BEING disingenuous, un-Christian and hypocritical. Calling someone out on their behavior is pretty damn important, especially a purported moral leader. Did you not read “The Emperor’s New Clothes?”

    December 19, 2010
  32. Also, David, what’s your optimistic take on Clites’ citing of “…let the dead bury their own dead?” Surely, you don’t see this as referring to broader issues. The target seems pretty clear.

    December 19, 2010
  33. David Ludescher said:


    You and I can do what we want with Pastor Clites’ words. But, the fact remains that those words were to his congregation, not us. Nevertheless, a charitable reading of what Pastor Clites said would suggest that he was telling his congregation to have faith that this issue would be solved.

    Even if you weren’t interested in being charitable, see Helen Albers post at 15. This is about graves, parking lots, history, space, and “promises”, not about what Clites said. What he said doesn’t have anything to do with the issues.

    The “dead burying the dead” reference has always been a difficult Scripture passage for me to understand, even within my own faith. I don’t want to hazard a guess what Clites intended by the reference. But, I don’t have any doubt that your references to fundamental preachers and their “paranoid absolutes” was directed right at Rejoice!.

    December 19, 2010
  34. Jane Moline said:

    David L: I agree that it is not productive to “call names.” However, I am trying to reason out why Clites acted as he did. He has shown a certain persona in the newspaper article yet acted and treated people in an entirely different and offensive manner when in private–and then posted to his congregation that he is battling “principalities of oppression.”

    The battles with which he is involved are of his own making–either he did it on purpose to fool his congregation into thinking that he is an heroic leader or he is that inept at interpersonal skills that this is a pattern in his life. (I think more likely the latter given his ability to make so many so mad so quickly.)

    Frankly, I expect ministers, as church leaders, to be held to a higher standard in how they conduct themselves and I do think it is important to call them out when they fail.

    He decided to pick on a few very nice, sweet, little old ladies. I find that reprehensible behavior. To hide behind his religion makes it that much worse.

    No one would have even said anything about Rejoice’s disregard for and destruction of that beautiful little church if Clites had not been so dishonest and, frankly, creepy, about his insistence that everyone fall in line with his plans for the graves.

    December 19, 2010
  35. Helen Albers said:

    This “grave situation” originated with the very large local Cleland clan, and many from across the country.

    The Cleland family members are strong, vibrant individuals, not just “very sweet, little, old ladies!”

    Clites surely did dump our clan into the “darkness!”

    December 19, 2010
  36. Jane Moline said:

    Sorry, Helen… there were certainly some middle-aged men included in Clites directive–but most of the Holy Cross Congregation are sweet older ladies-and anyone who knows Helen Albers knows that she is not known to associate with principalities of oppression.

    December 19, 2010
  37. David,

    I never claimed my words weren’t directed at him. I’m confused. Have I been too subtle? You seem to be implying that I am trying to hide my intent. David, I am writing about what this means to me. Again, these are my opinions about his words and how he chose to air them. I guess you want to paint me as an oppressor of their religious freedom, which is odd. I have been a harsh critic, yes. Am I not guaranteed the freedom to be so?

    December 19, 2010
  38. David,

    I will beg off this discussion. I clearly have offended your sensibilities as much as you have offended mine, and neither of us needs that, and I doubt we’ll come to any sort of meaningful resolution about it. We don’t need to come to a resolution, of course, but neither do we need to repeat ourselves endlessly.

    December 19, 2010
  39. David Ludescher said:


    I haven’t heard anyone complain about Clites except the folks here on Locally Grown. Apparently, the complaint is that Clites shouldn’t have told his congregation what he did. Ironically, it appears to be the avowed atheists who are complaining the loudest about how Clites is using Scripture.

    December 19, 2010
  40. David Ludescher said:


    Clites’ behavior seems reasonable enough – find a solution to the grave problem. One solution was to move them; another solution was to leave them.

    I think what you find reprehensible are his words.

    December 19, 2010
  41. David Ludescher said:


    I don’t know what “offend my sensibilities” means.

    I just thought Pastor Clites and his congregation deserved some defense, especially from some of the groundless accusations being made.

    There are probably plenty of hucksters that get into the religion business to make money or feed people a bunch of b.s. But, I don’t think the good folks at Rejoice! fit into that category.

    December 19, 2010
  42. Michelle Hawkins said:

    I’m a Christian. I have been to fundamentalist churches in the past. It doesn’t seem like that should matter when appraising a preacher, any preacher.

    They are teachers of the Word of God and, as Christians, are to model the behavior of Jesus as closely as they,as humble humans, can.

    Without getting too preachy, the question one must ask when looking at Clites behavior (and you MUST include his words, as to a true beleiver it is certain that words have power), the question is What Would Jesus Have Done? Would he have been so callous? Would he let the money changers tear down a house of worship and break hearts in such a manner for thier own Philistine practice?

    I’m just a little ol lady myself, so of course what I have to say is irrelevant, however I see nothing CHRISTian in the way Clites/Rejoice has handled any of this.

    December 19, 2010
  43. Kathie Galotti said:


    I have to jump in here to agree with Jane and Brendon. It’s one thing for anyone, even a pastor, to advocate strenuously for what one wants. But to call one’s opponents “principalities of oppression” and to tie them in with dark forces is a low and unfair blow. And I believe unworthy of a person of the cloth–of whatever denomination. It’s absolutely right to call Pastor Clites out on this. Whether he was only speaking to his congregation or the general public, it’s reprehensible language to use.

    December 19, 2010
  44. Michelle Hawkins said:

    Kathie- you are so right. Clites’ words and actions are that of the biblical Pharasees who twisted word and scripture to serve their own pursuits of power.
    Distinctly not Christian.
    In this regard Brendan is correct in his description of some fundamentalists.
    The Pharasees were legalistic and lacked compassion for any who questioned them or their ways. Scripture was always used to justify thier actions, including their part in the death of Christ.

    December 19, 2010
  45. Paul Zorn said:

    Kathie and others,

    From the Department of (minor) Corrections: The phrase “principalities of oppression” has been referenced a couple of times in this discussion, but the original appears to be “principalities of opposition”.

    I have no clear idea what either phrase means.

    December 20, 2010
  46. David Ludescher said:


    Ah pooey! They are swatting flies with a hammer.

    Consider this: In response to the “principalities of opposition” and “dark forces”, Brendon and Jane called Pastor Clites a poorly skilled, ignorant, fundamentalist, preacher blasting and cowering his congregation with paranoid absolutes in the name of money and power.

    How about the title, “Rejoice! Spiritual Wickedness Triumphs in Dundas”? That is a little more nuanced than the other name-calling, but it is in the same vein.

    December 20, 2010
  47. Griff Wigley said:

    Ah, you were right, Jane… I think I fixed it now. Let’s see if this comment gets numbered correctly. (I deleted previous ones related to the glitch. Apologies to everyone else for the mess!)

    December 20, 2010
  48. john george said:

    Griff- It is always good to have someone un-clog the blog. Thanks.

    December 20, 2010
  49. kiffi summa said:

    to Helen Albers:
    Ms. Albers… in order to lessen the rhetoric, as you asked and increase the facts of this matter, can you please answer the following:
    1. What permits does the city of Dundas have to give, and what have been given to this point?

    2. What information do you have, from the State Historical Office (officers) on the restrictions on the relocation of the graves and the incompatibility of the proposed building addition? I believe these would be under the jurisdiction of two separate officers…

    3. Have you familiarized yourself with the provisions of MN Statute 307.8, which regulates private cemeteries, as well as related historical issues? or is that unnecessary because of mr. Anfinson’s work?

    4. Are you familiar with the MN. Environmental Rights Act (MN statute 116B)?
    In the initial PURPOSE paragraph it outlines the right of every MN citizen to protect the environmental resources of the state; ‘standing’ ( usually related to financial connections) is not necessary. Historic properties are defined in the definitions of the act as protected environmental resources.
    You may have the basis for a lawsuit…

    December 21, 2010
  50. Kiffi,

    1. What permits does the city of Dundas have to give, and what have been given to this point?

    The planning commission approved the CUP because the proposal was within the technical requirements of codes for use, offsets, etc. We (the PC) had no legal ground to vote against the PUC. Getting an approved building plan will be tougher, and is essentially a staff-action item, there are the gravesiting questions (MN archeologist determines this) and the whole historical registry problems ( do not know what aspects of the building were listed as part of the historical registry). There may be issues with run-off and water retention (ask Mr Zander about how those can play out). Getting a variance will be much harder than in the past, given a recent court ruling making granting variances much harder.

    2. What information do you have, from the State Historical Office (officers) on the restrictions on the relocation of the graves and the incompatibility of the proposed building addition? I believe these would be under the jurisdiction of two separate officers…

    I believe, Kiffi, that you nailed it here. There is a state archeologist who rules on gravesites and there is the National Register of Historic Places

    4. Are you familiar with the MN. Environmental Rights Act (MN statute 116B)?
    In the initial PURPOSE paragraph it outlines the right of every MN citizen to protect the environmental resources of the state; ‘standing’ ( usually related to financial connections) is not necessary. Historic properties are defined in the definitions of the act as protected environmental resources.
    You may have the basis for a lawsuit…

    But Kiffi and I are not lawyers, so see Hvistendahl’s Mistake #1 on the list of top ten mistakes.

    December 21, 2010
  51. Helen Albers said:

    Th City of Dundas City Admin,. John McCarthy, informed me that Rejoice! Church was given a Conditional Use but Not a Permit. They are aware of how many Dundas people are “Unhappy and angry over what is going on at that church.” Of course, many of the Historic Register laws have come up, which had not been checked out by the authorities previously.

    Our State of Minnesota archeologist was “stunned” to see the size of the church which is planned as a building cannot be built, which would detract from the “look or feel” of the building on the National Historic Register! The addition to which the new church would be attached is included in the National Registry with the old stone Church of the Holy Cross.
    And, it was just brought to light that the “interior” of Holy Cross was gutted!
    WHO is in charge, I ask?!
    Family graves may NOT be moved unless a family requests! Local morticians agree on this point, as do the Laws in regard to moving old graves. “They are family and must be protected.” The Cleland graves have been cared for since 1889!!
    It is mandatory that the City of Dundas do an Environmental Study( EAW), since this site is on the National Registry. If they choose not to do this, a Citizen’s Group may do the EAW Petition.
    This will be turned over to our State of Minnesota Historical Society for a ruling after our competent State Archeologist, Scott Anfinson, makes his ruling with the Power of the State of Minnesota behind him!
    I have certainly become familiar with the Statutes to which you referred, Kiffi.
    Our environment is a major consideration for all of us.

    Bruce, you are correct that there are two separate officials in charge, the State of Minnesota Archeologist, and the State of Minnesota Historical Society. And, of course, the National Registry of Historical Places.

    The Cleland family is secure that our ancestors will “Rest in Peace,” and pleased that there has been such great response and support. Thank you!

    December 21, 2010
  52. Stephanie Henriksen said:

    My computer crashed again as I was trying to follow up on Jane’s comment #11. Now that the state archaeologist has made clear that the graves cannot be moved, there is still the matter of the stripping of the sanctuary. A promise was made that Holy Cross folks could hold funerals and other special occasions there. That promise was broken.

    Rev. Clites could, I suppose, recall as many of the artifacts as possible (pews, altar, baptismal font, organ, etc.) and restore the space. I guess it depends on how much he and Rejoice! members care about acceptance in the Dundas community.

    Conversation has moved on to the permits (CUP)) granted to this point. I found the minutes of the Sept. 16 Planning Commission meeting chaired by Bruce Morlan in the November Dundas Messenger over the weekend. In conducting this public hearing, it seems Dundas staff were unaware that a mandatory EAW (environmental assessment worksheet) is required in this case.

    Environmental review is generally done BEFORE going forward with CUP and site permits. But this oversight could still be corrected. Anyone know if Dundas is calling for the EAW?

    December 21, 2010
  53. David Ludescher said:


    I have reviewed Ephesians together with Clites’s statement and your interpretation.

    I think you owe Clites and his congregation for a) what you said b)for inciting others to join in the name-calling, and c)for not reprimanding the name-callers.

    December 22, 2010
  54. Sorry, David, I said I was out, but this is ludicrous.

    So, it’s not okay for us to use blunt and honest words to criticize a purported moral leader, but it’s fine for Clites to damn those who are making his expansion plans for a church a little more difficult?

    These are very subjective standards, David, and standard you are holding is double. I stand by my criticisms as just and justified by Clites’ hypocrisy.

    I, therefore, take it upon myself to reprimand you for reasoning naively and not seeing the danger of those who lead with duplicitous piety.

    December 22, 2010
  55. Also, stop trying to strengthen your argument by claiming this is about Clites’ congregation. My beef has been with him alone, his words, his behavior. I believe others in this thread have been similarly targeted in their remonstrations.

    December 22, 2010
  56. David, I will also expect an apology from you to all those in Northfield whom you chastise and criticize repeatedly (indeed, for whom you invented the acronym) as NIMPUs. Why do you label them as such? Because they disagree with your interpretation of how to spend taxpayer money.

    December 22, 2010
  57. john george said:

    David- I wasn’t going to get into this, either, but I have to agree with you on this. This is what Eph 6:12 says-
    ” For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
    Seems pretty obvious that the struggle with the church modificastions is not against the Cleland family, nor the city of Dundas, nor against the various detractors on this blog. Taking one communication and presenting it with no background really does not portray an accurate picture. Thanks for taking up the discussion.

    December 22, 2010
  58. David Ludescher said:


    Your post at 14 was blunt but I don’t think it was accurate. You equated Clites with your own version of what a “fundamentalist” preacher is without any evidence that Clites is out for money or cowers his congregation. More importantly, your comments were irrelevant to the issue of the graves.

    Perhaps most importantly, a more careful reading of Ephesians leads me to conclude that author of Ephesians intended a much different meaning that you attribute to Clites (see John’s comments below).

    December 22, 2010
  59. David Ludescher said:

    No. Brendon. Neither of us know what Clites actually meant. Your beef is based upon your personal interpretation, which doesn’t appear to have support in Scripture (nor the rest of the website). I prefer a more charitable interpretation which is consistent with Ephesians and what is posted on the rest of the website.

    December 22, 2010
  60. Bobbi Bolton said:


    I appreciate your comments. I wrote a letter to Clites regarding the subject before it came out in the newspaper. He did not bother to reply. I stated my understanding that Rejoice was simply trying to follow through with their development of the property they had purchased (at bargain basement price!) I asked him to be a “good neighbor” to our community… the former Holy Cross community – the Dundas community.

    December 22, 2010
  61. Helen Albers said:

    A brief suggestion for David and Brendon..

    Why not take Ephesians, drop into a local Pub and “lighten

    Happy Holidays!

    December 22, 2010
  62. Donna Cleland Kuhlman said:

    I am a Cleland by birth, a signer of one of the many letters written to protest the moving of the Cleland graves at Holy Cross. It seems to me that Rev. Clites’ statements to his congregation and the press, as well as his unstated motives, not to mention his ideology, are all irrelevant to the public interest. It’s still a free country: he can say what he wants, and believe as he chooses; and he is entitled to elicit the support of like-minded souls.

    He is, however, bound by laws that govern specific activities. Disturbing human burial sites without due process, and making unauthorized changes to a structure included on the National Registry of Historic Places are the only pertinent issues here.

    As far as the graves are concerned, it seems likely that due process will forbid the relocation of the graves of William and Mary Cleland. Really, how hard can it be to include a dignified accommodation of this historic memorial in the larger land use plan?

    With regard to the building itself, it would have been lovely if the little stone church could have endured in its original configuration in perpetuity; but current trends in religion (and the real estate market) have made that untenable. The incorporation of the Holy Cross chapel into a larger contemporary religious facility might well have been an acceptable re-purposing, had it been handled more thoughtfully. To have “gutted” the chapel without regard to aesthetic considerations was barbaric and shortsighted; to have done so without regard to blithe promises made to the former congregation was cruel and unconscionable; but the only salient point is that this was done contrary to the laws that apply to it as a protected historic site. It remains now for the Minnesota State Historical Society to determine the extent of the damages, assess penalties or remedies, if any; and oversee any further changes.

    I do think it unfortunate that no one else from the Rejoice Church congregation has weighed in on this topic; there are surely some among them who are dismayed at the heartless dismantling of the historic church and the dismissive characterization of a burial site as, “a few old bones.” I would remind them that charismatic leaders who presume to be the sole voice for their flocks have a history of turning out badly. Don’t drink the Kool-Aid.

    There are some ancillary lessons to be learned here.

    To anyone selling anything with some expectation of control, use, access, etc., after the fact: if you don’t have it in writing, you don’t have it, period. Assuming that anyone, faith community or otherwise, will honor a vague verbal agreement, is a serious error, as the Holy Cross community has sadly learned.

    Re the Northfield News, and their reporting: It is useful to remember that newspapers are privately owned, for-profit businesses, not public utilities. Short of outright libel, they can print anything they like, with any bias they happen to harbor. Newspapers in America have historically had strong political and religious alliances, and their readers used to know that. The papers haven’t shed their biases, but they seldom openly acknowledge them anymore. Just because there’s only one paper in town doesn’t mean it’s an egalitarian voice of the people. Locallygrown is a valuable asset to the community in that it provides balance to the print competition; and an interactive forum as well. But readers should keep in mind that this forum, too, might have its biases.

    And finally, a reminder that if you cherish your little home church (or community theater or the animal shelter, or anything else you find worthy) then you must contribute in some way to its support, lest it fade away.

    December 22, 2010
  63. Bobbi Bolton said:


    Thank you for all your work on this. I am so please that there have been so many responses and that this subject was covered on the front page of Northfield News …

    December 22, 2010
  64. David Ludescher said:

    Ms. Kuhlman,

    Excellent summary of the “real” issues with Rejoice!.

    December 23, 2010
  65. Paul Zorn said:


    You said in 14.1.7 (my emphasis):

    This is about graves, parking lots, history, space, and “promises”, not about what Clites said. What he said doesn’t have anything to do with the issues.

    I disagree. This discussion is all about “what Clites said”, and was framed that way from the beginning. In his setup Griff explicitly avoided taking any position on “graves, parking lots, history, space, and promises”.

    True, these larger issues (graves, parking lots, “promises” …) matter most to people directly affected and, arguably, to the public interest. (Thanks, Donna Cleland Kuhlman, for your cogent summary of these matters.)

    But Pastor Clites’s references to “darkness” and “principalities of opposition” first sparked this thread, and they’re perfectly valid topics of discussion. You seem to feel that Pastor Clites was alluding wholly to otherworldly forces, not to specific people or ordinances. To me this interpretation seems altogether too “charitable” (your word), given the words quoted above:

    … we have recently come against principalities of opposition (Ephesians 6:12). Why should we expect anything less? When a church serves in the Light of the Holy Spirit, darkness will not like it. Most of the opposition has come from a local family …

    It seems to me that any disinterested reader would draw the obvious conclusion (note the two “opposition”s just a few words apart): “a local family” is somehow promoting “darkness” and the “principalities”. A charitable stretch might allow, I suppose, that the alliance is unwitting, but to me the demonization of “opposition” seems clearly present in the words themselves.

    I’ve “examined” Ephesians 6, too, but see little connection between what its writer intended and what Pastor Clites is reported to have said.

    December 23, 2010
  66. David Ludescher said:


    I basically agree with everything you said. But, assuming your interpretation, I’m not sure what conclusions are to be drawn.

    Technically, the post doesn’t present any issue to the readers – except perhaps, “Clites owes these people an apology.”.

    I prefer a charitable interpretation of what Clites was trying to say. I would like to believe that he didn’t mean “these people” any ill will. I would like to believe that he intended to remind his congregation that there are principalities of opposition in the world that work against the Light, and for the Darkness.

    Obviously an interested congregant could have a much different interpretation than a disinterested academic, an attorney, or an avowed atheist. And all these interpretations may be different from what Clites intended – which we don’t really know.

    That all begs the question of whether we should spending time parsing the words of Pastor Clites to his congregants. It might be a valid topic, but to whom? Aren’t we making a mountain out of a molehill? Is this so important that people are justified in calling Clites a snake and a cowering fundamentalist preacher in a public forum?

    December 23, 2010
  67. Kathie Galotti said:


    i remain offended and put off by the language Pastor Clites chose to use. For a ‘man of God’ to use (at best) ambiguous language that might be interpreted, reasonably, as equating “opposition” with “dark forces” is a misuse of the authority he has as a minister. That is an issue worthy of public comment and discussion, over and above all the other comments. The comments from Pastor Clites are written messages to his flock–they aren’t from a private conversation. They seem, in the context in which they were made, designed to incite religious fervor to settle a dispute. It seems wrong, and it worries me to have this kind of dialogue go unchallenged in Northfield. We’ve got way too many “undiscussable” issues as it is!

    December 23, 2010
  68. David Ludescher said:


    I was trying to be charitable in assigning motives to Pastor Clites. Others have not been so charitable.

    It seems to me that the proper way to “challenge” this dialogue is to speak to Pastor Clites to see if your offense is justified, not publish it to the congregation of Locally Grown.

    December 23, 2010
  69. john george said:

    Kathy- I remember a couple years ago when a local playwright titled one of his works in a sexually suggestive fashion that offended many people in town. After some discussion, on this blog, it became apparent that the content of the play did not follow the lines that I interpreted in the title. Sometimes, understanding a person’s motivations clears up many an offensive reaction. Since Pastor Clites has chosen not to debate his words in this setting, I think David’s suggestion of contacting him directly is reasonable. I think he would be open to your inquirey. I interpret his admonition to his congregation is to remember where the “opposition” is coming from and not take personal offense to various peoples’ statements or actions. I think this is what David is alluding to, also, when he says he is taking a “charitable” position, but he can certainly confirm this himself.

    December 23, 2010
  70. Michelle Hawkins said:

    John & David – “interpreting” is not necessary. Clites’ words and their intent are easily discerned when read in context of the whole statement. Charity is fine but wouldn’t be necessary if he had some himself when he thought out his written words.

    His intent is clear.

    As I said, I’ve been to many churches over the years and even helped to seed one here in Northfield that in all good conscience I had to take my leave of, because the pastor was very much like Clites.

    I wish that pastor, and Clites well, and pray their Creator knows them, however their fervent rhetoric misses the mark on so many levels.

    In context of the paragraph, the intent is insulting to his human christian opposition and meant to be so.

    “Charity” would have all of us praying for his soul and the souls that follow him, rather than dissecting online.

    December 24, 2010
  71. Griff Wigley said:

    I used the form on the Rejoice! church’s Contact Us page to invite Dan Clites to comment on my blog post within minutes of my publishing it, long before there were any comments. I’ve not heard back from him.

    As a moderator, I’ve not been keeping up with the conversation here (I have good excuses!) so I deserve some criticism for letting things get a little overheated.

    But after reviewing the comments this morning, people participating have been pretty respectful to each other here, which is my main concern as a moderator.  David and Brendon, even in your most heated exchanges, I think you remained within our guidelines, so I thank you for that.

    What gets said in conversation here about other people who are NOT participating is a bit of gray area for me as a moderator.  For example, if people’s comments include some insults about Mayor Mary Rossing or Councilor Betsey Buckheit, I would intervene because Mary and Betsy do participate here occasionally. 

    If people’s comments include some insults about Strib columnists Katherine Kersten or Nick Coleman, I’d be less likely to intervene because they’re not likely to participate here.

    It’s a gray area in this conversation thread because even though Dan Clites and members of the Rejoice! building committee are not participating, they are local citizens and their participation is certainly a possibility. So in this context, Jane, I think your critical comments in #11 were fine but your comments in 14.2 were out-of-bounds.  Keep your criticism focused on Clites’ public behavior and statements and avoid anything that can be construed as namecalling.

    I’ve got more to say about the issue but family Xmas eve activities are pulling me away for now.

    December 24, 2010
  72. Griff Wigley said:

    Jane, you wrote, “These poor people had their church stolen from them and then sold out from under them.”

    Can you explain in more detail what you’re referring to?

    December 24, 2010
  73. David Ludescher said:


    I would admit that a disinterested reader, without appropriate context, would likely be led to the conclusions as presented by Paul’s Z. at 31.

    However, if we are trying to assign motives to Clites, we don’t care if the disinterested reader is offended, we want to know if the writer intended to demonize the opposition. Consequently, we have to examine his writings in the full context of Rejoice!’s struggles, their theology, Clites’s audience, Ephesians, etc.

    In that sense, we have to be charitable to avoid being wrong, and demonizing in return. In that sense, charity would suggest that Pastor Clites was concerned that the Devil had been working to stop Rejoice! from building the Church. The parishioners were to remain strong, avoid writing letters to the editor, and let the Building Committee work on the grave issue. There was opposition coming to the plan to move the graves. But, in the end, there would a resolution that would resolve the issue so that the Church could be built.

    I think we can all agree with Griff that, “When I first heard about this issue (the graves), I thought that it was reasonable for Rejoice! to want to remove the graves, and I thought it was reasonable for the descendants to object”.

    So, what is all the fuss about?

    December 24, 2010
  74. john george said:

    Michelle- I’ve been ruminating on your comment, here, and a corollary came to me. Islam refers to those outside their faith as “infidels.” They have been using this term for a long time. It is just their terminology. I have been involved in the Charismatic movement for 38+ years. The terminology and application of Eph. 6:12 has been used as Pastor Clites used it in his comments for long before I ever became involved with Christianity, in fact, back to the Apostle Paul’s writings. I can’t control what terms Muslims or Hindus or Buddhist use in their religion, but I can control my reaction to their usage. I would encourage you to use the same self control in your response to Pastor Clites’comments, also. My being upset over a Muslim refering to me as an “infidel” certainly does not foster any dialogue with them.

    December 24, 2010
  75. Jane Moline said:

    Griff, you asked up on comment 11:

    “Jane, you wrote, “These poor people had their church stolen from them and then sold out from under them.”

    Can you explain in more detail what you’re referring to?”

    And I am putting it down here so it follows with the discussion.

    It is not a short story but I will try, here.

    Holy Cross was a successful and continuous Episcopal congregation for 140 years. They often could not support a dedicated minister (but often did, too.) When those times came, they hired their priest in for services as frequently as they could afford–during the most recent past, they had services every Sunday.

    As in many small congregations, all of the members took turns on serving on their vestry–the business end of the congregation that made sure the bills were paid and hired the priest and so on. Many of the members had served multiple terms on the vestry and many had served as the Senior Warden–more or less the lay leader of the congregation.

    It is entirely the fault of the most late and lamented past congregation that they elected a number of “short-timers” to the last vestry—many of them were people who intended to retire and live elsewhere, were young and inexperienced, or were othersise less-than-dedicated to the history and community importance of both their mission and their church. Into this “perfect storm” marched Gayle Marsh, the Episcopal Priest at All Saints in Northfield.

    The vestry hired Gayle Marsh and assumed a percentage of her salary and benefits (I think it was 40% but I may be wrong.) This was probably a big mistake, as they were paying substantially less for the visiting priests–but the vestry did not seem to understand the financial implications of their decision.

    When it was apparent that their expenses had increased, instead of letting Gayle Marsh go and returning to hiring weekly ministers, the vestry became stymied by the idea that they were going to run out of money.

    Gayle March made this problem worse by forcing what appears to be her original agenda–if she could get the church in Dundas to combine with Northfield, she would have one stronger congregation instead of two small struggling congregations. A seemingly noble endeavor, but she did this without any care to the sensibilities of either congregation, the fact that the Dundas stone church was, in almost every way, superior to the frame church in Northfield, or that most of the congregation in Dundas would not care to join with All Saints–both because of Gayle Marsh and due to prior treatment of Holy Cross by the All Saints members.

    As an aside, many of the members of the Holy Cross congregation did not care for Marsh’s preaching style. She seemed to make frequent insulting and dismissive comments about Holy Cross. Go figure.

    When the vestry was faced with the problem of not enough money—it was reported that they would be out of money in two years (this is significant because that is how long the money was going to last in the 1980’s, too. They were always going to be out of money in two years. Meanwhile, they tuck-pointed the church, replaced the roof, bought an historically appropriate pipe organ, and put in an elevator.)

    But the vestry, unaware that this was the same as it had been for decades, thought that they had to make an immediate decision–which is how some of the vestry told how Gayle Marsh told them. Instead of saying that they had two years and they wanted to think about it, or they would talk to the congregation, or they would make a decision next month, or they would dismiss Gayle Marsh and go back to weekly ministers–they voted as Gayle Marsh told them they must.

    Now the story gets a little messy because some of the members told me they were going to mission status–which meant nothing since they had been in mission status for most of the prior 140 years–but what Gayle Marsh meant is that they would not have services anymore.

    This was shocking to the congregation. A majority (and I mean majority) refused to join All Saints, so Gayle Marsh has a struggling, small, Northfield congregation and the Episcopal chuch has lost many of those former Holy Cross members as they have either joined other denominations or are still looking (some have gone to the cathedral in Faribault, which is Episcopalian.)

    Meanwhile, Gayle Marsh announced the church was being sold. At that time she told the Holy Cross congregation that they would still be able to use the church for services. Ha.

    I really think it is the fault of the vestry AND the congregation of Holy Cross for failing to fight for and protect their church, which means more than a building-it means their community and members, too. They did not stand up to Gayle Marsh, they did not stand up to the Episcopal diocese–they basically rolled over and gave it up without even a small whine.

    I also think it is the fault of Gayle Marsh, who had the arrogance to believe that she had all the answers and used her position to bully the vestry and congregation into her way of thinking.

    She sold the Holy Cross church for less than $230,000–a full city block in Dundas–a historically significant and particularly beautiful church–to a church that has no respect for any other religion or its holy and spiritual places. (As shown by their trashing the church immediately so it could be used as a meeting room rather than as a respected santuary.)

    What is interesting to me is that there are two ministers, each with their own fiduciary responsibilities to their congregation and, in many ways, the public, who used their positions to bully and intimidate othere in order to get their way.

    Thank God for Helen Albers, who would not be bullied. Too bad for Holy Cross, for their failure to defend what they had.

    December 25, 2010
  76. Helen Albers said:

    A sad, unsettling story, Jane, which you have revealed accurately.

    Dan Clites told our son, “You would stand in the way of our church parking lot “just for a bunch of old bones!”

    Then, Gayle Marsh emphasized, “Do not spend any more time or money on saving the Cleland graves as I have the consecration service planned for when they are moved!”

    She would not listen to me when I said, “William C. Cleland was buried in 1889, and he and his wife will not be moved! They are family and we’ll protect them.

    I understand totally how Marsh browbeat the Holy Cross congregation, and was responsible for closing the church, just as Jane reported.

    Thanks, Jane, for your clarification of how this devoted congregation lost their beautiful church, which is on the National Register of Historic Places (and, this includes the addition connected to the stone Holy Cross Church)

    Nothing may be built,which will detract from “look and feel” of the Historic property!

    Do review your future plans Rejoice Church!

    December 25, 2010
  77. Michelle Hawkins said:

    Jane -Wow. I knew some of the story and some of the people involved, but after reading your history of the circumstances, I am disgusted.

    Unholy actions by those who are charged with the teaching and guidance of Christion souls. Apparently these “ministers” haven’t read the 10 Commandments, or they don’t see how many they themselves are breaking.

    No charity can be granted to those who use The Cloth in such a manner.


    December 26, 2010
  78. David Ludescher said:


    NONE of the criticism, including yours, is focused on Clites’s public behavior.

    December 26, 2010
  79. Griff Wigley said:

    David, I think that whatever one puts on a publicly viewable website is public behavior.

    Clites could have restricted his comments to church members via A) a private email list; B) a password-protected page on the church’s website; C) a private group on Facebook or LinkedIn; or D) several other options.

    December 27, 2010
  80. Jane Moline said:

    I have definetly been critical of both Clites’ and Gayle Marshs’ PRIVATE behavior regarding this matter. I am critical of ministers who abuse their position to maniputlate anyone-whether it is Helen Albers, the vestry at Holy Cross, the members of the Cleland family or the public at large. Just because it is said in private does not make it off-limits for public comment.

    David L, you are mistaken when you think that a minister’s communication with their congregation is somehow off limits. Look at the criticism of Obama for attending a church where a preacher was a good old fashioned anti-oppression speaker. Or when Jim Jones took people away and gave them the poisoned kool-aid. Or when Catholic priests abused their position so they could abuse altar boys–if we don’t speak up, who will? Often times the only ones willing to speak truth to power are those outside the church.

    December 27, 2010
  81. Jane Moline said:

    Griff, please see my response later down–I do not think even private communications of a person in a fiduciary position are off limits. One of the reasons I am upset is because of the way Clites spoke to people in conversations-I wish more people would document on this blog what they were told by Clites so you’all could hear it direct. Clites has received way more respect for his privacy than he deserves. His threats should be repeated here so everyone can decide for themselves.

    December 27, 2010
  82. David Ludescher said:


    You are being a little disingenuous.

    You were satisfied with the public resolution of the problem until you went searching on the website. If there was some evidence that his statements were communicated to “those” people, and if “those” people wanted an apology, I could understand the need to get this out in the open. In that event, common courtesy would suggest that you talk to him BEFORE going public.

    December 27, 2010
  83. David Ludescher said:


    Regarding 35.3, we need to remember the context. If you remember, Obama stood by Wright for quite some time. Obama reminded the people that we all say dumb things once in a while, and that things can be taken out of context (which they were).

    Eventually, Obama ended up disassociating himself from Wright, probably more for political reasons than anything else.

    What many people forget is that Obama’s book title, Audacity of Hope came from one of Wright’s sermons, and it was Wright’s theme of hope that Obama rode to victory in 2008.

    In fairness, Rejoice!’s website contains quite a bit of “public” good stuff. Presenting only the bad stuff presents an unfair picture of who and what they are.

    December 27, 2010
  84. Griff Wigley said:

    David, I didn’t say I was satisfied with the public resolution of the problem, as there wasn’t any resolution when I first heard of it. I just indicated that I didn’t have an opinion about it. I wrote:

    When I first heard about the issue, I thought it was reasonable for Rejoice! to want to move the graves and I thought it was reasonable for the descendants to object.

    But when Clites went public on the issue with the Northield News, and then went public on the church’s website to demonize the opposition, I think it’s fair to blog my opinion of that public info without talking to him. 

    December 28, 2010
  85. Griff Wigley said:

    David, I agree, there are some key differences on the public/private nature of the two sermons by Wright and Clites. And I wasn’t arguing a position, just asking the question about, in general, 1) the public nature of a sermon; and 2) whether it matters on how the content of the sermon is obtained and published.

    December 28, 2010
  86. Kathie Galotti said:

    Absolutely right on target, Jane. I get so tired of the Northfield norm where it is so important to be polite, never criticize, bend over backwards to be fair, not make assumptions—all while arrogant and narcisstic actors bully the people around them. It **looks** to me like that’s exactly what’s going on in this saga, too.

    Maybe if someone from the Holy Cross congregation had had the guts to take Marsh or Clites to task earlier, they’d still have their church, or the stuff in it.

    The “be a good Christian and keep your mouth shut until you can document everything 16 different ways approach) only let Marsh and Clites be bullies. My opinion only, of course.

    December 28, 2010
  87. David Ludescher said:


    Common courtesy would still suggest that you talk to him before you assume that he was “demonizing” the opposition. I think that his intent was to keep up the spirits of his congregation by suggesting that the Devil was trying to stop them from building.

    It doesn’t sound like Clites was very happy with the newspaper either if he is telling his congregrants to not write letters to the editor.

    December 28, 2010
  88. David Ludescher said:


    It does matter. If Clites had made the same references before a government body, or the same references in the presence of “those people” then we can assume intentional name-calling. But, he didn’t do either.

    December 28, 2010
  89. Jane Moline said:

    Kathie: The congregation of Holy Cross was taken by surprise, shocked and knocked completely loopy by what happened–they may have been able to save the church but it was a bit like being run down by a car–they barely had the chance to drag themselves free of further danger, let alone get the license plate and report the problem. It would have been better if they could have fought for their church, but their own people had betrayed them (coached by Gayle Marsh.)

    December 28, 2010
  90. This is somewhat secondary to the words and actions of this minister, but I think it’s worth noting the problems with the particular addition Rejoice has in mind.

    It seems that the church is one of the few remnants of Dundas as true town — rather than, functionally, a district of Northfield with its own city council. The church is walking distance from the entire original town. The building also faces the town, with the main entrance on S 2nd St. (The parking lot is in its rightful place, in the back of the building, not obstructing the entrance.)

    Based on that image given to the News, it seems Rejoice wants, essentially, to flip the functions around. The church will (literally) turn its back on the old town of Dundas. The new front of the building — facing southeast — will instead look into the back side of Menards (and the undeveloped commercial land to the south). The parking lot will be the main feature of the entrance.

    Even if we were to look past the issues of the graves and disrespect to the Holy Cross congregation, I see no reason why the building should set its aesthetic focus on a parking lot and an unfortunate highway strip, rather than on the original Dundas.

    December 29, 2010
  91. Griff Wigley said:

    David, again, why would he put the info on a public website instead of communicating only to church members via A) a private email list; B) a password-protected page on the church’s website; C) a private group on Facebook or LinkedIn; or D) several other options?

    December 29, 2010
  92. Griff Wigley said:


    Clites’ comment about the Northfield News was made before the newspaper story appeared, so unless he saw a draft, he couldn’t have been unhappy with it.

    I’d venture that he probably was very happy with the story after it was published, given that reporter Suzy Rook made an inappropriately glowing assumption about the church’s intentions, ie, that the conflict was resolved in part because of Rejoice!’s "desire to be good neighbors."

    As for my lack of common courtesy in not contacting him, it’s a common complaint about newspaper columnists, broadcast commentators, and now, those like me who blog their opinions. We’re not reporters, so we often just comment about publicly available information.

    December 29, 2010
  93. Helen Albers said:

    Our State of Minnesota Archeologist, Scott Anfinson, contacted me again yesterday to say it is up to the City Of Dundas to do the EAW. Of course, if not, a Citizen’s Committee could do it by contacting the Minnesota Environmental Board.

    I looked up the church sale at
    Kind of fishy, if you ask me!

    The SELLER was VESTRY of Holy Cross. BUYER was Trustees
    of Diocese of Minnesota for $00.00 on 1/26/10

    Then on 1/13/10, the Church of Holy Cross SOLD to Rejoice for just $220,000 (not $230,000 Clites reported.)

    At one time, the Diocese had DEEDED to Holy Cross, and then there was a BUY back for $00.00.
    Is it “legal” to SELL for $00.00?!

    What a steal!

    So, let’s see, On 1/13/10, Holy Cross was Sold to Rejoice BUT The Diocese had not bought Holy Cross back until 1/26/10 for $00.00.

    Did Rejoice BUY Holy Cross from the Minnesota Diocese before the Diocese Owned the property?

    GO Figure, Legal Minds!!

    December 29, 2010
  94. David Ludescher said:


    Granted, the information was available to the public. But, it was clearly a message intended for the congregants, not you, me, or the general public.

    You did everyone a disservice when you published the comments. I don’t want to guess at why you felt it necessary to dig up dirt on Clites, and then publish it. But, no good has come of it.

    December 29, 2010
  95. Griff Wigley said:

    Thx, Helen.

    Here’s a screenshot of the property record for the church, address 205 2ND ST S, Dundas:

    December 29, 2010
  96. Jane Moline said:

    I think it is very fishy that the vestry of Holy Cross sold the church for zero dollars to the diocese–in January of 2010. This is very much a made up transaction on the part of the diocese–tell the church they are no longer a church and then claim that the church that no longer exists can enter into a contract with the diocese. I think it sounds like the diocese stole the church from the congregation by influencing the vestry through false statements and promisses through their representative, Gayle Marsh.

    December 29, 2010
  97. john george said:

    Kathy- Your comment, “be a good Christian and keep your mouth shut until you can document everything 16 different…” reminds me a little of what went on with the prayer ladies at City Hall a couple years ago. It is in the LGN archives if you want to look it up, under “Prayer Ladies.”

    December 29, 2010
  98. Kathie Galotti said:

    To John George:

    (I can’t figure out how to post a reply specifically to 39.1.1). I did go back and read (about 50) of the posts about the prayer ladies—I’m not sure what specific connection you are seeing? Is it just that religious people are being criticized on the blog?

    December 29, 2010
  99. Kathie Galotti said:

    Ok Jane, fair enough. I guess the more general point is that our Northfield norm of reticence and politeness and fearing to make a spectacle sets up a general climate in which individuals who have less regard for the community can pursue their own agendas more easily than they could in a community that was less likely to be worried about always being so polite. More succinctly: Being polite (courteous, charitable, nice) has a downside to it.

    December 29, 2010
  100. john george said:

    Kathy- The theme that seemed to be consistent, at least to me, is that if a person practices their religion in a public setting, re. prayer, then this is criticized as hypocritical. Prayer is supposedly something you do only at home.

    Also, to reply to a specific comment, just click on the “Reply” word under the comment, and your reply will automatically be linked to it.

    December 29, 2010
  101. john george said:

    Jane- You are a real gold mine of historical information on Holy Cross. How long were you a member there?

    December 29, 2010
  102. john george said:

    Well, this is interesting. I addressed this to Jane and it showed up on your comment, Helen. Unfortunate occurance of PEBKAC on my part. Sorry.

    December 29, 2010
  103. john george said:

    Jane- Ok, I think I have the correct reply link, now. As I said, you are a real gold mine of information on Holy Cross. How long were you a member there?

    December 29, 2010
  104. john george said:

    Helen- I do have a question for you. Did you just find out about this property transfer now? It was done 11 months ago. I thought you were actively involved with the Cleland family cemetery.

    December 29, 2010
  105. David Ludescher said:


    I think the broader theme that hasn’t been discussed is what is fair criticism, and what is media distortion. In a liberal town like Northfield, religion is always an easy target to unfairly criticize.

    December 29, 2010
  106. Jane Moline said:

    Ok, John and Kathie I am going to comment in order rather than looping back on these comments over and over.

    1. I was a member of Holy Cross for many years before my kids were born and I continued while they were young and was in charge of the Sunday school and was on one of the committees to “call” a new priest. Lostsa years.

    2. John and Kathie: I completely disagree with you (John) that the prayer-lady controversy required only “private prayer.” The problem, well discussed, was that the city of administrator (Al Roder) was allowing a religious group the use of his office during city council meetings. The office was city property and potentially contained documents and information that was not normally available to the general public. The prayer ladies had unsupervised, unrestricted access to this office during city council meetings. There was much discussion of whether or not it violated separation of church/state, but I think there was quite a bit of concern that it signified an endorsement by the city or at least by the city administrator of a particular religion.

    This is thread drift. No one has said people can’t pray. We want them not to destroy an historical and beautiful church.

    December 29, 2010
  107. Jane Moline said:

    Talk about hate speach. Kevin Budig’s venom is toxic. His blog is absolutely intolerant of anything but his way of speaking. I recommend that you NOT click on the links–it is really not worth it. He insinuates that the people buried in the graves are in “heaven or h___”, and that we should not worry about them. Yuck.

    December 29, 2010
  108. Jane Moline said:

    Kathie: the larger theme is whether ministers of a church, who are people in a position of responsibility and have a fiduciary duty to their congregations and probably the public, should use their pulpit to manipulate the congregation without any interference.

    Now it has moved on to whether the Episcopal priest unfairly manipulated the Holy Cross vestry in order to close their church and sell it for the benefit of the diocese. And whether Rejoice! church should have the right to gut a church after they told the people of Dundas that they would be allowed to continue using the church–so they misled the people who actually believed they would be able to use the church as a church. (Legal. maybe, but that does not make it right.)

    And whether the Rejoice! church has some dispensation to ignore law and morals and move graves.

    December 29, 2010
  109. Helen Albers said:


    Our Cleland clan fought Rejoice Church to prevent the moving of our family graves. “A bunch of old bones” as Clite called them! Such disrespect.

    During the past year, my interest in the sale was piqued as I found that Holy Cross was a “steal.”

    We’ll see where this leads as legal facts are shown, and the damage to the beautiful Church of the Holy Cross on the National Register becomes known. Truth must prevail!

    Thankfully, we are able to handle more than one subject, which keeps our minds active for good!

    December 29, 2010
  110. Michelle Hawkins said:

    WoW he lumped me in with “LiberalS”

    As a fundamental, bible toting, Christian is how you live not a Sunday display, middle of the road blue dog old lady:
    I don’tknow whether to be amused, appalled,…or honored to be allowed to be in your company!

    December 29, 2010
  111. Michelle Hawkins said:

    Crib notes say the answer is ;honored.

    December 29, 2010
  112. Kathie Galotti said:

    Well, I guess I’m seeing a different theme The theme is that claiming that you are doing God’s work doesn’t give you the right to break laws or behave irresponsibly or have special access to a private governmental space or move graves around to suit your convenience.

    John, I could be wrong but I don’t think this has anything to do with religion. I know lots of fairly deeply religious people, and most of them don’t try to use religion as a shield for their behavior. Seems like Pastor Clites certainly is, and perhaps the Prayer Ladies did, too.

    That doesn’t mean I think people should only pray at home.

    David, I am with Griff on the idea that, if a minister publishes notes even if the target audience is his or her congregation, the notes are still pubic. Someone who wants to keep communications private needs to not publish them.

    December 29, 2010
  113. Kathie Galotti said:

    Proud to be a liberal. Proud to support people like Griff and Jane and others who are willing to “speak truth to power.”

    December 29, 2010
  114. john george said:

    Helen- Thanks. I interpreted your comments about the “steal” deal as something you had just come across. It just seemed strange the way you expressed it. It seemed that this was recent knowledge for you.

    In general, this sounds like a sticky wicket for any one/organization to walk into. Until the former congregants of Holy Cross can come to some understanding and level of forgiveness to one another, the property will be a catalyst for future unrest. Unresolved conflicts only fester, like an infection, and will eventually erupt into open hostilities.

    December 29, 2010
  115. john george said:

    Jane- Thanks for the history of your connections with Holy Cross.

    As far as the prayer ladies, there were several contributors who voiced the idea that public prayer was not acceptable, but that is old stuff. The charge of separation of church and state was quite well discussed, and this incident did not fit the criterion. One thing that uprising and this one have in common is that anyone or any church who would dare to openly express their particular Christian convictions will get thoroughly, publicly castigated, especially on this blog. I guess that scripture, “…everyone who would live Godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution…” is as true as all the other scriptures.

    December 29, 2010
  116. john george said:

    Griff- I only got an “Error 404” message. Did Mr. Budig somehow disconnect the links?

    December 29, 2010
  117. Barb Kuhlman said:

    Au contraire, David, I think Griff did the public a service starting this conversation.

    December 29, 2010
  118. Barb Kuhlman said:

    Has the National Register of Historic Sites (unsure of the official name)been notified and/ or responded at all to the destruction of the sanctuary and the REjoice building plans?

    December 29, 2010
  119. Phil Poyner said:

    Well, it’s good to know what people are thinking. It makes it easier for me to decide who to vote (or not vote) for when they run for office.

    December 30, 2010
  120. In the Episcopal Church of MN, Canon law requires that property (real or personal) held by or for the benefit of a congregation is held in trust for the Diocese and the Episcopal Church (this was changed about 10 years ago now largely to prevent congregations leaving the Episcopal Church for political reasons for taking the property with them) – don’t know how that affects the Holy Cross transactions in any detail, but this might diffuse one bit of contention about what Holy Cross could and could not do.

    December 30, 2010
  121. Michelle Hawkins said:

    Kathie – to a left wing democrat I am considered right(which is nice since I’m ‘right’ so little of the time!). To a right wingnut republican I am way too left to be a sentient human!

    Blue-dog signifies fiscal reason with a social conscience.

    Hate shows up on both sides as they are fringe elements. this includes some ministers, and their followers. I would in no way convict Rejoice’s congregation, however as a concerned Christian I worry about people being led down such a road as Marsh and Clites are paving.

    And when ministers, also human(!), sin in such manner that God’s children are harmed, using scripture to justify their sins and/or demonize alternate views, is the equivalent of using a gun in a robbery.

    December 30, 2010
  122. David Ludescher said:


    Budig suggests that you are just displaying a different kind of intolerance, i.e. liberal intolerance. He asks why the h*** do you care about what Clites said. I think that’s a fair question.

    You aren’t a member of the church, you weren’t insulted, and you are a proclaimed atheist.

    You care because …?

    December 30, 2010
  123. Michelle Hawkins said:

    Griff- Those blog posts are quite inflammatory at the same time openiong many other “thread drift topics” if you post them under this one.

    Perhaps anew discussion should be opened? Have a “Liberal Free-For-All” with it as once read, i have no doubt there will be other’s chiming in and …oooh boy!

    I humbly suggest that THIS discussion not be so sullied with the posting of Budigs words.

    December 30, 2010
  124. David Ludescher said:

    Ms. Hawkins,

    And, “Spiritual Wickedness Triumphs in Dundas” is not inflammatory?

    December 30, 2010
  125. john george said:

    David- Perhaps inflammatory depends on who is holding the match and who is holding the kindling.

    December 30, 2010
  126. john george said:

    Griff- Thanks for the links. I appreciate the opportunity to explore these things first hand.

    December 30, 2010
  127. Michelle Hawkins said:

    David- That headline written by Griff is followed by explanation and questions whereas Budig’s blog is absolutely meant to incite. He purposely lumps ALL of LoGroNo into one bundle of heathens. That includes you, David.

    Did Griff write a headline to incite hatred.. probably not, as proved by what followed. That cannot be said about what Budig wrote.

    This is a slight thread drift, which is exactly why I suggested it be taken up in a different discussion.

    December 30, 2010
  128. David Ludescher said:


    Good point. I wasn’t inflamed by the headline.

    December 30, 2010
  129. David Ludescher said:


    Read the headline again. It sure reads like mockery – “Spiritual Wickedness Triumphs in Dundas” Where is that in the story?

    December 30, 2010
  130. Griff Wigley said:

    Michelle, I agree, I really don’t want this discussion to get sidetracked about the other things Kevin Budig has written. He linked to us with his criticisms so let’s leave it at that.

    Phil, I think the political objectives of Rejoice! and their Transformation Northfield project is a topic for a different blog post. Remind me!

    David, this blog is much about civic-related issues so once Rejoice! entered that arena, I started to care. I began to care more when Clites’ began using inappropriate tactics to attack his opposition and problems with the Northfield News article surfaced.

    As for my headline, instead of something straightforward but boring like “Be glad that those accused of spiritual wickedness in Dundas have prevailed in the grave site issue” I chose to use a pun (Rejoice!) with a provocative tone to spoof Clites for his language.

    December 30, 2010
  131. john george said:

    David- I read the title as irony.

    December 30, 2010
  132. Griff Wigley said:

    John, I know I sometimes castigate people for “their particular Christian convictions” that I disagree with. But I also make an effort to regularly draw attention to the great things that people do in the community because of their Christian convictions. I do hope you see some balance in my blogging.

    Maybe it would help if I found some non-Christian religious people to castigate!

    December 30, 2010
  133. john george said:

    I’ve never been offended by your castigations. If everyone agreed with everyone else concerning religious OR secular issues, there would be nothing to discuss. I appreciate anyone’s opinion of my convictions. From these, I can examine my own ways to see if they line up with the way I am living. I may or may not change how I think or act according to whether I determine the criticisms are warranted or not. I have been accused of hiding behind my Bible, but that is the standard I use to evaluate myself, and I reserve the right to do so. Keep up the good work.

    December 30, 2010
  134. john george said:

    Griff- I forgot to add to my last comment that many of the castigations come from contributors to the blog, not you.

    December 30, 2010
  135. Griff Wigley said:

    The Google caches of Kevin Budig’s two blog posts are now gone. Here’s the text and screenshots of the two posts:

    The (in)Tolerance That is Northfield!!

    27 12 2010

    Over at the local lib, bash everything we do not like or agree with forum dubbed Locally Grown Northfield, no,  I will not link to the site, we have blatant hate speech, personal attacks, atheists spouting off about the Bible and Christianity like they know or have any idea what they talking about, discrimination. you know. all the usual crap the Liberals are screaming about and accusing the Conservatives of doing.

    When the left does it quite well!

    There is a post there about a certain church called Rejoice! and its Pastor.

    Talk about vile, spiteful, vicious spewing rhetoric and attacks brought on by an article in the local news paper about Rejoice!’s purchase of a failing Church and its property.

    Like why the hell do the people of this forum care other than they feel the need to spout off about anything they disagree with.


    Apparently Freedom of Religion is not going to be allowed, because like, you know, we libs do not agree with the beliefs you hold!!

    Bet they have no problem with Muslims and their Sharia Law nor the way they treat women!!

    Anyhow accusations, assumptions, etc,

    They bought the Old Church.

    And the land.

    Means they own it!!

    The Old Church is the only thing on the National Registry.

    Not the insides, not the pews, not the organ.

    Nor the addition.

    As for the graves any of those posting at Locally Grown whom profess to be Christians should know and understand that the people buried there are gone! Either in Heaven or in H___.

    As for the comment by the old lady there about tending the “gravesites” what a crock!! Rejoice! has already fixed one site up on the NW corner, looks a lot better the it did when the previous congregation was there and have plans to fix the others up!!

    Also I am betting no one on Locally Grown has ever attended nor has any knowledge, true knowledge of what Rejoice! is like..I am betting again that these people posting just take pleasure in sticking their noses into something that if they had lives and were busy worrying about themselves, their families and their futures, would never have given this a second thought.

    Talk about a bunch of “old” bitties talking trash and what I would consider hate filled speech. But we know that only applies if it is towards whatever leftists determine it should be, certainly not white, conservative, pew jumping, bible toting, Christians!! Can never be hate speech towards them because anything goes!!

    They are judging based on hearsay, conjecture and the bias of some whom feel wronged.

    But apparently they have extra time. To do more harm then good. But people would have to take time to read other garbage posted and spewed by LGN.

    Its their fail.

    I say this because I attended one of the “20? other Churches in Northfield and it was a pointless experience.

    Rejoice! reaches out to people.

    The Church I attended did not, especially in times of great need.

    So it is a “fundamentalist” Church?


    Because they believe in the Bible as it is written? Not open to interpretation by other so-called “experts”? Appears a few at LGN think they are.

    Because the Pastor there teaches and preaches from the Bible?

    That the Church is not a building but the those that believe and worship, the people are the Church?

    Not some damn box?

    That Sunday morning is not the only time you worship and act like a  Christian?

    Of course if you are not a believer that is your choice.

    As it is others “choice” to believe and worship in a manner guaranteed.

    and finally.

        John 8:7 (New King James Version)

        7 So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up[a] and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.”

    I’m betting the folks posting at LGN are all sinners.

    Even those professing to be atheists, yet trying to quote the bible.

    And  I will be the first to admit I am not a very good Christian, as I refuse to turn the other cheek.

    So bite me.

    You people fail..

    The Unknowing and Intolerant!
    28 12 2010

    Started by someone whom appears to be above us all and likes to stir shit up for the pure satisfaction of doing so.

    Untruths, lies, falsehoods, personal attacks, defamation of charactor, intolerance.

    Venom filled attacks on religious beliefs, completely inane and assine statements from some..

    Because they “differ” from their own.

    Attacks on private property owners rights.

    Interference, hatred, yes hatred.

    The list is damn near endless.

    Cripes we have it all here.

    Is it any wonder I truly dislike, “liberals” and their intolerant, spiteful ways?  Their unreasoning hatred when they find some target to attack?


    December 31, 2010
  136. David Ludescher said:


    I suppose a charitable interpretation of what you said could lead one to conclude that you thought that you were performing a public service. But, Budig has a point about “liberal intolerance”, and it might be worth a blog post.

    December 31, 2010
  137. Barb Kuhlman said:

    Griff and John:
    Re: 47.1
    “Castigate–to inflict severe punishment on or criticize severely.”
    Griff, I would guess you (and others) are more likely to argue beliefs rather than castigate the individuals that hold them. To compare what is said on this blog to the persecution experienced by Jesus followers in the first century C.E., seems hyperbolic to me. Harsh criticisms of the pastors mentioned on this site have been aimed at their behaviors, not their beliefs.

    December 31, 2010
  138. john george said:

    Barb- I think some of the comments in this thread fall under castigation. Please note my post 47.2.2.

    Some comments above seemed to lump all Evangelical pastors together as unlearned people who play on their congregants’ fears and emotions, rather than presenting an intellectual disertation of Biblical truths. I consider that criticism of their beliefs, that they actually believe this is the way to lead their church. It may just be semantics, but that is my perception.

    December 31, 2010
  139. Jane Moline said:

    All of my “castigations” have been aimed at Clites and Marsh, as I have identified in my posts. I do not lump all evangelical or all ministers together, except when I say that I expect ministers to be held to a higher standard, which is a generalization.

    When ministers manipulate, lie and mislead, I find it particularly offensive. This is because I foolishly believe them to be of a calling that brings out the best in people. More’s the pity.

    December 31, 2010
  140. john george said:

    Jane- Your higher standard is accurate. This is what James says, NAS version:
    James 3:1
    [ The Tongue Is a Fire ] Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment.

    December 31, 2010
  141. Paul Zorn said:

    Griff and John,

    In 47.2.X I think you both misuse the word “castigate” — Griff in confessing too readily to sins of castigation and John in claiming castigation (let alone “persecution”).

    “Castigate” (e.g., Google define:castigate) connotes a harsher and more personal reprimand than what (with very few exceptions) I read here on LGN. Disagreement may sometimes ramp up to castigation, but it’s a long climb.

    For instance, John, you wrote earlier:

    … anyone or any church who would dare to openly express their particular Christian convictions will get thoroughly, publicly castigated, especially on this blog. I guess that scripture, “… everyone who would live Godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution …” is as true as all the other scriptures.

    If by “castigated” you mean simply “disagreed with” then so be it; that comes with the territory in any discussion. But your reference to “suffer[ing] persecution” suggests something much stronger. And — all word choice quibbles aside — I think you elide a crucial distinction, between criticism (or disagreement, or castigation, or whatever) of beliefs on the one hand and criticism of behavior on the other. It’s one thing to question Pastor Clites’s Christian beliefs (I don’t) and quite another to question his actions (I do).

    December 31, 2010
  142. john george said:

    Paul- See post 14. Hyperbole can go both directions. Griff was having fun with his post title, so I though I would have a little fun with castigate. Just as Griff was not being all inclusive of Christianity with his title, I was not intending to be all inclusive with the posts here. IMNSHO, post 14 went beyond “disagreement”, but I don’t feel it necessary to take that up with the writer. He is entitled to his opinion as well as I am entitled to mine.

    December 31, 2010
  143. Helen Albers said:


    The Minnesota Planning Office is aware of the destruction of the Holy Cross Church. They state, The test is ,””Is it on the National Register or not?”
    “Yes,” according to the records, the church is so then an Environmental Review for the state of Minnesota is mandatory.
    “II’s as simple as that”, they say!

    January 1, 2011
  144. john george said:

    Helen- I’ve been searching for some regulations regarding renovating buildings on the National Historic Registry. There are certain code requirements that must be met for certain uses. Just ask any downtown building owner about trying to bring a historic building up to code. I’ve only found limitations about changing the structure itself. Do you have a resource for information about changing the contents/furnishings of the building? You keep refering to the “…destruction of the Holy Cross Church…” in reference to the removal of certain furnishings. Is that a correct term to describe what has been done so far, or is it just your opinion?

    January 2, 2011
  145. Helen Albers said:

    Have you checked Environmental and Historical Preservation Requirements under the National Environmental Policy Act?

    You are correct, There are strict Preservation requirements, and we are discovering the need for strict laws as we have seen the damage, even to the interior of Holy Cross Church, by Rejoice Church. This is such a valued part of the history of Dundas as John Archibald, Founder of Dundas, built this church!

    January 2, 2011
  146. Stephanie Henriksen said:

    I found the Budig rantings very depressing. There is a book on the disintegration of rural communities called “Broken Heartland” by Osha Gray Davidson, 1990. It has a chapter on hate groups which seem to spring up during hard economic times. People are desperate, losing their homes, lashing out any way they can.

    Griff, you say the political objective of Rejoice! and their Transformation Northfield project is for another day. I look forward to that.

    January 2, 2011
  147. Julie Kastan said:

    Pardon me for poking in….we are somewhat new to the area so I like to read a variety of information to learn about our new home neighborhood.
    I am neither a liberal (D) nor conservative (R) (have been an independent since I could vote, some 34 yrs…) Used to be what friends termed a hard core Christian. Tried many different churches over the years. Still haven’t found one that isn’t full of sinners. (As we all are btw.. 😉

    So, my comment – based on what I’ve read so far, is that I was actually impressed with the discussion in this blog. Everyone made their comments and even in their disagreement, didn’t create an ugly hateful tone.

    Not knowing anyone in the discussion possibly allowed me some level of objectivity…

    So after reading the posting from Kevin Budig, I was shocked to feel blasted with hate from his words. It’s understandable that he would not want this vile diatribe to stay posted.
    It has spoken volumes as to the truth of the situation and done a dis-service to all he may associate with.

    I’m not sure how he read what was posted here, but his words described his own article more than this one. What a shame.

    Of course I am still reading…. 🙂

    Peace and joy in the New Year to all.

    January 2, 2011
  148. john george said:

    Helen- Yes, those are the sites on which I was checking. Also, there were a couple national sites to which I don’t have the links handy. In my research, it appears that there are state level extensions of the national code requirements specifically relating to historically registered sites. These appeared to differ slightly , so I’m assuming the states have some latitude to require different emphases, as long as they fall under the UBC requirements. In none of these did I find anything specific to furnishings. That is why I asked. I thought I might have missed something in the voluminous, and I found somewhat ambiguous, amount of information out there.

    January 3, 2011
  149. john george said:

    Julie- Welcome to the area. As far as finding a church that is not full of sinners, you probably won’t, as (in my particular understanding of scripture) sin seems to be a common malady of we humans. I don’t want to get into a whole theological discussion here, but this is what 1st John 1:8 says, “If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us.” I have this hope from the next verse, 9, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Those who deny their condition and take no steps to rectify it are the ones who are living in deception. If I ever found a church which did not have any sinners, I certainly wouldn’t join it, because it would then be poluted.

    January 3, 2011
  150. Michelle Hawkins said:

    John and Helen- i wonder if certain property law precedants might apply to the interior and furnishings?

    Bear with me, I’m no legal eagle by far, but in my experience if an article is attached to the building it becomes part of that “jurisdiction”.
    i.e. if a tenant were to bolt decorative ironwork to the side of a house they are living in as renters, that ironwork now is part of the property and the tenant can’t remove such if they move unless permission to do so is granted by the property owner.

    So could it follow if pews are bolted to the floor and/or considered part and parcel of the church, that these things would come under the protections of Historical Site?

    Just asking…

    January 3, 2011
  151. Michelle Hawkins said:

    wow that was a lousy i.e. ! But I hope you see what I’m trying to say.

    I bought a home years age, and the people I bouight it from decided to take the wood stove, and all the hardwood panelling + bolted bench from the mud room after the inspection.

    We sued and they had to pay for the complete restoration of all they had removed.
    Once a thing is attached to a building, inside or out, it is part of the building.

    January 3, 2011
  152. Helen Albers said:

    Michelle, Sorry about your experience, which gives you an understanding of how the damage, which occurred at Holy Cross Church, hurt the City of Dundas and so many people.
    The Minnesota Environmental Policy Act established a
    formal process, an EAW, for reviewing the environmental impact of major developmental projects.
    What are Historic properties?
    Historic property means any prehistoric or historic site, building, or object included in the National Register of Historic Places. The term includes Artifacts,records, and remains that are related to and located WITHIN such properties.
    Rejoice Church did not respect the founder of the City of Dundas, and broke the law, when they ripped the marble Archibald family plaques off the wall!
    Holy Cross Church, an historical treasure and cultural resource in Dundas was gutted!
    State and federal laws were created to protect historic
    When will Rejoice Church obey our laws?
    The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation states that it is a Felony to destroy, mutilate, or harm burial grounds, (such as the Cleland’s) intentionally or knowingly!
    Laws, Rejoice Church, Laws!!

    January 3, 2011
  153. john george said:

    Helen- I have yet to get one of your links to work. I don’t see how commemorative plaques inside a building are related to human remains or specific burial sites. Was the church a mausoleum?

    These allegations you are making are pretty serious, unless they are just expressions of your opinions. I’m no legal expert by any means (people go to college for years just to understand the language), but I hope you do have legal precedent to back them up. It’s just my opinion, but you may need it.

    January 3, 2011
  154. David Ludescher said:


    I’m going to disagree with your assessment.
    1. Griff wasn’t disagreeing with Clites; they never talked; he was castigating (severely critizing – Am. Heritage Dict.) Clites;
    2. He was critizing Clites for Clites’s (apparent, but not entirely obvious) belief that those opposing the grave move were principalities of opposition;
    3. The criticism was gratuitous in that it isn’t clear that the “opposition” knew about the comments, and that, even if they knew, that they cared, and if they cared, that it would have affected the outcome of the grave decision.

    Word quibbles aside, I am willing to cut Clites and Griff considerable slack. If we are going to be a tolerant congregation here on Locally Grown we are going to have to tolerate everyone, especially those with whom we disagree.

    January 3, 2011
  155. Helen Albers said:

    The credit goes to my trusty new MacBook Pro!

    Ever tried our Minnesota Historical Society State Historical Preservation Office ((Minn.SHPO)?

    All in my Reply was direct from the sites this afternoon.

    Seems I should restrict a Reply to one subject.
    I will “try.”

    January 3, 2011
  156. john george said:


    January 3, 2011
  157. Michelle Hawkins said:

    Helen- Rejoice is a Lutheran church, is it not? Has anybody spoken with the higher ups in the denomination?

    How does one go about enforcing the law? Press federal and/or state charges? File a complaint with the Attorney General? Lawyer up, get an injunction against any further movement by Rejoice on the property until the matter is decided?

    I can’t stand the thought of disrespecting our local history. I have a marker placed by the Northfield Historical Society in front of the wonderful old house I live in. My whole intent is to preserve what this house is in collaborative effort with the property owner. I don’t understand those who desecrate churches, monuments & artifacts. And to so disrespect the living decendants of those who planted these two little towns here, as Clites is doing, is not something the Lutheran church as a whole should allow. It’s beyond sin, I’m an English major (though typing and usage has corrupted over the years!), yet I cannot think of a word negative enough to describe Clite’s behavior in this matter.

    January 3, 2011
  158. john george said:

    Helen- This is the site I started out investigating. It clearly defines the process a person(s) must go through to move a gravesite. To my knowledge, Rejoice! has not moved a gravesite. It appears they did seek permission to do so, but this is not a crime.

    The EAP has to do with any renovations that might polute the surrounding environment. I cannot see where it covers any interior renovations.

    The legislation cited on this site also gives some pretty broad authority to the SHPO to contest any national, state or municiple project that would jeapordise a historic site.

    Your contention that their removing of the interior furnishings constitutes a crime is what I am trying to get straight. I just can’t find any information on this site or any of the miriad others relating to Minnesota historical sites that gives any definition of what can and cannot be done with the interior of a building. If it is there, could you please copy and paste it in a post here? I just like to read these things on my own.

    January 3, 2011
  159. john george said:

    Helen- I found this link to the National Park Service which gives guidelines on historic preservations:

    I thought this one paragraph was particularly helpful in the way they approach working with building interiors:

    “This Preservation Brief has been developed to assist building owners and architects in identifying and evaluating those elements of a building’s interior that contribute to its historic character and in planning for the preservation of those elements in the process of rehabilitation. The guidance applies to all building types and styles, from 18th century churches to 20th century office buildings. The Brief does not attempt to provide specific advice on preservation techniques and treatments, given the vast range of buildings, but rather suggests general preservation approaches to guide construction work.”

    Please note that this whole publication is one of suggestion and is not a legal document. In other words, it is subjective, not objective.

    January 3, 2011
  160. john george said:

    Michelle- In response to your comment,
    “How does one go about enforcing the law?”
    What law has been broken?

    January 3, 2011
  161. Helen Albers said:

    If you refer back to my corrections on the Northfield News story, you will see that NO Cleland family member was contacted to move the graves!
    The very reason this disagreement began!

    The law is that no grave may be moved, William C. Cleland and wife, Mary may not be moved. (On rare occasions, a family may request a move to bring a family member closer to other family members.) Cleland’s did not request!

    Rejoice made plans to move the cemetery with no consent. We prevented the 1889 graves from being moved!

    January 3, 2011
  162. Helen Albers said:

    Scott Anfinson, our Minnesota Archeologist , issued a statement to Rejoice Church that they could not move the Cleland graves.
    He has control over every grave, cemetery and the Indian mounds in the entire state, and has the Power of the State of Minnesota backing him.

    We were referred to our Minnesota Historical Society when our Archeologist learned that the “interior” of a National Register Church was changed! Of course, the interior is on the National Registry as part of Holy Cross Church!

    January 3, 2011
  163. Michelle Hawkins said:

    John- Helen already answered that in 55. A historic landmark is not just the building but all that is attached to it. To remove anything from that building that is attached is against the law. Clites and crew gutted the inside removing historical artifacts.

    The graves are another issue. In that Clites is guilty of ugly, disrespect and unchristian behavior which apparently didn’t work so well for him as the law was upheld.

    As I said, no legal eagle here, but if what Helen (and Jane) says about her hours of research is true, then lawz have been broken, and talking about the issue, while informative to those who LisTeN, it’s not the same as pursuing legal recourses available.

    I’ve found that there’s more than just a few people in this world that will do what they want despite laws and moral issues, until someone stands up to invoke consequences.

    January 4, 2011
  164. Michelle Hawkins said:

    So Helen- does anyone know the current location(s) of the pews, plaques, and other artifacts that were removed by Clites and crew?

    If a time comes when Clite is held accountable and restoration of the Historic landmark Church is ordered, a current injunction on all parties holding these things preventing their destruction or sale is a helpful thing to have.

    January 4, 2011
  165. john george said:

    Michelle- I suggest you read the statutes yourself. That is what I did. I could not find anything reguarding the interior furnishings, only the structure.

    January 4, 2011
  166. Stephanie Henriksen said:

    I suggest we not dwell on breaking of laws, but look to those persons and groups who may not have stepped forward when they could have, but could still make a difference on where things go from here. Dundas Historical Society might be a place to start.

    I see from Dundas newsletter they meet on third Wednesday, 7 pm at Dundas City Hall. Contact person is the mayor’s wife, Michelle Millenacker.

    Third Wednesday would be Jan 18, though one should check City Hall to be sure, I suppose. That number is 645-2852. They are open Mon-8-6, Tues-Thurs 8-5. Closed Friday.

    January 4, 2011
  167. john george said:

    Helen- When you were referred to the MHS, what information or regulations did they give you concerning the interior of a historically registered property? Could you please get me an operable link or a cut and paste of the statute governing the disposition of these interior furnishings?

    January 4, 2011
  168. David Ludescher said:


    I don’t know who would have standing to ask for an injunction, or what they could ask for. I don’t think Rejoice! has an affirmative obligation to preserve the building, only a duty not to destroy it.

    January 4, 2011
  169. Michelle Hawkins said:

    David & John – i was making inquiries, and employing “if” while offering only a suggestion.

    I defer to Jane, Helen, and those directly involved to have investigated their concerns in relation to the laws and to make what choices they feel compelled to.

    At this point I am simply hitting my knees a little longer each night, in prayer for misguided souls, whoever, and wherever, they are.

    January 4, 2011
  170. john george said:

    Michelle- Your position (on your knees) is the most powerful place you can be. Hang on like Jacob did with the angel of the Lord.

    As far as all these allegations, Rejoice!’s position that they contacted a family member and Helen’s position that they did not is a “he said”,”she said” delima, and nothing can be done about that unless another Cleland family member speaks up to refute one or the other.

    The contention that removing furnishings from the building broke a specific law is somehing that can be independently corraberated. The solution is very scientific. Show me the law. Until I have that evidence, I will be suspect of all the allegations, which is my perrogative.

    January 4, 2011
  171. David Ludescher said:

    According to Wikipedia, the designation on the Historic Registry carries no affirmative obligation on the part of Rejoice! to preserve the building. If Rejoice! wishes to preserve the building, the designation may permit Rejoice! to apply for federal preservation funds.

    January 5, 2011
  172. Jane Moline said:

    Stephanie, I agree–I don’t think it is helpful to pursue law-breaking accusations. (Many times things may be “legal” but that does not necessarily make it right.)

    I return to my concerns that the Rejoice church pastor has done his best to only meet the legal minimum–and when that doesn’t work, he turns to forms of persuasion that I would not call persuasion–

    A Cleland family member was contacted by the church (reportedly Clites) and told that everyone in Dundas wanted the church to move the graves and go ahead with their addition–(perhaps meaning everyone in the church in Dundas that day or everyone of the two people he had spoken to–very misleading) The family member, living elsewhere, assumed that the other family members had already agreed–it was only when Helen Albers (daughter-in-law to a Cleland) contacted more members of the Cleland family that the Cleland family wishes were made known-that they wanted the family’s graves left alone.

    By then, Clites, having failed with the first attempt in getting permission tried to use threats to get the family to agree. This is where I made a conclusion of poor social skills on the part of Clites.

    Without a doubt the Rejoice church has treated the Holy Cross church with disrespect and a disregard for the historical nature -and religious nature of the chruch interior.

    This is an example where might does not make right. We have lost a significant historic building, although we can at least still look at the shell.

    We have so few great historical buildings in the area, and it is profoundly sad to see this treasure fall into the hands of those that have such little care.

    Thanks to two misguided pastors who forced their agenda on others.

    I am currently discouraged by how this has all played out. I am dissapointed that we do not have more protection for a historic church that has received public support (due to being tax free for so many years) and we get paid back by not being able to stop its destruction. (While we continue to give a public subsidy–through tax-free use–of the property.)

    January 5, 2011
  173. john george said:

    Stephanie- As my grandfather used to say, the horse is already out of the barn. I’m not sure how productive it would be to go to the Dundas city authorities and ask them why they didn’t do this or that. At this point, there are legal procedures that must be adhered to, but there are limitations within those, also. As far as the graves go, this is something that had to go through the state archeologist, and if I understand the written procedure correctly, it appears that moving graves are only considered at the behest of the family(s) involved. I think this ended up with the only decision possible.

    January 5, 2011
  174. Helen Albers said:

    The Albers and the Cleland families treasure history, and I find it beyond my comprehension that anyone would say there is “no obligation to preserve the building.”
    I think we have a moral obligation to preserve significant parts of our history such as Holy Cross Church.
    Or, Westminster Abbey, St. Peter’s,largest church in Christendom, or Michelle Hawkin’s home ,which has a Northfield Historic Plaque.
    All treasures through many generations!
    We should all be committed to their protection.

    January 5, 2011
  175. Michelle Hawkins said:

    The marvelous house I live in used to home to Joseph Lee Haywood and his family.

    Prior to my moving in a “lady” occupied the upper half that I now reside in. With drink her downfall, she scoffed at the no-smoking inside the old home and threw her cigarettes out the bedroom window. This started a fire. A tree was lost and a small part of the exterior had to be repaired.

    Obviously she had to leave.

    There are no original furnishings in this home, but were there any left, I would lovingly care for them as I do the 100+yr old caste iron scrolled vent grate in the bathroom floor.

    I’m not a Northfield/Dundas native, not native to Minnesota, but it is my last stop, it is my home. To hear younsters like Clites can come in and destroy history, call it ‘old bones’ and have such a complete lack of Honor, instead filled wi8th total disregard for the history loving culture here is deeply disturbing.

    I won’t say I haven’t seen his kind of behavior before, but I was living in South Central L.A., fourth ward in Houston, and the Barrio Logan in SanDiego.

    I came to this area in search of peace, respect, and love of thy neighbor. For the most part I found it here. However, some things should be non-negotiable.
    Lying while preaching.
    Manipulating others through deciet as a leader of a church.
    Robbing the community of their historical landmarks and artifacts.

    I think what bothers me quite a bit is that the CITY of Dundas hasn’t risen up and put it’s foot down. Said “NO, you can’t destroy or alter what we cherish, God is everywhere, go someplace else!”

    January 5, 2011
  176. Stephanie Henriksen said:

    So many heartfelt comments, thank you one and all. I think it important that our thoughts get out to a wider audience through the local newspaper. Having heard that NNews is not printing letters on this topic, I called Editor Suzie Rook to doublecheck. She said letters are welcome and anything being said to the contrary is a misunderstanding.

    I take her at her word, then. Limit is one letter per 30 days, I think, and mine will likely be on the big motor sports project, Motokazie Recreational Park, trying to come in south of me east of I-35. So who can do one on Holy Cross?

    January 5, 2011
  177. john george said:

    Michelle- Just a quick question, does your home have indoor plumbing? If so, what was altered to accomodate the pipes, vents, etc.? Even though the flush toilet was originally used by the pharoahs of ancient Egypt, it is a 20th. century idea in most American homes.

    January 5, 2011
  178. john george said:

    Helen- According to Jane’s post 60, a Cleland family member from out of town WAS contacted by Rejoice! Church. You have claimed all along that NO member of the family was contacted. You have also accused the church of violating non-existent laws. Everything else is just your opinion, to which you have a right. The way you expressed it here on this blog is another matter, which I’ll allow Griff to address if he so chooses. I think your words speak for themselves. I am out of this discussion.

    January 5, 2011
  179. Michelle Hawkins said:

    John, this home also became a boarding house after Haywood was killed by the James-Younger Gang in the bank raid. Not exactly sure when flush toilets were put in, (definately by the time they became a code requirement!) however the house wasn’t declared a historical landmark until long AFTER this new-fangled water closet was installed.

    January 5, 2011
  180. Michelle Hawkins said:

    BTW – it is equipped with a claw foot bathtub though! (no shower).

    January 5, 2011
  181. David Ludescher said:


    The good news for “us” is that the building was bought by a religious organization, and not left for waste, or destroyed by a commercial enterprise. At least now its former function as a place of worship and respect remain.

    Historic preservation is not free. We can’t expect Rejoice! to do for “us” what “we” weren’t willing to do for ourselves.

    For whatever reason, the Holy Cross community is gone. It is being replaced by a new community at Rejoice!. Now is the time to welcome “our” new neighbors, not castigate them. They’ve played by the same rules that you and I play by.

    January 5, 2011
  182. Helen Albers said:

    Jane, Please name ONE Cleland who was contacted by Clites! I would know if one had been as I know them all!
    (He called an elderly woman in a Nfld Nursing home, who told him she was not a Cleland!)

    David, Rejoice does Not play by the same rules as me.
    Count me out on that one!

    Mr. George, You have questioned, accused, disagreed, and even threatened me, I believe. Farewell.

    January 5, 2011
  183. Michelle Hawkins said:

    Guess we know where he goes to church now.

    January 5, 2011
  184. Kathie Galotti said:

    This may well be my own naivete–i left my church in college, and never joined another one–maybe a function of disillusionment–but in any case, it seems to me that church leaders ought to be held to a higher standard than ‘hasn’t broken any laws.’ That seems, to me, like way too low a bar. Again, maybe as a non-church member this opinion isn’t worth much–but there it is.

    January 5, 2011
  185. john george said:

    Michelle- If you think it is Rejoice!, you are mistaken. I am a member of City Light Church. I have no fear or shame of telling you that.

    January 5, 2011
  186. Michelle Hawkins said:

    I meant no offense John. Was concerned your leaving the discussion was as a result of you being offended for your church.

    I’m relieved it isn’t. I’ve heard some good things about City Light although have never been there.

    So does the pastor of City Light preach your supposed to speak to old ladies (your elders) the way you have to Helen?

    January 5, 2011
  187. john george said:

    Michelle- I will answer you quirey, as I hold no offense against anyone in this thread. I, too, have taken stands in the past on incomplete or misunderstood or erronious information. Being the fallible human that I am, I know I may do it in the future. I appreciate it when someone points this out to me. When I question someone’s conclusions, I am only trying to get a better understanding of where they are coming from. When I run up against denial or refusal to support conclusions, then I am best to withdraw from the conversation.

    I am also very sensitive to manipulation or coercion on the part of any woman, as I grew up under that type of mothering. Praise be to God, He found a wife for me who is the most clear and succinct communicator I have run across. And this was all before I was even aware of His involvement in my life. I, and the church I attend, believe that the need for repentance is something we never outgrow. And, you might be surprised at how close Helen and I are in age.

    January 5, 2011
  188. Helen Albers said:

    Much of the facts which I have passed on have come from Scott Anfinson, our highly respected State of Minnesota archeologist.
    Others are free to contact him just as I have, and you will discover how knowledgeable a man he is.
    I believe his words on our graves, and also on the
    preservation of any historic property.
    And, this gentleman would never attack me again through Michelle this time!

    January 5, 2011
  189. Michelle Hawkins said:

    Helen – I am sorry, I egged John on. I was taken aback by his recent statements about you and knowing you from working at Taco bell and Econo Foods in the past, I know you to not be anything like he implies.

    I do hope Northfield News will do a follow up story on Holy Cross and include all the information here so people hear the whole story, not just the Rejoice church side.

    Most of all I pray that religious leaders, all religious leaders, are guided by their BOSS in ways that don’t hurt Christians.
    As many people they can help is far exceeded by how many they can hurt, as evidenced by Marsh and Clites behavior. It is a huge responsibility to guide believers and many are just not fit for the task. Ministry rather than Minister would better suit their abilities.

    January 6, 2011
  190. Griff Wigley said:

    Helen and Michelle,

    Our discussion guidelines require you to address the person you disagree with by first name.

    So please refrain from talking *about* John. Address him directly, as if he’s sitting across the table from you.

    January 6, 2011
  191. Michelle Hawkins said:

    Will do, Griff. I meant no harm. I felt bad that I put Helen in a position of further attack.

    John – you engaged in this very same thing, I leave it to Griff’s capable hands to speak on that matter.

    January 6, 2011
  192. David Ludescher said:


    Is it still OK to *about* Pastor Clites?

    January 6, 2011
  193. Griff Wigley said:

    David, yes, it’s okay to talk *about* Pastor Clites since he’s not participating here and is not likely to do so. If he does, then everyone must address him directly and in a civil manner. Even me!

    January 6, 2011
  194. john george said:

    Griff- Good thing we are all “civilians” here. Of course, if we were in the military, we could address him “privately”, or possibly make a “general” statement.

    January 6, 2011
  195. David Ludescher said:


    Call me old-fashioned, but I think you should have the same, or even stricter civility rules when someone isn’t participating as is the case here. I don’t think it is OK to call Pastor Clites ridiculous, un-Christian, and disingenuous (original post) or a fundamentalist preacher who cowers his congregation (post 14), or a manipulater, liar, and misleader (post 51).

    January 6, 2011
  196. Helen Albers said:


    In review, I noticed your question (58.1). You inquired whether anyone knows the whereabouts of the pews. plaques, and other artifacts that were removed by Clites.

    Yes, many of these items are located, even the organ, which was sold for a pittance, and Rev. Marsh at All Saints received the payment!

    Michelle Millenacker, President of Dundas Historical Society, has kept track of these historic treasures, which added so much to the beauty of Holy Cross. and to the history of the City of Dundas.

    January 6, 2011
  197. Michelle Hawkins said:

    Helen -hmmm… I wonder if there’s a way to negotiate a small museum onsite at the church?!? That way the artifacts would still be onsite where they belong and displayed with plaques of historical explanation. It would tie in nicely with the gravesite, which I consider part of Dundas history as much as Cleland ancestry.

    Don’t choke, but Clite’s may even see a small benefit in a few extra in attendance at his services as a result of this display.

    The moneys paid for the artifacts could be garnered back from those who recieved payment for their sale, to assist in the construction costs of their display. It would restore Honor to the Lutheran org if they stepped up to subsidize the rest, and after all, it’s their history now too.

    It’s a win-win solution.

    January 7, 2011
  198. David Ludescher said:


    If you really wanted to do something positive, would you be willing to come with me to talk to Pastor Clites and the building committee? Anyone else? Griff? Jane? Helen?

    We would probably have some fence-mending given all of the mean things that have been said about Rejoice! and its pastor. But, I believe in a forgiving God, and I’m am reasonably certain that they do too.

    January 7, 2011
  199. Michelle Hawkins said:

    David – I will think about it! Must have time to ponder how such a meeting would go when the fence needs such great mending on both sides.

    More than one Cleland family member would need to sign on for it also and the Historical Societies(Dundas, and State) presence would be necessary.

    I can see great benefits from such a meeting if this group could be assembled, and the possibility for even greater offense if it is not.

    January 7, 2011
  200. David Ludescher said:


    I was thinking of something much simplier – just a good old-fashioned neighbor to neighbor discussion without all the electronic name-calling. What’s the harm?

    January 7, 2011
  201. Griff Wigley said:

    I’d be willing to meet with Clites and/or the building committee, David.

    But I have to ask: as an attorney, are you representing Rejoice! or anyone involved in this issue?

    January 7, 2011
  202. Helen Albers said:

    A Dundas Historical Museum will have to be in another place, which the Pres. of Dundas Historical and I have discussed previously ,not in Rejoice as long as they own the church.
    Would love to be a “church mouse” in the corner, when you fellows meet with Clites!
    Griff, he may “save your soul,” as he tried with Steve Albers!:)
    Welcome to try, but I believe no Dundas Episcopalian would enter the church again, and please count me out.

    January 7, 2011
  203. john george said:

    David- There is a Beattitude that says blessed are the peacemakers. This case reminds me of the joke about how many therapists it takes to change a lightbulb. It only takes one, but the bulb really has to want to change.

    January 7, 2011
  204. Stephanie Henriksen said:

    David and Michelle,

    Reinstalling the interior is a great idea. It’s the only thing in addition to stopping the moving of graves (as I said in an earlier comment) that could heal the wounds in the community and make everybody feel better. But could you HOLD OFF on planning a meeting w/Clites for a few days? I believe a couple key people (each side of this) may already have something going or at least a good start. We don’t want to jump ahead and “muck it up.”

    I will get back to you.

    January 7, 2011
  205. Michelle Hawkins said:

    David, John, Griff- If both sides of the fence can’t mend,it is challenging to attend.

    Helen -would there be anyone else in the Cleland family that would be willing to attend, perhaps even to hear a sincere apology from those who have so deeply wounded a beloved founding family of Dundas?

    John, David, Griff and Helen –
    what if an uninvolved well-known, respected, and even secularly capable Pastor were invited, say as a “cooling agent” and bridge between differing perspsectives? One not involved in the concerns, however well trained in addressing them and extremely loved by a large population of citizens and ministers alike,in the area?

    Of course I am referrinbg to Dr Will Healy, Pastor of Emmaus and recipient of The Joseph Lee Haywood Award last year for his work in our area. I don’t know if he would do it, but it would be worth asking him.

    January 7, 2011
  206. Michelle Hawkins said:

    Stephanie- I think it would take a few days to get any meeting logistics worked out anyway!

    If we just went willy nilly unprepared, as loving forgiving neighbors yada yada yada.. we could have our heads treated like John the Baptist’s.

    Mending fences and forgiveness should never mean tossing out the original issue as a concern…

    January 7, 2011
  207. Helen Albers said:

    Jane Moline, a former Holy Cross member, along with her DeMann family, is one to respond to this one, I am sure.

    The Cleland graves are secure, thanks to the State archeologist, which was our goal.

    Our family has always had an historical interest in Dundas
    because of William C. Cleland, and also out of respect for John Sidney Archibald, who engaged the great Bishop Whipple to conduct church services at the Archibald Mill in 1864 until a church was built.

    In 1868, Mr. Archibald , Founder of Dundas, gave the land to build Holy Cross Church, which was built by William C. Cleland. Such family respect for this man that my husband carried the name Lowell Archibald Albers.

    Such rich history in this small town!

    January 7, 2011
  208. Raymond Daniels said:

    Hello All. I have been reading this topic for a few days now and I have some questions I hope some of you may be able to answer.

    1. Why didn’t the city of Dundas or the Holy Cross congregation buy the church? That would have stopped all of this right from the start. I think it was Helen that made the comment that Rejoice! had bought the church on the cheap. If it was so cheap, why couldn’t the city or the Church congregation buy it?

    2. Helen, I’m sorry if the next question comes off rude, but based on your posts, I gather you are not a blood relative to the Cleland family. Your mother- in- law was married to a Cleland, correct? How do you have any standing as a family member to prevent the graves from being moved. I ask this from a legal point of view. If this was in court, I’m not sure you would have standing, but I am not a lawyer and I will defer to someone far smarter than me.

    3. Everyone is making comments about Rejoice! here, but what about the pastor of Holy Cross who decided to close the church? What part does he play in the pews and plaques being removed? I’m sure when the Church was sold, he could have taken them with him or even given them to the Holy Cross congregation. I equate this someone buying a house. You typically don’t buy the existing furniture in the house. You want your own furniture.

    4. How does a private citizen who is an archeologist have some much power to prevent land owners from developing their property? How was this man appointed to his position? Again, this is a legal question, but where is the due process when it comes to the person making decisions? I would think his authority could be challenged in court. I also think would a great “property rights” questions for the courts.

    5. Lastly, what did the Dundas city council think was going to happen when Rejoice! purchased Holy Cross? Did they think Rejoice! was not going to expand the building? Of course not! The city council of Dundas knew from the start what was planned and now that Helen and a few others have brought their concerns forward, they flipped.

    Again, I am not trying to offend anyone here. I am just trying to get some questions answered. I would also suggest that everyone stop bashing all the parties involved here. There can’t be a resolution with everyone taking shots at people. Have any of you even spoken with him? Has anyone spoken with a member of Rejoice!? Has anyone spoken with the former Pastor of Holy Cross?

    January 7, 2011
  209. David Ludescher said:


    You are in luck. I don’t represent them, so I can represent you if you need some counsel.

    January 7, 2011
  210. David Ludescher said:


    Are you asking for an invitation?

    January 7, 2011
  211. Helen Albers said:

    If you read the Older Comments, you will find many answers to your questions.
    Rejoice Church purchased Holy Cross Church on an entire block of Dundas for just $220,000 according to Rice Co. records; open to all.
    Holy Cross was sold out from under them by Gayle Marsh, Pastor of Holy Cross and of Nfld All Saints Episcopal.
    My mother-in-law was Beatrice Cleland Albers so our three children have Cleland blood! She revered the Archibald’s, and I got involved in honor of her. I don’t believe that is a court action!
    Some Dundas residents discovered by accident that their church property was up for sale on the internet-no notice given to them!
    The archeologist prevented our Cleland graves from being moved. He is knowledgeable about what he controls for our State of Minnesota, mainly every grave, cemetery and Indian mound in Minnesota. That’s it!
    Haven’t heard that the Dundas City Council “flipped!”
    Do you know something that we don’t?

    January 7, 2011
  212. Stephanie Henriksen said:


    Yes, I spoke with Rev. Clites by phone, back in October. We have a farm south of Dundas and a PO box in town. In response to all the comments my husband and I heard about Holy Cross one weekend in October, I called Rev. Clites to ask about the moving of the graves. He did not return my call, so after several days of waiting I called again. He said he had heard there was a “troublemaker” out there spreading lies about him and his church. I was pretty taken aback. I said if he meant me, I did not anticipate such a label when I called with a simple question.

    I bucked up my courage and asked if he would consider giving up a parking space or two in order to leave the Cleland monument and graves within the gated area in place. He said my husband should understand the value of parking space (he teaches at Middle School) and the graves would be moved, period. There was no appealing to him, so I thanked him for talking and wished him and his congregation well in their new location. (I did not know of Helen Albers’ relation to the Clelands at the time, but I thank her very much for pursuing it.)

    Yes, David, if a group meeting is set up, I would consider being part of it. But right now, I am suggesting we wait.

    January 7, 2011
  213. Jane Moline said:

    Raymond: I am going to take a stab at responding. Your first question is why somebody else didn’t buy and secure the chruch. You would have to read all the posts again, but I explained the nefarious actions of the Holy Cross priest (a she) who bullied the Vestry into her way of closing the church and then sold it without discussion or offering to the community. There is much to question the Episcopal Diocese on this matter, for their ill-treatment of the vestry, congregation, and the snatching of the church, its endowment fund and subsequent culpibility in the ransacking of the sanctuary.

    2. I know Helen can answer this one, but in Dundas, among other places, when you marry into a family they are your family. We even let them come to Christmas and Thanksgiving dinner–we don’t deny them even though they are not blood related. It is like we notice that marriage is a legal agreement. Helen’s husband and children are Cleland descendants. And thank goodness Helen cares about the Cleland graves. She let many, many relatives know and they all contacted Rejoice! and the city to let them know that they did not want the graves moved.

    3. Yes, the pastor of All Saints Gayle Marsh, a woman is certainly to blame for the destruction of a community treasure in her thoughtless push to take that chruch away from that congregation. See my posts.

    4. There is no private citizen claiming to be an authority banning grave moving. Scott Anfinson is the State Archeologist and had jurisdiction on all unregistered graves and gravesites and he has informed Rejoice! they cannot move the graves and must comply with building parking lots and buildings a certain distance from the graves.

    5. I don’t think the Dundas City Council had a clue what a problem was coming when the church was bought/sold. It is a church, which typically requires very little city responsibility, will not pay taxes, etc. Most people in Dundas were hopeful when Rejoice bought the church as they thought it would be good to keep it a church. Except they did not anticipate the callous disregard with which the church was treated—including the gutting of the sanctuary. Now we know that we should have had city ordinances in place that banned the destruction of historical registry buildings–inside or out–which would have protected the church. We foolishly did not think anyone would treat the church the way Rejoice did. If anyone had a clue about Rejoice’s plans, there would have been a hue and cry. Instead, we were repeatedly told we could continue to use the church for services –like funerals or weddings–and we stupidly thought we would actually be able to use the church–the pews, the communion rail, the lecturn, the organ, and the altar. But that is all gone now.

    If you look at older posts you will see all or most of this reiterated.

    January 7, 2011
  214. Raymond Daniels said:

    Thank you all for your responses. I appreciate them all, and good one about letting non-blood relatives come to thanksgiving. The one question I still have though is who empowered the archeologist to have oversight over all the graves in Minnesota? Is there a process in which someone can appeal his rulings? It sounds like this person has a lot of power without any checks and balances. Can one of you lawyers answer that for me?

    January 7, 2011
  215. Helen Albers said:


    The State of Minnesota Archeologist said, “”I have the Power of the State of Minnesota behind me!”

    This is a gentleman to trust. Believe in him.

    January 7, 2011
  216. john george said:

    Raymond- If you read the statute, it has a lot of power to prohibit state & local governments in the exercise of eminent domain. They can’t just plow through a family cemetary spot, marked or not. In fact, I have heard of a couple cases in past where human remains were unearthed in the process of building something. The whole project has to stop until it is verified where the remains came from and can be officially moved. It also pertains, of course, to any Indian burial sites. It is also aplicable to private property transactions. Welcome to Minnesota.

    January 7, 2011
  217. David Ludescher said:

    Anyone wanting an invitation should notify me by email at by Monday morning at 7:30.

    January 7, 2011
  218. David Ludescher said:


    If we can’t moderate ourselves, then God help us all.

    January 7, 2011
  219. Michelle Hawkins said:

    I will have to defer to Stephanies request to hold of due to another meeting in the works. You should WAIT David, as she has asked.

    The possibility to make this situation is strong if you jump in so quickly and so thoroughly unprepared.

    January 7, 2011
  220. Michelle Hawkins said:

    Wow I shouldnt type on the way to bed!
    Should read _The possibility to make this situation WORSE is strong…

    David, have the courtesy and respect to wait until we hear back from Stephanie. Fences don’t mend when more of them are torn by busting through what others are trying to do.

    January 7, 2011
  221. Michelle Hawkins said:

    And David, I do think you idea is sound as far as it goes, the timing and attendance needs work. Pay attention to what Stephanie has requested.
    And my suggestions for adding Will Healy, if possible.


    January 7, 2011
  222. Michelle Hawkins said:

    David -It wasn’t us I was concerned about.

    January 7, 2011
  223. Stephanie Henriksen said:

    Thank you for your support of a delay, Michelle. I replied to David tonight, saying I would consider being part of a future meeting if I hear back by end of week that no progress is being made by others. I think Rev. Gail Marsh of All Saints Episcopal in Northfield should be included, since she could fill us in on her role in all that transpired. And Roland Rutz who was called upon to remove the organ last January. He brought in a church musician from St. Paul to do a last concert before he removed the organ. Roland lives in Northfield. If Will Healy is neutral on all this, he might be one to include.

    January 7, 2011
  224. David Ludescher said:


    OK. Then God help us all.

    January 8, 2011
  225. Griff Wigley said:

    David, I think your idea for a proposed meeting needs more structure, depending on the issue and parties are involved.

    For example, I would meet with Clites to talk about the issues I raised in my original blog post, ie, his comments about “principalities of opposition” etc. That would best be limited to you, me and Clites, not the building committee or anyone else here.

    There are other sets of issues having to do with 1) the graves and the Cleland family; 2) the historic building; and 3) the whole process of the transfer/sale of the building and property.

    All those issues have many possible players and any meetings should have a defined purpose to them. And given that there are legal and financial issues involved with all those, I think there should be a designated mediator in charge.

    January 8, 2011
  226. john george said:

    Griff & David- If you want to talk to Pastor Clites about his original publication, I think that could be good, if he is open to it. I think one thing evident about this whole issue is that when you post something like this without ever having any relationship with the person you are questioning, it opens up an avenue for every other offense associated with it to be vented.

    I have been involved with conflict reslution in the Christian circles I’m involved in for 35 or so years. Two things have stood out to me in this time. 1)If either one of the parties refuses to negotiate, there is just nothing that can be done. My perspective comes out of a scripture, how can two walk together without an agreement. If one person continues to carry the offense, then it will just be swept under the rug, with the potential to erupt again in the future. 2) The other scripture I rely on is in Hebrews. Don’t let a root of bitterness spring up and by it many be defiled. I think there is evidence of that in this whole discussion. What really makes this work is the process of forgiveness. That is something that can be extended from either side, but if the opposite side does not respond to it, then the relationship will continue to be strained, or even broken. Intervention can only work when there is authority on the intervening side to impose it. I’m not sure we have that dynamic here.

    January 8, 2011
  227. David Ludescher said:


    Nah. If I am going to set up a meeting, it isn’t going to be an ambush. We will be his guests.

    January 8, 2011
  228. john george said:

    Griff & David- The more I think about this whole mess, the more it seems it is really none of our business at this point. The original church congregation was disolved by the Episcopal Church, not Rejoice! The property has been legally sold, with no apparent covenant attachments, and since there is no official Holy Cross congregation, and, to my knowledge, none of the people posting here are members of Rejoice!, our opinions of what transpired are of no consequence. The only legal aspect is the moving of the graves, and that has been handled through proper chanels. None of us are in any position to demand any kind of meeting with anyone, unless Rejoice! would desire it. Given the tenor of some of the comments in this thread, I certainly would have no desire for a meeting if I was part of Rejoice!

    January 9, 2011
  229. David Ludescher said:


    I won’t be demanding a meeting, I will be begging.

    January 10, 2011
  230. john george said:

    David- AAHH! That’s the right spirit!

    January 10, 2011
  231. David Ludescher said:


    You didn’t respond by email. Are you in or out?

    January 10, 2011
  232. Griff Wigley said:

    David, I’m up for a meeting with you, me and Clites, but only to talk about our respective pieces published on the web.

    January 10, 2011
  233. David Ludescher said:

    Judging by the replies to my email, there isn’t much interest from Locally Grown folks to meet with Rejoice! and Pastor Clites. I’ll try one more time –

    January 10, 2011
  234. David Ludescher said:


    I don’t know how we could say more than has already been said. Besides, I was thinking of a more civil and neighborly meeting.

    January 10, 2011
  235. Michelle Hawkins said:

    Recoiled from it as if from a hot flame, we did! Once burned, twice wary.

    David as I said, your idea has merit, however it’s timing and lack of structure etc, prevents some of us.

    If any meeting were to happen under conditions in which I would attend, I would just be there to listen, and read the body language.
    (have some training in that field..)

    I will not apologize for anything I have said here or anywhere else about this matter. However neighborly could be achieved if cultural traditions of this area were respected and restored!

    Northfield/Dundas does not need to be “taken back for God” . I’ve lived all over this country, in small towns and big cities, ghettos, middle class and the well off neighborhoods have been my home. I have never lived in a better, more christian behavior based place than Northfield/Dundas in my life.

    And in many cases the athiest community has acted even better than the Church People.

    This is a wonderful place to be, even in disagreement with others, and to come in here with disrespect, condescendsion(sp) and destruction of history, traditions, and hearts is the quintessential definition of “sin” It misses the mark.

    If you meet the way you say you intend to here, I suggest you guard your soul and don’t drink the Kool-Aid.

    I have a question, why was the YMCA turned down with the argument of seperation of church and state when a church is holding it’s sunday servixes at the middle school?

    David- I enjoy our thought provoking posting here at LoGroNo, with it’s diverse opinions. In all seriousness…
    Guard your soul, don’t drink that cup of sugary colored water and remember; there are at least two entities that quote scripture better than you or anyone else, you claim to know one, but do you really intimately understand the deceit of the adversary?

    January 11, 2011
  236. David Ludescher said:


    I don’t even know if any of the congregation at Locally Grown will be invited. So far, it appears that there aren’t many from this church who want to get together in a spirit of friendship with the people of Rejoice!.

    January 11, 2011
  237. Michelle Hawkins said:

    LOGRoNo a church?
    Griff, -really?-I had no idea! please explain!

    January 11, 2011
  238. Phil Poyner said:

    Yes, I believe it’s a subsidiary of The Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Vexation…I’m sure I could be wrong about that, though.

    January 11, 2011
  239. Kathie Galotti said:

    Perpetual Vexation–very cute!!!

    January 11, 2011
  240. john george said:

    David- Take a look at Joshua 5:13&14. I think there is some insight here.

    Just FYI, if I would agree to participate in some sort of meeting, I would probably be in Rejoice!’s corner. I agree with your approach, though, that it would be at the request of Rejoice! leadership.

    Phil- Perhaps another name for LGN Church is Our People of Perpetual Consternation.

    January 11, 2011
  241. Griff Wigley said:

    David, if you want to propose a gathering in which we hang out at the L&M or other venue to just socialize and get to know each other, then I think you need to state that explicitly. As one of the elders of the LoGro congregation, I’m up for that.

    But I thought you were proposing something that was based on the issues/conflicts.

    January 11, 2011
  242. Raymond Daniels said:

    Looking at this from a Rejoice! point of view, why would they want to me anyone from this blog site? Not to be rude, but 2 or 3 people complaining on a blog site, doesn’t make a community. In their eyes they have done nothing wrong and there would be no benefit to meeting anyone from here. They didn’t purhcase the church to preserve the holy cross community, they bought it for their own purposes. As a Christain myself, I can see their point of view on somethings. The graves are a different story.

    Michelle, I don’t think there is any “kool aid” here. I think they are just standing on their beliefs. Maybe in their eyes, people are being luke warm?

    January 11, 2011
  243. David Ludescher said:


    I thought that I was clear – no issues, no agenda, no mediator.

    January 11, 2011
  244. David Ludescher said:

    Due to the Locally Grown congregants’ lack of interest in meeting with Rejoice!, I am not going to arrange a formal meeting.

    January 12, 2011
  245. john george said:

    David- When God moves, none can stay His hand.

    January 12, 2011
  246. Stephanie Henriksen said:

    Others are making some progress, so it is not as if no communications are taking place. In the meantime, I have gotten copies of the Sept. 16 Dundas Planning Commission packet which has the Rejoice CUP application and site map. Maybe Griff could post those here.

    The map is a real eye opener. The original church and addition have shaded edges to distinguish them from the three areas of new construction and parking lot. There seems to be nothing left for a holding pond for runoff. I guess it will be discharged to the city sewer.

    January 14, 2011
  247. Michelle Hawkins said:

    Stepanie-Mr Zander will be so amused if Rejoice builds with runoff going into the city sewer. It will certainly strengthen his civil suit vs Dundas if that happens.

    January 15, 2011
  248. john george said:

    Michelle & Stephanie- Where does the stoorm water go that runs off the Menards parking lot? There ia swale that runs from Co. Rd 1, behind K-mart and Menards. These most often perform a filtering function for water flowing into a public body, such as the Cannon River. That swale is behind the church property, also. The parking area proposed by Rejoice! is quite a bit smaller than either K-mart or Menards.

    January 15, 2011
  249. john george said:

    Michelle- I will only comment on the storm water issue, as I believe the other things you mentioned are gossip. The parking lot proposed by Rejoice! is much, much smaller than Menards. I can probably get the actual area figures of the two if you desire. As far as our last flood problem, this was a record rainfall in the watershed area of the Cannon and Straight rivers. If anything exascerbated the speed of the rise, it would be tiling of farm fields. That is about the only significant change in the watershed area over the last couple decades. If you study urban lake designs, such as those found in the twin cities area, swales and water plants are used to deter polution build-up in the lakes.

    January 15, 2011
  250. Stephanie Henriksen said:

    John and Michelle,

    Accdg to the application for the CUP, “The bulk of the roof and lot stormwater will be detained in below-ground storage units for gradual release into the storm sewer system.”

    The site map (looks like a city block) purchased by Rejoice leaves no area for holding pond or whatever. Where will those storage units go– under the road to the east? By this plan, one assumes contaminants from the parking area end up in the Cannon. This sort of thing is the reason for an EAW (environmental assessment worksheet). Better alternatives might be looked at.

    January 16, 2011
  251. john george said:

    Raymond- Though I agree with you in principle, and it is not my responsibility to police this blog- that is Griff’s job- I must say that I don’t think Michelle deserved your comments. She is entitled to her opinion, though you and I may disagree. I feel your comments did not demonstrate love. We are exhorted to love our enemies, not just our friends. We are not to return evil for evil, but rather, a blessing. Let he who thinks he stands examine himself, lest he fall.

    January 16, 2011
  252. Griff Wigley said:

    Michelle, I’ve removed your comment with the disparaging remarks about Pastor Clites, no matter that you contend they’re the remarks of others.

    Raymond, I’ve likewise removed your comment to Michelle.

    January 17, 2011
  253. Raymond Daniels said:

    Fair enough…

    January 17, 2011
  254. Michelle Hawkins said:

    I’ve been ill and offline for a wee bit, Griff. I never saw any response and that’s just fine with me.

    Removing my comments at any time is your right ( and in some instances, obligation)to do so, even if their removal doesn’t change their realities.

    I do understand.

    I am human (as my health lately has so proven!) and will sometimes step out of bounds, aka in keeping with the “sprit” of this -sin, or miss the mark!

    Howed that go from centuries ago when I was a child?
    “Bless me Father for I have sinned…”

    January 17, 2011
  255. Michelle Hawkins said:

    typo- sprit. should read -spirit.

    ok.. back ot couch time. takes great courage to grow… old
    when the alternative would be soothing!

    January 17, 2011
  256. Stephanie Henriksen said:

    Try this link for proposed Rejoice site map. If it’s not clear, maybe Griff can adjust it. The small shaded area to upper left with curving walkway is Holy Cross. There is a small box marked as graves to be moved. The parking lot fills most of the area.

    January 19, 2011
  257. Michelle Hawkins said:

    Wow wow wow. I may be off by 1 or 2 but I count 108 parking spaces not including loading zone.

    That’s as big as some car dealerships.

    With average Sunday attendance at Rejoice services stated as around 200.

    Not drawing any conclusions here, just stunned at the real expanse of their plans.

    January 19, 2011
  258. john george said:

    Michelle- I have been puzzling over your reaction to Rejoice!’s proposing 108 parking stalls. Have you looked at St. John’s lot? Or St. Dominics? For a church of 200 to allow only 108 stalls really doesn’t allow for that much growth. It is only about 540′ X 80′, or about an acre of area. For comparison, that is about 4 city residential lots.

    January 20, 2011
  259. Raymond Daniels said:

    John, I think Michelle is so upset with Rejoice! that she is looking for anything and everythhing to bring up as an issue.

    I actually went to Rejoice! last weekend to get a feel for the church, and I found it really open. I also noticed that plans that are linked here are not the update plans. The have the building plans displayed for everyone to see. The have carved out a section of the parking lot for the Cleland family graves. I also asked one of the “members” how many people attend church, and he stated that each week the average is about 250. 108 spots for 250 people is not that many.

    January 20, 2011
  260. john george said:

    Raymond- Could be, but I’ll wait for Michelle to respond. I agree with your assessment of the parking area.

    January 20, 2011
  261. Steph Henriksen said:

    I think Dundas has a parking space figured for 5 people in a car. I have not seen the more recent map adjusting for the Cleland graves. Could someone post that here?

    I understand you can listen to Sunday services on the Rejoice website. First half hour is said to be music. Anyone know why Rejoice was in such a hurry to have the Holy Cross organ removed last January when they took possession? It was probably the most cherished item in the sanctuary.

    January 20, 2011
  262. john george said:

    Stephanie- I could only speculate about Rejoice!’s motives, but City Light Church is a non-denominational charismatic church. Many of the mebers came out of liturgical churches in the revival back in the 70’s. Many of them were wounded by those churches when they came into the charismatic experience. My wife and I were asked to leave the Lutheran church of which we were a member. My wife has a Lutheran heritage that dates way back to Sweden. Her great-great-greatgrandfather settled the first Swedish Lutheran church in Iowa when it was still a territory and had not become a state. We personally like organ music, but to many of my friends, organs conger up memories of wounds they went through. I am only sharing this to give you some perspective. I think I can understand why this church would remove the organ, but to say this is their reason is only speculation on my part.

    January 20, 2011
  263. Steph Henriksen said:


    I have Lutheran beginnings also, and I really appreciate your thoughts here. Rejoice! is listed as Rejoice! Lutheran on its website, isn’t it?

    It is not uncommon for someone to become dissatisfied with a church and leave, but I have not heard of many cases when someone is actually asked to leave. I am so sorry you experienced this. I don’t suppose you care to share what brought that about.

    January 20, 2011
  264. john george said:

    Stephanie- I don’t mind at all. In the early 70’s, there was a big revival happening across the country, known as the Jesus People movement. My wife and I had actually left the church in college. We got involved in some philosophies which denied God, so we turned our backs on the church. After college, we moved to a strong Dutch Reform area in NW Iowa. Our fist weekend there, we read an article in the local paper that 98% of the town belonged to a church. We went back to the Lutheran church there just to fit into the social network. Being college professionals, we were welcomed in with open arms. The church was very liberal, so our philosophies fit right in. We were put in charge of the youth group. Some young people from this “Jesus People” movement came to town, so we invited them to speak to the youth group. There was a little Gospel Church there that had invited them in. They were having some open meetings where some supernatural things were occuring. There was much discussion about this in our adult Sunday School class, so being young and brave as we were, we went to check it out and bring back a report. At that meeting, my wife responded to a call for salvation. Jesus revealed Himself to her a couple days later and she began to change. I couldn’t stand her having something I didn’t, so after a couple weeks of turmoil, I gave my life to God. All of a sudden, the Bible became clear to me as the Holy Spirit began to reveal the truth of the Scripture. A couple months later, we went to another meeting and received what we call the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. The next Sunday, we went to our pastor and told him about our experience. The Holy Spirit was being poured out in the Lutheran church across the country at that time, and he had heard about it. His response was, “I have heard about this happening in some other Lutheran churches, and it is causing some problems. I don’t want that happening in this church, so I think it would be best if you left and went to that little Gospel church.” That summer of ’72, we went to the first Lutheran Convention on the Holy Spirit held in Minneapolis. It was extreemly refreshing to meet other Lutherans who shared our experience and understanding of the Scriptures. That was nearly 39 years ago, and it has been quite a ride, but it has been exhilerating.

    Also, Rejoice! is a church plant out of Hosanna Lutheran in Lakeville. If I’m remembering correctly, Hosanna dropped out of the ELCA Synod this last year over the issue of ordaining non-celibate gay pastors. I think there is a new group of Lutheran churches that are organizing together across the country after having made the same choice. The “Lutheran” is probably in name only.

    January 20, 2011
  265. Helen Albers said:


    Last week I saw the church listed as Rejoice! Renewal Church.

    On the list of Minnesota churches, which left the ELCA, Rejoice! was the first in SE Minnesota to vote out of ELCA on the gay ordination issue.

    Clites is a graduate of Moorhead State in English and Mass Communications, who became a broadcaster in the Fargo area before seminary.

    January 21, 2011
  266. Steph Henriksen said:

    John, you say, “We personally like organ music, but to many of my friends, organs conjure up memories of wounds they went through.”

    I have noticed new churches like Rejoice! and City Light have replaced traditional music with guitar and drum. I thought that might be to appeal to young people, a way of building membership.

    But thanks to you, John, I see the possibility that Rev. Clites may have seen the stripping of the sanctuary as an act of cleansing. Out with the old and on with the new. He evidently did not anticipate the hurt to the community.

    January 22, 2011
  267. john george said:

    Stephanie- For our particular group, the contemporary music is just something we came into in the ’70’s and ’80’s. It is really no more than our preference, though some people like to attach some spirituality to it. I just don’t agree with that particular estimation. We really don’t use it as a draw for any particular age group. I do not attach any particular spiritual significance to music per se. I’m flirting with retirement, and I still play my guitar in the Sunday worship service. There are quite a few teenagers and 20’s agers that I play alongside. I tell them I am the token old person on the worship team. Our particular worship format would be considered non-liturgical.

    As far as Rejoice!’s motivation for removing the organ, I can still only speculate. It is an inanimate object, really, and part of the property that they purchased. I suppose they are free to do whatever they like with it. It seems strange to me that if the church property and the organ were so significant to people, that they would allow it to fall into the position of being sold. I don’t think it is reasonable to expect Rejoice! to expend their finances to memorialize this property for those who did not want to support it financially.

    January 22, 2011
  268. Steph Henriksen said:

    Re: your comment 87.1.2

    Holy Cross members left the organ and the rest of the artifacts in place because, as Jane Moline has said, Rev. Gayle Marsh (minister to both All Saints and Holy Cross) said Rejoice was leaving the sanctuary intact for future weddings and funerals. That promise gave some comfort to everyone.

    Then last January, upon taking possession of the property, a local company was called in to remove the organ and the pews were listed for sale on the Rejoice website. Dundas residents rushed to secure whatever they could after that. Dundas Historical Society has some of it in storage. People had taken Marsh and Clites at their word, John. It was not as if they neglected to clear the sanctuary before the buyer came in. They believed the word of a minister was good.

    January 22, 2011
  269. john george said:

    Stephanie- Unless Pastor Marsh or Pastor Clites clarifies this, it is not clear which one actually made that promise. Normally, the disposition of these types of furnishings are clearly spelled out in the purchase agreement. They are not necessarily protected unless there is a covenant agreement to do so. That is done to allay people responding on assumptions.

    January 23, 2011
  270. Jane Moline said:

    John and Stephanie: the promise that was made to Holy Cross congregants was that they would be able to continue holding services in the sanctuary.

    I believe Gayle Marsh AND everyone else who heard that said made an assumption that there would be “insides” left in the church for church services.

    I don’t think if even crossed anyones mind that Rejoice planned to gut the sanctuary and turn it into a nondescript meeting room. After all, there is plenty of space in the addition where people could meet. It was a foolish assumption and another way that Gayle Marsh cheated the Holy Cross congregation.

    It could easily have been specified in the sale of the church but it was not–the fault of Gayle Marsh-it was left to trust and I don’t think the Rejoice people gave two shakes what anyone else thought. (I have spoken to some of the members and they assumed no one else wanted the church anymore.)

    January 23, 2011
  271. Raymond Daniels said:

    Rejoice! bought the church and is free do what they want with the inside. It’s just like when you moved into your house. You brought your own stuff and use the rooms of the house for your own needs. You can not dictate how Rejoice! is going to use the building that they legally purchased. At the end of the day, it is no longer Holy Cross.

    January 23, 2011
  272. Jane Moline said:

    Wrong, Raymond. A church is not a house and a congregation is not a single family purchasing a home. Homes are not tax-exempt property and do not have cemetaries. Gayle Marsh manipulated the church away from its congregation and sold it to a differenct congregation–one that had no idea of her duplicity. Then, the purchaser made certain statements that the old congregation (not the sellers, since they had the church stolen from them—if they had a hand in the sale, they would have specified what the buyer could and couldn’t change) rightly or wrongly took to be favorable–they could use the church for services–which meant something entirely different to the buyers versus the former occupants.

    A church is not a house. It is too bad thet you, Raymond, can’t tell the difference.

    What everybody seems to miss is that when you sell your house it is because you want to leave. The former congregation never wanted to leave and never intended to sell.

    Another case of just cause you can get away with it does not make it right. Surprizing that a church cannot understand the responsibility to ethical action.

    January 23, 2011
  273. Steph Henriksen said:

    Google the Mayor’s website, “Glenn! of Dundas,” to find photos from the 1st Annual History, Music and Stories Tour of 2008. Holy Cross is featured, with views of the sanctuary and George Hardgrove at the organ.

    The big stained glass window says

    Be Ye Faithful Unto Death
    And I Will Give You A
    Crown of Life

    January 24, 2011
  274. Raymond Daniels said:

    Jane, this is where you are wrong. I can see the difference, it is you that is sadly mistaken. This was a leagal, private sale and no one really has anything to say about it. I was trying to make the anology so you could understand, but apparently you have not.

    I also find it hard to believe that no one at holy cross knew what was going on. Also, if Holy Cross didn’t want the church to be sold, why did they step up and buy the building? Why didn’t you step up and buy it?

    I really don’t see where Rejoice! is being unethical here. They did not buy Holy Cross to keep it the same. Why can’t you understand that?

    January 24, 2011
  275. Jane Moline said:

    Raymond: I understand that the Rejoice church bought the Holy Cross church and can legally do whatever it wants. I said very clearly, just because you have a legal right does not make it an ethical or proper or even a decent right. What they have already done is destruction and wrong. Even if they had a legal right to dismantle the church, it is something they should have inquired about before they bought–and then they let people think that was not their plan–a small oversight or because they are insensitive and did not care–either way a moral wrong.

    January 24, 2011
  276. john george said:

    Raymond- I think you and I have come from a different perspective of church leadership than what is being expressed by others here. The churches of which I have been a member have been locally autonomous congregations whose leadership pattern is transparency. You seem to speak from a similar perspective. No major decisions are made without the input of the full congregation. It is possible, when a local church is part of a synodical heirarchy, that decisions about the church could be made without the knowledge or input of the congregation involved. I guess I don’t find it hard to believe that the members of Holy Cross did not know the details of what was going on in this transaction until after the fact. I agree with you that Rejoice! should be able to dispose of the property as it sees fit, limited only by the National Historical status of the property. Nowhere does this this document govern the disposition of interior furnishings. It is really unfortunate that there was not better understanding in this case. It is a good example of how everyone does not think alike. Communication is what brings understanding among parties in a transaction. It is now evident that this did not occur on a level to prevent offenses. It’s unfortunate, to say the least. As my grandfather used to say, the horse is already out of the barn. It’s of little use to close the door now.

    January 24, 2011
  277. john george said:

    Jane- There may have been some wisdom to further investigate what peoples’ expectations were for the property, but hindsight is always 20-20. When the property was presented to them as a closed church, I don’t know what would have prompted them to investigate further. What they did with the property is neither morally or ethically wrong. They just simply acted outside of your’s and others’ assumptions. I do believe that your expectations of them to preserve some monument to a failed church endeavor are unreasonable and unfair. If the congregation wanted to preserve or continue the operation of the church, it seems there was ample opportunity to do that before Rejoice! bacame involved.

    January 24, 2011
  278. Raymond Daniels said:

    John, you are correct. I come from a back ground that this would never happen without the church knowing. I guess that is why I struggle with the opinions of Jane and some of the other. I also agree with your point on the horses.

    January 24, 2011
  279. Kathie Galotti said:


    Although I largely agree with many of the points you’ve raised in various posts, I am having trouble with pointing fingers ONLY at Gayle Marsh and Dan Clites. The Holy Cross folks had to have at the very least been asleep at the switch, so to speak, to let these two do what they did. Why weren’t members of the congregation involved in the negotiations?

    None of this excuses the unethical behavior of either actor, of course. I’m just saying that if all the congregants abdicate responsibility or don’t take the time to give input, they do also bear some responsibility, don’t they?

    January 24, 2011
  280. Jane Moline said:

    Kathie: I have blamed the Holy Cross congregation over and over, but I have to also say that they had the fight kicked out of them and they were specifically excluded from any of the negotiations on the sale. The church was literally stolen from the congregation–they would have had to hire an attorney and sue the diocese to get it back, and I cannot blame them for losing faith in the fight. There is just so much fight in most people, and the Holy Cross congregants really thought that they were doing the right things and had no idea that Gayle Marsh had such a terrible plan to prevent them from using their church.

    I do not just blame Gayle Marsh and Dan Clites–although they have a special place in the blame because of their position in their respective churches and a responsibility to the community. I also blame the Rejoice congregation, who oddly believe they have been respectful in dismantling a beautiful historic church.

    And, unfortunately asleep at the wheel were the citizens, city council and city administrator of Dundas, who failed to enact protections for this grand and beautiful historic church. A few reasonable restrictions on the church would have put Rejoice on notice that they would not be able to dismantle the sanctuary and given them a chance to either not buy the church or to adopt plans that were respectful to the church and its’ historical nature.

    Truly, no one concieved that someone would sell the church and the buyer would rip out the insides and attempt to desecrate the graves. More’s the pity.

    January 24, 2011
  281. Jane Moline said:

    John: I think part of the problem is that it was not a failed church–the congregation was vibrant and had continued to support itself for 140 years and would probably have gone on for many more except for Gayle Marsh and her plan to dismantle the church. That is not a failed church.

    I have been trying to be fair to the Rejoice congregants who have just wanted to find a home for their church–a noble endeavor. I get stuck on their gutting the sanctuary. They could easily have asked the former congregants about the graves, the sanctuary, and what had happened that such a beautiful church was being closed and available. Of course, Rejoice is as much a victim of Gayle Marsh as the Holy Cross congregants were. So I go back and forth.

    I don’t think it is ever right to dismantle an historic structure. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. The National Historic Registry was a known factor. A little respect would be nice.

    January 24, 2011
  282. john george said:

    Jane- I’m not completely familiar with the structure of the Episcopal Church. Does each local congregation own the physical plant and property where they meet, or is it owned by the Diocese? I was just wondering about that in reference to a comment you made in post 73.

    January 24, 2011
  283. Jane Moline said:

    John: I think many of the Episcopal churches are owned by the congregation at least beneficially and the congregation through its vestry controls the property.

    The Holy Cross congregation was informed that their vestry was considering “mission status” which was just a classification by the diocese based on the financial support the congregation was able to provide the dioceses. Mission status was common for the Dundas church and they were not upset by going to that classification. Then the vestry told them they had voted to close the chruch–without telling them they were even considering closing the church. This was a terrible blow to the active congregation–they felt they should have been told that such a vote was being considered–not misled that only mission status was being considered. So they get a very shocking letter that services were suspended as of a date in June of 2009.

    Some of the congregation still feel that the vote violated the by-laws of the church. According to some on the vestry, Gayle Marsh told them their by-laws were out of date and that they had to follow the diocese by-laws.

    Your or I would have questioned such instructions from someone regarding our church–but this vestry was made up of foolish and inexperienced people or those will little regard for their responsibilities to the church and congregation–they did not question Marsh’s instructions.

    Then the church was closed. The congregation was not consulted on the closing or the selling of the church. They were shocked–betrayed by their own vestry and their own minister. They did not know what to do and now they are receiving all kinds of criticism for not fighting harder. I am mad that they didn’t fight for their church–but that is always easy to put somebody else up to fight a battle–it is not fair of me to blame them for giving up.

    I called the Attorney General’s office because I felt that the Episcopal diocese, through Gayle Marsh, had committed a fraud on the Holy Cross congregation–but I found out that our Attorney General does not like to get into fights with a church and wasn’t too keen on the idea–and I do not feel that just because I appreciate the wonderful historic value of that church in our community–I was not the church congregation and did not have standing against the diocese.

    The Holy Cross congregation never wanted to close their church or sell it. They had operating funds for at least two more years. Gayle Marsh took that church away for her own plan, and could not wait to get rid of it to prevent the Dundas congregation from fighting back.

    I don’t have your email or phone number John, but I would be happy to talk to you about it. Griff has all my contact information if you want to get it from him I would love to discuss.

    January 25, 2011
  284. Kathie Galotti said:


    I’m glad you posted this last comment–it explains to me a lot more clearly why the congregation really bears less responsibility than I first may have thought. Again, wow. Unbelievable that this could happen.

    January 25, 2011
  285. john george said:

    Jane- My phone number is in the book. It is 663-0976. I would love to get together with you. I work Wednesday through Sunday, so I am around on Mondays & Tuesdays.

    I guess my reaction to this is like Kathie’s- Wow! I have heard of this type of thing happening in other denominational churches, but it has been a really long time. I can’t bring judgement or criticism upon your vestry, but my understanding of by-laws is that they are set up to avoid just this kind of event. I guess they are just like the speed limit sign along the side of the road. They are only effective if people actually follow and obey them.

    Feel free to give me a call. Just leave a message if I am not home.

    January 25, 2011
  286. David Ludescher said:


    I’m sure that you and others appreciate the historic value of the Church. But, now that Rejoice! rightfully owns the property, shouldn’t we just let them do what they want with their own property and support them as they build a new community in Dundas?

    January 26, 2011
  287. Jane Moline said:

    David L: No, I don’t think we should leave someone who desecrates a valued historic structure. I think we should all at least be appalled. There are many things that are legal in this world and this society, but that does not make them right and good.

    If Rejoice was valuing and preserving the Holy Cross church, they would have my whole-hearted support and more. Their treatment of the church is a reflection of who they are, and I do not like or even appreciate it.

    David L, on another thread (Tucson tragedy) you spoke of the need to have a moral leader–a non-partisan leader that all could follow–that seems to be sorely lacking in many of our situations and especially here. We should still stand up for right and wrong, even if people criticise–we need to at least take a stand.

    I am taking a stand against what Rejoice has done and is doing to a wonderful historic church.

    January 26, 2011
  288. Raymond Daniels said:

    Jane–I appreciate your comment in post 96. It is very distrubing what Marsh did. Wow.

    Here is where I think you are wrong. Rejoice! did not buy Holy Cross to preseve it as you state in 97, they bought it and the land to build their Church. You state that you are taking a stand against Rejoice!, yet they have done nothing wrong. Referring to back to another thread you stated (paraphrased)….”just repeating it over and over doesn’t make it true”

    January 26, 2011
  289. Steph Henriksen said:


    Is Rejoice your church? I have to ask, because you seem very resistant to the possibility that anything was mishandled on that side.

    January 26, 2011
  290. john george said:

    Jane- This is aprofoundly true statement you made here:

    ” There are many things that are legal in this world and this society, but that does not make them right and good.”

    Just knowing some of the positions you have taken in some of your other posts, I think our respective lists might be divergent, though. But I agree with your statement.

    January 26, 2011
  291. john george said:

    Stephanie- I am not a member of Rejoice!, but I agree with what Raymond posted in 97.1. I don’t think a person has to be a member of this church to defend it.

    January 26, 2011
  292. David Ludescher said:


    I don’t see it the same way. What is the most right (for you and me) is to let Rejoice! do what they want with their property. It is the only way you and I can have the freedom to do what we want with our property.

    January 26, 2011
  293. Raymond Daniels said:

    No, but I did attend the church a few weeks ago to see what it was like. I found the people there to be God loving people. I also saw the updated plans for the building.

    I am 100% against Rejoice! moving the graves without the consent of the family. That was wrong on their part and they should take some flak for that and they did. But they have since modified their plans and that issue is over.

    I am 100% against Jane in her attack on Rejoice! for not “preserving Holy Cross”. Rejoice! bought the land to grow their church. They had nothing to do with what Marsh did.

    January 26, 2011
  294. Kathie Galotti said:


    I’m not seeing your logic here. If Jane believes that Rejoice has done something crummy, it’s her right, certainly, to think that and to say that. Freedom of speech and all. I don’t see what compells her to shut up. Of course Rejoice! has the legal right to gut Holy Cross and sell off the pieces–regardless of what Jane thinks. But what would compel Jane to have to congratulate or support them as you suggest in 96.3?

    January 27, 2011
  295. john george said:

    Kathie- To your statement:
    “I’m not seeing your logic here. If Jane believes that Rejoice has done something crummy, it’s her right, certainly, to think that and to say that. Freedom of speech and all.”
    I would respond with Jane’s own comment:
    ” There are many things that are legal in this world and this society, but that does not make them right and good.”
    Just because we have freedom of speech in this country, I do not believe that gives us license to vent our anger upon a group or person. To say that a particular action made us angry is honest and unoffensive. To describe a person or group using angry words only deepens the offense. Do you see the difference?

    January 27, 2011
  296. David Ludescher said:


    I think the right thing to do is to welcome these people and this new church into the community. This blog has been less than hospitable; it has been intolerant. And, that ain’t right.

    January 28, 2011
  297. Kathie Galotti said:

    John (97.3.2)

    I’ll give you this: There have been some unfair, overgeneralized, inflammatory comments made earlier in the blog about fundamentalist ministers. You’ll notice, I’m not endorsing those.

    But I think Jane is doing something entirely different: She’s standing up, speaking her truth, explaining the reasons for her conclusions, and saying, basically, “I don’t think this is right.” There’s a difference between doing that and just calling names.

    David: You can go ahead and welcome and support Rejoice! church. Why should Jane have to? I don’t see that she has done anything wrong. In fact, I am very glad she has posted what she has about both Rejoice! and All Saints. It lets me, as a community member, know what they are like to deal with. And it allows me to make the choice to avoid them at all costs. In my mind, that is valuable information for me and for others. It certainly doesn’t constrain either of you (John or David) to see things my way, or Jane’s way–go ahead and be welcoming. But when you start to dictate that EVERYONE must welcome and support Rejoice! given what they’ve done….well, I think (respectfully) you are wrong.

    January 28, 2011
  298. Raymond Daniels said:

    Kathie–I agree with you that Jane has a right to her opinion. I do take pause with your comment that based on what she has said, you will avoid both churches. You need to develop your own opinion based on the facts that you gather. That is why I went to Rejoice! for a week to get the experience to form my own opinion. I think Jane might agree with me on this. This is just like republican talk radio, you shouldn’t form your opinion based on what they say. You need to investigate it.

    January 28, 2011
  299. David Ludescher said:


    This blog post is and was mostly about cyber-bullying. Rejoice! has chosen to turn the other cheek, which I think is admirable.

    January 28, 2011
  300. Griff Wigley said:

    David, I don’t think you can know Rejoice’s real motivation for not participating here. I would doubt that it’s out of a desire to "turn the other cheek," whatever that actually means. But I don’t know their motivation, either.

    I also don’t see how you can refer to my blog post as ‘cyber-bullying’ and not find fault with Dan Clites’ choice of wording on his church’s website.  Why  would you not refer to his words as cyber-bullying?  Calling your opposition ‘principalities’ is a despicable tactic, IMHO.  And I don’t see how you can characterize his not replying to my criticism and not apologizing for using that tactic is ‘admirable.’

    January 29, 2011
  301. Jane Moline said:

    David L: This post was not started for cyper-bullying. It was for Dan Clites clothing himself in his religion so he would look heroic at least to his congregation. And then there was the real bullying of Helen Albers and the Cleland family.

    It expanded to the actions of two ministers who used their positions to bully others into doing what they wanted–and then Clites claiming he was fighting a righteous fight against evil.

    Unfortunately you and others on this post have taken most of the accounts of actions on the part of Clites or Marsh as “opinion.” Raymond even thinks that by going to the Rejoice church he will somehow find out what “really” happened in meetings of one or two people.

    It isn’t up to Rejoice to “turn the other cheek.” It is up to Rejoice to ask forgiveness of those they have offended, including the Cleland family. I will continue to oppose their invasion of Dundas and desecration of an historic building with no regard for anyone elses feelings or sensibilities. Perhaps par for the course in this day and age, but I would expect more of a religious group that so obviously believes themselves better than others.

    Yes, it is only my opinion but it is based on my principals, both of responsibility to community and to each other.

    January 29, 2011
  302. Kathie Galotti said:

    Once again, Jane, you’ve put issues into words so much more articulately than I can. David, it’s about speaking out against bullying. Raymond, how would attending a Rejoice! service ever let me decide whether or Holy Cross was duped?

    Jane, and Griff: I’m glad you have posted what you have. The community needs to hear what’s really going on–not just what the Northfield News sees fit to report on.

    January 29, 2011
  303. john george said:

    Griff- You said, “Calling your opposition ‘principalities’ is a despicable tactic, IMHO.” You can have that opinion, but it doesn’t align with the scripture Pastor Clites refered to in Ephesians. I do not know his motivation, either, but the general focus of that section is for we believers to get our eyes off our fellow humans and see from where the battle really emanates. You once refered to some years you spent in a seminary. I don’t know which one you attended, but it seems to have left you agnostic rather than laying a foundation of faith. It really doesn’t matter, though, as we all will answer to God for the intent of our heart. Hebrews 4:12 says this, “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” From this I deduce that there is One who sees through us.
    Also, your comment, “And I don’t see how you can characterize his not replying to my criticism and not apologizing for using that tactic is ‘admirable.’” reminds me of something I heard just the other day. If you really want to know how important you are, stick your finger in a glass of water, remove it, and see how large of a hole is left. I just don’t see how Pastor Clites should be compelled to answer to you or anyone else on this web site.
    I also was reminded of this passage which is repeated three times in the Bible. That normally means it is pretty important, depending upon whom you ask.:
    1.Isaiah 6:10
    ” Render the hearts of this people insensitive,Their ears dull,And their eyes dim, Otherwise they might see with their eyes,Hear with their ears,Understand with their hearts,And return and be healed.”
    Isaiah 6:9-11 (in Context) Isaiah 6 (Whole Chapter)
    2.Matthew 13:15
    Matthew 13:14-16 (in Context) Matthew 13 (Whole Chapter)
    3.Acts 28:27
    Acts 28:26-28 (in Context) Acts 28
    When it comes down to it, there are some expectations of Rejoice! on some peoples’ hearts that are just unrealistic and unreasonable. If these people wanted to preserve this church as a historical relic, then that is their responsibility, not Rejoice!’s. Like most other things I have found in this life, if you are not willing to pay for it, you probably will not receive it.

    January 29, 2011
  304. Raymond Daniels said:

    Well put John….at the end of the day should we really be concerned with brick and mortar? Why are we so concerned about the walls and roof when all we should be doing is giving glory to God. All Rejoice! wants to do is whorship God. Why is that so wrong? We should look beyond the earthly surroundings and keep our eyes on the prize. Remember, all this will pass away, yet he will remain forever…(paraphrased)

    January 29, 2011
  305. Raymond Daniels said:

    Jane…I really don’t understand you. Rejoice! owes you nothing and the Cleland famlily issue is done. You need to let is go. Not to be rude, but I imagine Rejoice! is sad that you are upset, but I really don’t think they care what your opinion is. Jane, you need to move on. I know you and I don’t agree on anything, but you need to trust me on this one.

    I imagine that is why no one from that church has posted here. Think about, other that maybe 5 five who keep this thread going, it is old news. Sorry Griff, but this blog is not important to Rejoice!

    January 29, 2011
  306. David Ludescher said:


    I wouldn’t refer to what Clites did as a “tactic”. He was obviously talking to his congregation about the state of affairs with the graves.

    I consider your approach to be a tactic. If what Clites did was despicable, then I consider publishing his words to the larger world without offering Clites the opportunity to explain himself is a type of cyber-bullying, especially when you don’t have a dog in the fight.

    January 30, 2011
  307. Steph Henriksen said:


    If there is a “dog in the fight” for me, it is an attempted takeover (transfomation) of local govt of Northfield and Dundas which Clites refers to on Rejoice! and other websites. I believe in separation of church and state, Clites does not.

    January 30, 2011
  308. Jane Moline said:

    Raymond: I guess we should just let anybody do anything in your book. I think you should just let it go–why do you care if I care that the only really historic building in Dundas is being destroyed by a group that so obviously does not care what I think that you even point it out? The Rejoice church does not care about anyone or anything outside of their plans-they want what they want and they don’t give two hoots how anyone else feels about it. Again, Rejoice has a responsibility to the community–whether you care or not.

    As to “old news” what is really old is the 140 year old church being desecrated.

    January 30, 2011
  309. Raymond Daniels said:

    Jane, you are missing the point. I am defending Rejoice! from your over-inflated self importance. Rejoice! is not destorying the church, they are expanding it. Just because you don’t like it, does not give you the right to trash the congregation or the Pastor. In fact, how do we know that everything that you have been saying is not made up just to influence people to join your position. For all I know, you could be just spreading unfounded rumors. By the way, the last time I checked, you are not the entire community of Dundas.

    January 30, 2011
  310. Jane Moline said:

    Raymond: you make my point. This is good tactic–if you can’t argue the point, attack the person. Excellent tactic. Your first approach was to argue the facts, now it is to claim that they are made up, and to attack me personally.

    January 30, 2011
  311. Raymond Daniels said:

    I am arguing the facts. What evidence do you have to back up your “story”? You are the only one here that seems to know all this inside info. All we have been hearing is your lopsided view. Before you go there, I am only talking about the Church, not the graves. Also, you seem to have no problem attacking someone who doesn’t even come on this site (Pastor Clites), sounds a little hypocritical to me, how about you?

    January 30, 2011
  312. Helen Albers said:

    I thank you for your ability to defend the true facts on the destruction of Holy Cross Church!
    At last week’s meeting at City Hall. City Admin. McCarthy said, “They can tear down the church if they wan!”
    Sadly, no respect for history, or for promises made to Holy Cross members that the sanctuary would be untouched. Thankfully, Jane, you know the facts!
    What a treasure that the men we know do not attack women.

    January 30, 2011
  313. john george said:

    Jane- In your post 93.2, you said that the congregation was vibrant and had supported itself for 140 years. I’ve been thinking about that, and I want to encourage you to not let these events rob you of that vibrancy and community. I know that small churches (which I prefer for this very reason) often have deeper relationships within the whole body of believers because each member can interact with the whole group on a deeper level. You don’t have to lose that just because your building got pulled out from under you. Your vibrancy and sense of community is not based upon a stone building or marble plaques or a pipe orgen. It is based upon your relationships with each other, which no man can steal. God promises that He is in the midst of two or more who gather in His name. I don’t believe God has forsaken you. I encourage you to not forsake one another at this time.

    I have traveled to churches in southern Siberia and India. These churches often meet in small homes with dirt floors, often threatened with violence and closure by the authorities. But their faith and deligence to the care of one another shames me in the midst of my abundance. God did not forsake you. Don’t let this experience cause you to turn your back on Him.

    January 30, 2011
  314. Jane Moline said:

    John: Your kind words just make me want to cry. Most do not see that what was stolen from this congregation was more than a church. They are such a lovely group and continue to hold prayer service in their homes on a rotating basis every Wednesday. That is more devotion than many congregations have, and they have neither a minister or a church but continue to keep their faith.

    January 31, 2011
  315. john george said:

    Jane- Thanks for that report. It is encouraging to ME. Oftentimes, adversity causes us to find and cling to those things that really matter. Sounds like your church (it really is about people) has not overlooked those things, so keep up the good work. Blessings on your group.

    January 31, 2011
  316. David Ludescher said:


    I’m not sure where your “dog” comes from.

    The Constitution does not speak to separation of church and state. It says, “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or preventing the free exercise thereof…”. This prohibition is followed by prohibitions against the government’s control over speech, press, assembly, and petition for redress for grievances.

    People affliated with religions (and churches) are free to interject themselves into whatever politics they wish, either individually or as an assembly.

    I’m not sure either is relevant to the current situation, which seems to be quite apolitical and non-religious.

    January 31, 2011
  317. Steph Henriksen said:

    John, you mention Siberia and India where people “meet in small homes with dirt floors, often threatened with violence and closure by the authorities.” That’s religious persecution to the extreme. What happened at Holy Cross, in my opinion, is not far from it.

    February 1, 2011
  318. john george said:

    Stephanie- From my perspective, it is quite a ways from it. The church’s direction was determined all internally through the Presbyterian Diocese. Neither the Dundas police department nor the Rice County Sheriff’s department nor some citizens’ vigilanty group showed up in force. No members were publicly confronted, threated or beaten because of their faith. In fact, to suggest that their plight was somehow triggered by any anti-religious sentiment or predjudice is a falacious application of the word “persecution.” What happened to the Holy Cross congregation is certainly a raw deal in the least, but it was not religious persecution.

    February 1, 2011
  319. Jane Moline said:

    John: I agree. Most of us cannot imagine the kind of effort made by the people of countries where freedom of religion is not practiced.

    The “establishment clause” has been interpreted to mean that the state can neither support nor oppose religion, although it reads that the state will not establish a religion. We all expect the state to remain “neutral” on religion, although we all get to have traditional Christian religious holidays like Christmas.

    Unfortunately the members of the Holy Cross church were persecuted by their own priest and the Episcopal diocese. This makes for a mess when no one wants to knock heads at the diocese.

    February 1, 2011
  320. Steph Henriksen said:

    PATCH news has a story on a startup non-traditional church in Inver Grove Heights. Started w/25 or 30 people 5 years ago, now at 250. Sounds like Rejoice. “To help people rediscover their faith, the church focuses on three principals: “Find your place, develop your faith and live your potential.” Rejoice has 3-pt message also.

    These new churches seem to draw young people and others disillusioned with traditional churches. Is this the wave of the future?

    February 2, 2011
  321. john george said:

    Stephanie- If you look closely at historty, this has been the wave for a long time. The Annabaptists, Martin Luther, Calvin, the Puritans, all saw the ingrown nature of the organized churches of their period and sought a fresh move of the Holy Spirit. This is what keeps a church alive. Our group looks for change. It is something inherant in the redemptive nature of God. As it is written, He makes all things new. When we begin to build around a practice or an idea of an individual, we begin to become dull toward God. God is limitless in His ways, but His main focus is His relationship with each believer.

    February 2, 2011
  322. Steph Henriksen said:

    Re: ads

    When I opened to this topic just now, at the beginning of the string of comments there was a large ad in color picture of Christ (16 x 20 framed for $195). Then it was a prayer signup, and now it is church loans. How would these get on here, Griff?

    February 3, 2011
  323. Griff Wigley said:

    Stephanie, see the discussion about the Google ads here.

    February 3, 2011
  324. Steph Henriksen said:

    (Thanks for taking the big ads off this topic. They were very distracting.)

    Holy Cross was a treasure, right here in the little town of Dundas. The sudden closing of the church and subsequent purchase by a group who had no regard for its significance has taught me quite a lesson. And that is not to take my own church in Northfield for granted.

    February 6, 2011
  325. Julie Schrader said:

    Thank you ,Jane, for clarifying. I’ve just recently moved back to the area from out of state and am apalled by what has transpired. What a crime….

    February 10, 2011
  326. Julie Schrader said:

    Raymond: “Mr.” Clites is free to “come on this site”. In regard to your feelings about Jane’s “story” she’s not the only individual with knowledge of what transpired. There are members/former members of what was once the Holy Cross Congregation who became aware of what transpired…after the fact. From the facts presented here and from listening to former congregants’ reiteration of the details, how could the details of the sale be construed as anything less than underhanded, in more ways than one. Forget the bible quoting, go back to where this abhorrent situation began and begin the repair from the ground up. You comment on this blog, but yet haven’t mentioned that you’ve spoken to any former congregants nor that you have interest in speaking with any of them. Yet, those people are criticized and admonished for not “stepping up” to try to purchase the property or preserve it. Seriously?

    February 10, 2011
  327. Steph Henriksen said:

    There is a comment from Julie Schrader on the sidebar “I’ve just recently moved back to the area from out of state and am apalled by what has transpired.”

    I cannot find it on this thread yet, though.

    February 10, 2011
  328. Barry Cipra said:

    Steph, your inability to locate Julie Schrader’s comment stems from a technical glitch in Griff’s pagination of the comments. Normally when you click on a poster’s highlighted name in the sidebar, you’ll jump right to their posting in the comments. But that only works if the posting is on the current page, which in this case begins with #101. Schrader’s comment was a reply (96.4) to Jane Moline’s #96.

    As I recall, Griff started paginating the comments a couple of years ago, when some of the threads ran to many hundreds of comments, which made those pages slow to load. In general there’s no need to put the whole history of comments on a single page, but (and here I’m really addressing Griff) the arbitrary rule of starting a new page after each multiple of 50 causes some problems, for example when comment #51, say, is a rebuttal to comment #50 — readers who want to make sense of things are forced to click back and forth between the two pages. It would be better (are you listening, Griff?) if there were overlap between pages — say comments #1-60 on page 1, #51-110 on page 2, #101-150 on page 3, and so forth.

    February 10, 2011
  329. Robert Stai said:

    I feel a spark of hope at discovering this dialog concerning so many various concerns. Until last week when a very nice lady knocked on my door and my wife and I happily signed the petition calling for an environmental review, I thought we were among the only concerned parties.

    First off, I do want to give a big props to Helen and others who have stood up and made their voice heard.

    A bit of background on my place in this, primarily as a local resident:

    In October of 2009, my wife and I purchased a house in Dundas. Located on the corner of S. 3rd and Hamilton, our house faces the back lawn portion of the Church property. Prior to purchasing the property we were somewhat concerned over the future of the church property due to our understanding of Holy Cross’s financial standing. We were assured by several city officials that worst-case scenario, if the church lost the property due to financial burden, the property would be maintained as-is by the city and remain untouched due to it’s historical designation. In hindsight, we should’ve obviously requested something to this effect in writing, but hindsight is as always, 20/20.

    Imagine our surprise when we heard a few short months later that Rejoice! (whom we have nothing against, we have many friends and relatives who are members) had purchased the building and was making plans for significant changes. When a crew showed up with chainsaws and chopped down all of the mature trees that shaded our yard, we learned that this included turning what is essentially our front lawn into a parking lot with an entrance directly across from our driveway! We immediately voiced our concerns to Dan Clites directly and received a verbal promise to try to avoid putting the entrance in front of our house. We were later told by the architect on the project that the issue had never been brought up and it was too late to change the plans.

    Our personal concerns are primarily as follows:

    1.) Climate. There has been not only a significant temperature change with the loss of the trees, but this will only be magnified exponentially when the lawn becomes asphalt. Secondarily, these is now no wind-block to the residential portion of the neighborhood.

    2.) Drainage. Our block has adequate drainage most of the time, however at least three times over the summer of 2010 Hamilton & 3rd Streets flooded to the degree of water covering our elevated driveway (and no these were not associated with the Cannon River flooding). The intended parking lot with two entrances draining into the residential street that already suffers some issues is a recipe for serious issues for our residential block.

    3.) Aesthetics. Those residing adjacent to the Holy Cross/Rejoice! block, as well as the rest of the community, have come to love and appreciate the view afforded by the historic property. To turn this residential neighborhood block into a commercial zone is a horrific loss for all.

    4.) Traffic. Our neighborhood has enjoyed a small-town low traffic feel which is now disrupted on a daily basis in a large way. Due to Rejoice! events 3-5 days a week, we now live on one of the busiest streets in town. We’ve already had issues with being parked into our own driveway and even having congregants drive over our lawn!

    Perhaps our biggest concern is not that Rejoice! is doing anything “wrong” per se, but that in addition to all of the endangered environmental and historical factors there has been a huge lack of communication or open forum for public opinion. If there had been, perhaps Rejoice! would not be so surprised by all of the “opposition” they now face after charging ahead on their own agenda. Unfortunately, it seems that more of the same is what we can expect from Dan Clites in the future.

    If anyone has any feedback as to legal steps local residents can take at this point, please let us know!

    February 11, 2011
  330. Helen Albers said:

    Thank you for sharing your heartbreaking list of the damage, which Dan Clites has caused to you. He has a total disregard for the effect of his actions on the neighbors, and to the City of Dundas by destroying this historical site.
    Thank you for signing the EAW petition!
    Please present your list at the Dundas City Council meeting on Monday night.
    My Best,

    February 12, 2011
  331. Steph Henriksen said:

    Robert Stai,

    As a near neighbor, you have firsthand knowledge of the need for environmental review (EAW). Thanks for sharing. Do communicate your concerns to members of Dundas City Council and Mayor Glenn Switzer.

    The petition packet went to a state agency a few days ago and should come back to the City of Dundas this coming week, if it hasn’t already. Dundas makes the decision within 30 days on whether the review may be done.

    Rev. Clites has been notified of the EAW petition.

    I had not had occasion to attend a Dundas Council meeting since the last election, so I went to a work session on the budget Friday morning, 8 am, to observe. There are two new members, Ryan Carroll and Grant Modory. They seem like a good group and they covered a lot of material.

    February 12, 2011
  332. Griff Wigley said:

    Today’s Nfld News: Residents question church’s environmental impact

    A group of residents, concerned about the planned expansion of a Dundas church, have asked the city to assure an environmental review of the project occurs before construction begins.

    The city learned of the request in a Feb. 10 letter from Jon Larsen, a planner with the state Environmental Quality Board.

    In the letter, Larsen lays out the requirements for preparing an Environmental Assessment Worksheet and Environmental Impact Statement. The documents, part of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s environmental review process, are “standardized public process designed to disclose information about the potential negative environmental effects of a proposed development and ways to avoid or minimize them before the project is permitted and built,” according to the agency.

    Jane Moline, who represents the 30 petitioners, says the signatories are concerned about the proposed expansion’s impact on the property, neighborhood and city given the size of the proposed addition, the expected addition of impervious surface, the property’s elevation in comparison to adjoining properties and flooding issues the city routinely experiences.

    February 23, 2011
  333. Raymond Daniels said:

    Jane…Quick question. Why did you tell the NN that you are not trying to “stop anything” when that is clearly your’s and Steph’s intentions?

    February 23, 2011
  334. Griff Wigley said:

    Holy moly, it’s Holy Cross!

    Preservation Alliance of Minnesota: 2011 10 Most Nominations

    Preservation Alliance of Minnesota is pleased to begin introductions to the nominated properties for the 2011 10 Most Endangered Historic Places list. In the weeks leading up to the annual Anti-Wrecking Ball, we will present the properties that have been nominated, so that you and the community may become better acquainted with the value of the sites and the efforts toward saving them.

    Church of the Holy Cross (Dundas)

    It is not often that a preservation debate begins with a discussion about relocating human remains. Such is the case in Dundas, where the grounds of the historic Church of the Holy Cross contain the graves of the church founder’s family, as well the founder of Dundas itself. The Gothic-style, limestone church was constructed in 1868 and listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1980. It closed in 2009 but was purchased shortly thereafter by Rejoice! Lutheran Church. Rejoice! has proposed expanding the building with a series of modern additions on the southwest side, and adding a large parking lot along the eastern half of the block. Although Rejoice! has modified its plans for the parking lot and now plans to preserve the Cleland family graves in place, many community members think that an Environmental Assessment Worksheet (EAW) should be completed to address potential impacts on the historic building and its churchyard. The matter is now before the City of Dundas for review.

    March 12, 2011
  335. Steph Henriksen said:

    I’ve not seen the Fran Hall photo of Holy Cross before. Magnificent. Maybe some local artists would be interested in the church subject for an art show.

    March 17, 2011
  336. Jane Moline said:

    I have a beautiful picture of Holy Cross painted by Gretchen Quie (and one she painted of the Valley Grove wood church.)

    March 18, 2011
  337. Bobbi Bolton said:

    Steph and Jane…I too have a piece of local artwork – done in oils It’s a close-up of Church of the Holy Cross done by Beth Werner (Mark Werner’s sister) when only a senior in high school. She left the area when she went away to college. I think it’s lovely. I believe my Dad (Wayne Drake) bought it from Beth as well as another one too. That second one we gave to the church years ago. It was in the Archibald Hall. I can’t remember where it ended up after the closing. Maybe we don’t even know?

    March 26, 2011
  338. Steph Henriksen said:

    Rejoice website:

    * IMPORTANT! NOW…Building the Kingdom through Pocket Change! Your Building Team has a big meeting tomorrow (Monday) with our builder, Steve Underdahl from ProCon. It will be to discuss our sub-contractor bids. We are concerned the bids will be on the high side, so please pray into that. Also, on Monday, April 11th, the Dundas City Council is expected to discuss our Building Permit request. Prayer is needed for that night as a small group is strongly opposing our addition. The group has filed petitions against us, seeking to force us into an Environmental Assessment Worksheet. Trouble is, an EAW is about $30,000 and could delay our ground breaking by several months. How can “I” help, you might be asking? Here’s how you can help: Pray for breakthrough. Sunday nights at 6:30 has been a great time for such prayer. Also, keep giving sacrificially to the building cause. Even a little bit, given every week with Godly expectations, multiples for kingdom purposes. Remember, in the end…God always wins!

    April 8, 2011
  339. Raymond Daniels said:

    And what is wrong with this?

    April 8, 2011
  340. David Koenig said:


    It’s the same inappropriate and manipulative language….or, trying to explain things in the best light possible, very poor communication skills. His words equate those who oppose the work of Rejoice as being in opposition to God.

    “Prayer is needed for that night as a small group is strongly opposing our addition… How can “I” help, you might be asking? Here’s how you can help: Pray for breakthrough…Remember, in the end…God always wins!”

    I’m sorry, but this kind of tactic is garbage and has nothing to do with the Gospel of Christ.

    April 8, 2011
  341. Raymond Daniels said:

    I’m sorry, but I don’t see anything wrong with this. He is asking for people to pray for a breakthrough. He is also telling his poeple no matter what happens, God always win. He is giving his people hope and letting them know that if things don’t go there way, not to lose heart. How is this any different from when a sports team prays for victory?

    I’m sorry David, but your comment “is being garbage and has nothing to with Christ” is more inappropraite than his. I think you may need to re-read the Gospel of Christ.

    April 8, 2011
  342. David Ludescher said:

    David K.

    I think God can sort out whether the prayers are “garbage” tactics.

    In the meantime, what about the “garbage” tactic of requiring Rejoice! to spend $30,000.00 because some naysayers don’t want a church to be built? It is a church, not a pig farm.

    April 8, 2011
  343. David Koenig said:

    David, prayer is not a garbage tactic.

    The way in which this pastor’s words are used to manipulate his congregation is garbage.

    I am trying to be charitable in allowing for the possibility that he is just a poor communicator. Raymond (below) hears his words differently than do I, which is one sign that the message is not well-constructed if the intent is other than that which I describe.

    I don’t know the pastor. I just know that I don’t like the words.

    April 8, 2011
  344. Jane Moline said:

    The problem is that the church is praying to avoid the normal requirements of the building and zoning restrictions and requirements which any other applicant must comply.

    The city of Dundas is failing to enforce the requirement for an EAW, (that normally would cost less than $30,000–but Clites exagerates in order to be more persuasive to his congregation.)

    If a property is on the National Historic Registry, a modification in whole or in part triggers the requirement of an Environmental Assessment Worksheet. In addition, a group of citizens, many of them neighbors to this property, have requested that the city require the EAW. If Rejoice does not want to do an EAW they should not have bought the property. Those rules were known and in place at that time–they have just been trying to wheedle out of it.

    Clites is asking his congregation to pray to avoid basic requirements that are in place to prevent the exploitation of a historically significant property. So far, it appears that city staff are helping Clites avoids what they would require of other applicants.

    In addition, there are significant environmental factors due to Rejoices’ desire to pave or build over the majority of the property–something that might be reasonable if they are a KMart or light industrial property, but not something that is acceptable for residential property–including a church.

    Rejoice treats Dundas like a hick town where building requirements can be ignored and flaunted.

    How would any of you like it if your neighbor decided to pave over their entire yard so your property could be flooded with their storm water runoff? This “poor church being picked on by naysayers” is hooey. The people of Dundas care about their neighborhood and their neighbors–and they expect Rejoice to comply with sound building practices.

    If Rejoice wanted to be a good neighbor they would have done the EAW a long time ago and either proved that they are not doing any harm or had time to adjust their plans to comply with rules and regulations, and sound building practices. They don’t want to do the EAW because it will show how destructive their plans are to the property and the environment.

    April 8, 2011
  345. Raymond Daniels said:

    Jane, and all the rest of you, I ask you one question, and answer it honestly, would you be treating this the same if Holy Cross was looking to expand? Keep in mind, Holy Cross already expanded once and there was no issue then.

    EAW’s are not always required. The only reason that an EAW is trying to be enforced here is becuase of the citizen petion, which is not even valid.

    “An EAW is required for any project listed in the mandatory EAW
    categories in the rules at part 4410.4300. This listing, as well as
    mandatory EIS and exemption categories, can also be found in the
    EQB’s Guide to Minnesota Environmental Review Rules. An EAW
    is also required whenever any governmental unit with approval
    authority over the project determines that available evidence
    indicates that the project may have the potential for significant
    environmental effects. This typically occurs in response to a
    citizen petition.”

    This EAW is just another example of abouse of the governmental process and a waste of resources. I also enjoy the fact that people that don’t even live in Dundas are looking for the city spend monet they don’t have.

    “Project proposers are required to supply any data or other information in their possession or to which they have reasonable access to the RGU (Dundas), which prepares the EAW after reviewing the submitted information. Sometimes an RGU (Dundas) will hire consultants to prepare all or part of the EAW or to independently review the proposer’s submittal.”

    Jane, you bring up a valid question. What right do you have to tell a neighbor what to do with their property. Here is an idea, why don’t all you people that are opposed to the expansion step up and buy the property? Maybe the city of Dundas should buy it and then turn around a tax the locals for the cost of purchase and upkeep? I suspect no one is willing to do that.

    April 8, 2011
  346. john george said:

    Gosh, Jane, this seems to be a pretty strong accusation questioning the motives of the Rejoice! leadership:

    “They don’t want to do the EAW because it will show how destructive their plans are to the property and the environment.”

    What statements have they made publicly that cause you to come to this conclusion?

    April 8, 2011
  347. john george said:

    David K- You wield a camera well, and you don’t have to like anything anyone else happens to express. I ask this, though, that just because you would have worded this request differently, does that make Pastor Clites’ words garbage? I think that evaluation is a little extreme, especially since you say you do not know him, and, to my knowledge, you are not actively involved in the Charismatic Renewal movement. There is common terminology that has been used in this movement for the 39 years I have been associated with it, and this message he posted does not violate those terms. I do not see his request as being motivated any differently than those who wish to save the Post Office. In this respect, he is not asking the whole populace to support their plan, just his parishoners.

    April 8, 2011
  348. Steph Henriksen said:

    There has been far too much speculation over the past year as to what is included on the National Register for Holy Cross and what is not. Members of Holy Cross and their historian, Dorothy Herkenratt, have known all along, but now it is in writing. A letter dated March 14 from Minnesota State Historic Preservation Office indicates that everything named on the nomination form of 1981 under property description was of historical significance, including landscaping, interior furnishings from England and parish hall.

    Unfortunately, the stripping of the sanctuary and cutting of trees has already occurred. But that does not mean all is lost. The City of Dundas and Rejoice can still do the right thing. They can pull together answers to 31 questions on a standard EAW at least cost and put it out for comment. Improvements to the project can still be considered. Once construction has occurred, it is too late.

    April 9, 2011
  349. Raymond Daniels said:

    Steph, stop being dishonest. You have no intention of backing off the expansion if Rejoice and Dundas did an EAW. Even if it was determined that there is no need for an EAW or EIS, you would not stop protesting it. You are abusing the EAW process and the taxpayers of the city of Dundas to get your way. How nice it is for you to spend other peoples money.

    You also have not answered my question…

    Would you be treating this the same if Holy Cross was looking to expand? Where were you when Holy Cross expanded?

    Again, if you don’t like what is happening, BUY THE PROPERTY!!! If Dundas was to buy the property, would you be willing to pay an annual upkeep fee?

    April 9, 2011
  350. Jane Moline said:

    An EAW is required because the church is on the National Historic Registry and the property owner intends to make a change–again, I quote “a modification in whole or in part.” The Rejoice Church should have triggered the EAW requirement when they applied for a CUP, and the CUP should not have been issued becuase a REQUIRED EAW was not prepared.

    We have written, spoken to and emailed the city of Dundas and they have ignored the requirement.

    An EAW is not an abuse of government. It is there to protect both the citizens, the city and the property owner from inadvertent plans –that would have to have expensive modifications in order to comply with building requirements.

    There are two very large issues here. One is the destruciton of a significant historic site–which cannot be stopped, but must be explained and publicly layed out for comment before it is done.

    The other issue is similarly significant. The church wants to pave over and construct building over a majority of the property. This will significantly increase the storm water draining from the property–and it is a danger and expsensive cost to the city, the neighbors, and anybody downriver–including Northfield that experienced the results of run-a-way paving in an unprecedented flood last fall. This issue is being hidden by the city and prevented from coming into the public by stopping us from seeing plans or having any of the city ordinances that protect us from being fully discussed.

    This property is not a light industrial property. It is a church. It does not appear that they will be able to provide sufficient parking in spite of paving every bit they can–but again, the city and the applicant refuse to discuss or show plans for how they are getting around this.

    The requirement for an EAW is in the rules for the EQRB–and could be known by a slightly educated reader of those rules–the church should have known of this requirement when they bought the church-but they have been working to get around the reuirement, with apparent cooperation from Dundas city staff.

    In the past, Holy Cross has been subject to quite a bit of criticisim and strutiny–the most recent being when they put their unattractive electric lit advertising sign on the south end of the property. Neighbors protested and contacted the city council. However, the sign met the Dundas city ordinances, and was allowed.

    I will repeat. The EAW is required because the church is on the National Historic Registry. The Rejoice purchased it knowing it was on the historic registry. Their failure to check into this aspect was both by choice and apparently design–they believe they can pray that the rules should not apply to them–but that is a very selfish and unChristian approach.

    April 9, 2011
  351. Steph Henriksen said:


    I will say to you what I said to Clites back in October. Nice to see the site go to another church and I wish you well. This is a two-way street, however. The church needs to be a good neighbor too. Abandoning plans to move the graves was a good first step. The second step would be to do the EAW so residents could see details and give input. Environmental Review section at EQB told us it was mandatory months ago.

    As far as buying the property, I have no reason to think it is for sale. Do you? McCarthy told someone after a meeting it would have made a great city hall/historical society combination. And at an affordable price. City Hall needs a larger space.

    April 9, 2011
  352. john george said:

    Jane- Where did you get the information to support your claim that an EAW is required because the Holy Cross building is on the NHR? I found this ruling here-

    “Mandatory Environmental Impact Statement
    There is no threshold triggering a mandatory
    Environmental Impact Statement in the historic
    places category.”

    on this link here-

    I searched several other documents and could find nothing stating this as a specific requirement. Did I overlook something?

    April 9, 2011
  353. Steph Henriksen said:


    An Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is an upper level review, not the same as an Environmental Assessment Worksheet (EAW). Unlike other kinds of development, a mandatory EAW for a building on the NHR is triggered if the proposed plan involves modification/destruction in whole or in part. Some wrong assumptions by Rejoice and the City of Dundas were made:

    l-that the parish hall was not included in the NHR designation
    2-that interior furnishings in the sanctuary were not included
    3-that landscaping was not included (trees could be cut down before the EAW, etc)

    Dundas Historical Society is showing some interest in setting up a Dundas Historic Preservation Commission with jurisdiction over certain buildings like Northfield has. Such a commission then reviews development plans and makes rulings on them, sometimes without need of an EAW.

    April 10, 2011
  354. Jane Moline said:

    John: I never said an EIS. An EAW is required. It does not cost $30,000, but it may cost $5,000 to $10,000. It is required when the property is on the National Register of Historic Places. You continue to confuse this issue–please look at the Environmental Quality Review Board Rules.

    April 10, 2011
  355. Raymond Daniels said:

    Jane and Steph…you stil have not answered my question. Would you two be leading the charge for an EAW if Holy Cross was looking to expand? I think we all know the answer to that question. Your silence in deafing. Stop hiding behind the EAW.

    April 10, 2011
  356. Jane Moline said:

    Raymond: YES. If Holy Cross had similar plans to Rejoice to cover most of the property with building and parking lot YES YES YES–and I am sure all of the neighbors would agree. BUT this is NOT a hypothetical situation and we are asking for an EAW and an EAW is required–Rejoice simply wants excuses to avoid following the rules.

    April 10, 2011
  357. Julie Schrader Bicket said:

    Mr Daniels, in response to the comment “…Holy Cross already expanded once and there was no issue then”….The expansion was well thought out and discussed at length amongst the congregants. The expansion was done as best it could have been at the time to try and match at least the exterior of the historic church and enhance growth. It was done to create additional room for bible school classes, and was key in creating financial well being via the annual church social, “Strawberry Festival”, that all of the congregants labored to create and conduct to aid financial support the church.

    Here’s the difference, Holy Cross is not expanding. The historic site was sold, literally out from under loyal congregants, without warning, and without any alternatives being presented. Of course people are up in arms, given the fact that another “entity” has plans to more or less completely change the landscape of the site. The building plans don’t blend the new with the old. It resembles a modern monstrosity that, really, doesn’t blend in with the historic quality of the city.

    You’re right, perhaps the people and City of Dundas should set a plan in motion to recover the property and send Rejoice packing.

    April 11, 2011
  358. Griff Wigley said:

    Robert and Nicole Stai have a letter to the editor in Saturday’s Nfld News:

    Hoping church will play role of good neighbor

    Finally, our biggest concern is not that Rejoice! is doing anything “wrong” per se, but that in addition to all of the endangered environmental and historical factors, there has been a significant lack of communication or open forum for public opinion. Our desire would be to see Rejoice! play the role of a good neighbor and show themselves willing listen to and address the concerns of our town’s citizens.

    April 11, 2011
  359. Steph Henriksen said:


    I have a followup question. Please call me (I am in the book).

    April 11, 2011
  360. john george said:

    Jane- What does this mean?-

    “4410.4300, subp. 31. EAW requirement eliminated for destruction of historic properties if there is review by a certified Local Heritage Preservation Committee or, if the property is in a designated historic district, the property is “noncontributing.”

    April 12, 2011
  361. john george said:

    Jane- I forgot to add in my statement above, that the only thing I could find had to do with an EIS, not an EAW. Yes, they are different birds.

    April 12, 2011
  362. Jane Moline said:

    John: If a city has a Historic Preservation District there is oversight within the district by a board–this oversight is deemed sufficient by the EQRB so that it eliminates the requirement of an EAW. The EAW requirement is there to protect less-sophisticated towns and cities that have historically significant sites–like Dundas.

    Northfield does have a Heritage Preservation Commission–hmmm–perhaps some of the building owneres in Northfield think that some of the regulations applied by the commission are too strict and would rather submit an EAW.

    Several people in Dundas have suggested that we should establish a Historic Preservation District in Dundas. If there were such a district, Rejoice plans would have to be approved by that board and not be subject to an EAW–although the board could require more information and plans and could put restrictions and limitations on what Rejoice could do.

    April 13, 2011
  363. john george said:

    Jane- Thanks for the clarification. I have tried reading back and forth between the various statutes and amendments, and, honestly, it was as clear as mud to me. I understand that Rejoice! has hired an architectural firm, and they need to be on top of these variuos requirements. I can understand that the average citizen could be quite unaware of some of these things.

    April 13, 2011
  364. Chad Pribyl said:

    To All, While some of you on this forum may not know, others of you have been told MANY times that the trigger for the City of Dundas to address the issue of the EAW is the submittal of a complete building permit. While I understand that a building permit was submitted, it was incomplete. I’m sorry if you feel that City staff is not listening to your concerns, but saying that the City, as a whole, is ignoring this issue is just not true. Although the City Council does not usually address or make comments on an issue that is brought up during the public forum portion of the meetings, please be assured that we ARE listening. Because a citizens petition has been made for an EAW, this issue WILL be addressed and decided on by the Council. You have my word as a representative of the citizens of Dundas on that. The Council will make a decision based on the FACTS. If any of you have information that you know to be FACT, I would invite you to contact myself or any of the other council members and bring it to our attention. Despite what is said in the contrary on this forum, we ARE listening. Thank you.

    April 14, 2011
  365. Jane Moline said:

    Chad: thank you for your response. We have repeatedly presented FACTS–that the property is on the historic registry and is subject to a mandatory EAW–but we have been repeatedly been ignored and treated in an insulting manner by city staff.

    I absolutely understand why the city council cannot address issues just because they are being brought up at the public forum at the beginning of the council meetings. You have enough on the agenda.

    This project should have stayed with the Planning Commission until an EAW was completed. The city council would then have had substantial amounts of information in order to make an informed decision. This project should be sent back to the Planning Commission to ensure that all building regulations are being properly followed and applied.

    April 14, 2011
  366. Chad Pribyl said:

    Jane, I can’t say that I disagree with your post except for the last paragraph. The planning commission is not charged with ensuring building regulations are being followed, that is the job of City staff and building inspectors. Beyond a CUP, if a project conforms to zoning codes it is out of the scope of the planning commission.

    Hypothetically speaking, and I’m not saying I’m for or against an EAW, but if the Council decides an EAW is required and it is completed, what do the opponents of the project hope to gain? Unless the EAW shows some glaring reason for the project not to move forward, it will.

    While I am sympathetic to the opinion that some historical structures should be preserved, and I understand that there are people who are upset that their church was sold out from under them, the land belongs to Rejoice church now. They are not tearing the historic building down. Shouldn’t they be allowed to expand it to fit their needs just as Holy Cross did in the past? Please give me a factual reason that this project should not proceed if it conforms to codes and laws. I understand the opinions with regard to historical significance, and that there are OPINIONS that there will be too much run off, not enough parking, etc. But if the engineers do their work, and the project is within the law, why should it be stopped? Facts please!

    April 15, 2011
  367. Jane Moline said:

    Chad: Thanks for your response. I believe the EAW will highlight serious problems with the expansion planned by Rejoice. The paving or covering with building of most of the property will be a serious problem for storm-water runoff. The property is zoned R1 and should have to comply with residential building restrictions, not commercial or industrial. I believe the Rejoice plan is not sound and will cause flooding of Third Street in addition to threatening homes along Third Street.

    There were a series of errors by the city in this project–the first of which was when city staff told the planning commission that additional information was not required due to the Historic Registry status of the property. It was known at that time by many people that the property was on the historic registry and subject to special rules in regards to EAW requirements. The extent of the Rejoice plans were not known at that time–and these plans now bring the second reason for the EAW and the one the city council finds more compelling, that of the storm-water runoff issues.

    There was no need for the city council to act in September to ask for an EAW–city staff should have done research and they would have found that the property was subject to a required EAW and informed Rejoice that the EAW must be completed BEFORE the CUP was issued. This mistake by city staff has yet to be recognized, acknowledged or rectified.

    In addition, Rejoice could have done basic research on the property prior to the purchase and would have found that their plans would require an EAW for a historic proeprty.

    We have rules and regulations in place to protect the city and the taxpayers from environemental concerns (storm water runoff, traffic, sufficient parking, etc.) and from blatant disregard of a significant historic structure. Many on the city council have expressed the opinion that a threat to a significant historic structure is not important in comparison to property rights. The rules of our state, however, say that the historic structure does deserve special treatment. It is upsetting to see city staff assist Rejoice in avoiding these responsibilities.

    Rejoice knew that the property was on the National Historic Registry when they purchased the property–they should have started the preparing an EAW at that time.

    City staff is again, mistaken, in instructing the council that they must wait for a building permit application before ordering the EAW. There should be no more delays in the EAW. An EAW is required AND the citizens have petitioned for an EAW–two reasons why the EAW should be approved immmediately.

    City staff seems to also be engaged in a serious game of keeping information from the public and the city council. Their refusal to provide a copy of the building permit application is inexcusable.

    April 15, 2011
  368. john george said:

    For those interested, here is the specific statement in Statute 4410.4300, Subp 31, concerning a mandatory EAW for a property on the National Historic list:

    Subp. 31. Historical places. For the destruction, in
    whole or part, or the moving of a property that is listed on the
    National Register of Historic Places or State Register of
    Historic Places, the permitting state agency or local unit of
    government shall be the RGU, except this does not apply to
    projects reviewed under section 106 of the National Historic
    Preservation Act of 1966, United States Code, title 16, section
    470, the federal policy on lands, wildlife and waterfowl
    refuges, and historic sites pursuant to United States Code,
    title 49, section 303, or projects reviewed by a local heritage
    preservation commission certified by the State Historic Preservation
    Office pursuant to Code of Federal Regulations, title 36, sections
    61.5 and 61.7. This subpart does not apply to a property located
    Deleted: or
    within a designated historic district if the property is listed as
    “noncontributing” in the official district designation or if the State
    Historic Preservation Office issues a determination that the property
    is noncontributing.

    April 15, 2011
  369. Chad Pribyl said:

    Jane, While I agree with some of your opinions and disagree with others, you have still not provided any facts. Unless you are a qualified engineer, I have to take your first paragraph regarding runoff as opinion.

    While it is possible that an EAW should have been done before the CUP was issued, which I agree is the responsibility of city staff to research, if it gets done why does it matter if it is next week or next year? As long as it happens before any construction, I don’t see the urgency.

    We have to trust that the professionals will do their jobs. I am more greatly persuaded by the neighbors who don’t want to see a large building across the street from them. Unfortunately, those opinions were not conveyed at the public hearing for the CUP. As I said before, the City Council will address the issue of the EAW. While I may agree that an EAW should be done, and I will do everything in my power to make sure that the project is legal and takes the environmental and historical ramifications into consideration, it is still MY opinion that the majority of the opponents of this project simply have a bad case of sellers remorse. Some may not like that opinion, but I call it like I see it. That being said, I am charged with representing the citizens of the City of Dundas. I do take the concerns that the property neighbors have very seriously. However, with the exception of those neighbor’s opinions, everything that is being brought up by others is a matter of opinion by people who are not qualified to make the statements they are making. Why don’t we let the engineers and architects do their jobs, and keep the arguement to things that are not already covered by law or code?

    April 15, 2011
  370. Julie Schrader Bicket said:

    Chad, while you and other council members have listened to comments and concerns, it seems you haven’t “heard” them. The Holy Cross expansion, as mentioned in my post April 11th, was completed in a way so as to try and blend the old with the new and try to preserve the originial historic building and site. The sketches Rejoice published, I believe in the Northfield News, is completely modern. They are not expanding the original church building but planning to construct a modern monstrosity to realize it’s “vision”. While Rejoice now owns the property, the fact remains it is a historic site with a historic building, and the city has clearly exhibited disregard for the preservation of the site. Clites has also blatantly, and I might add irreverently commented that the historic building looks like a mausoleum, and numerous other comments including regarding the gravesites. Those comments didn’t rack up any points with the local residents. He has no concern for the historic preservation of the property, his comments prove that.
    “Hear” what the concerns are. The site is more than a piece of real estate, the concerns are many. While the Holy Cross Church building may be nothing to some, it is everything to many. “Hear”.

    April 15, 2011
  371. Chad Pribyl said:

    Julie, I’m sorry, but the arguement could be made that the addition Holy Cross did was modern compared to the original church. Was an EAW done for that project? Why the double standard? That being said, I do welcome your opinion. As you’ll see in my post below, this is the kind of thing that should be “heard”.

    April 15, 2011
  372. Julie Schrader Bicket said:

    Chad, SERIOUSLY?? You clearly don’t know the facts of the sale of the property, or you’re desregarding them. “SELLER’S REMORSE??” That’s insulting!! If the congregants or citizens concerned with historic preservation would have been made aware, or the option had been presented, I’m sure steps would have been taken to oppose and stop the sale of the property. As the details unfold, nobody knew what had taken place until it was announced at a Sunday service that it would be the last. Congregants were run over rough shod as if they didn’t matter, as if the beloved church didn’t matter. Although, presumably, the city didn’t have any idea what was occuring, it’s the fact that our city government did nothing to protect a piece of history of the City of Dundas. Now, while you all have much bigger fish to fry, surely you can understand the concerns and outright outrage of the citizens concerned with what is occuring right under our noses. While you may not have a connection to the history of Dundas, a large number of us do.

    I, for one, don’t want a huge, modern, ugly monstrosity in the neighborhood that will create a huge increase in traffic and noise. And…Former congregants of Holy Cross want what was promised them: the use of the building for weddings and other events and the preservation of the historic contents of the building. Clites out and out lied.

    So you see, Chad, it’s not just all about engineers, architects, EAW, CUP….It’s about preserving a beloved historic site that means more than the world to a great many citizens you serve, with the emphasis on serve. Help preserve the historic sites and nature of Dundas. A government of the people, by the people and for the people…isn’t than how it reads?

    April 15, 2011
  373. Julie Schrader Bicket said:

    Chad, There is no argument or double standard. We’re not talking about what was done “back then”. The property was owned by Holy Cross, not sold to another entity and then with total disregard for it’s congregants or the historic nature of the property, bulldozed for someone elses “vision”. While, as you put it, argument could be made the addition was modern compared to the original building, it was what was affordable at the time. At least care was taken to match the exterior limestone of the original church proper, it wasn’t a monstrous, modernistic addition, and was built on the site to preserve the gravesites. The citizens of Dundas were excited, in fact welcomed the addition. It is, at the very least, volumes less offensive than what Rejoice has planned. I can’t speak to EAW at the time. I’m going to say it wasn’t an issue back then.

    If you’re interested in that information it’s public knowledge if you wish to pursue it. It has no bearing on the issue at hand. The neighbors and former congregants of Holy Cross are asking to be heard, and asking concerns be addressed. Stop bringing up former additions, was an EAW done then etc… serve the citizens. You represent and fight for the rights of the citizens of the City of Dundas.

    April 15, 2011
  374. Raymond Daniels said:

    Julie, I beg to differ. There is a double standard here. If Holy Cross was looking to expand, you wouldn’t not be complaining, and you know it. In addtion, not all of the former congregants live in Dundas. Why should Chad represent them? I suspect there are quite a few people in Dundas that could care less about this expansion and some may even see it as a positve thing for the economy.

    April 15, 2011
  375. Chad: The church was not under any protections at the time of the original addition to the church. It was not added to this Historic Register until the 80s. Of course the new addition should be held to higher standards: that is the very point of the protection.

    April 15, 2011
  376. Chad Pribyl said:

    Raymond, Exactly.

    Julie, I am fully aware of what happened with the “sale” and how it all went. Perhaps “sellers remorse” was not exactly the correct phraseology, but I think the edjucated reader could infer what I meant. Please stop making me out to be the enemy. I am simply playing devils advocate here and trying to both expose certain people’s true motives, and get people who are against the project to think about the tools they are using to fight their battle. Have I stated here that I am against an EAW? NO!

    Comments like “It’s about preserving a beloved historic site that means more than the world to a great many citizens you serve” are what you should be concentrating on if you want something to happen. “A government of the people, by the people and for the people” you are exactly right! However, if the project falls within the laws and the codes, the council has no reason to not let if happen unless there is a major outcry from a majority of the citizens. Has this happened? While I do “hear” you, I don’t know if you represent the majority. That is what I’m trying to find out!

    April 15, 2011
  377. Well, Raymond on a similar note, how many congregants of Rejoice live in Dundas? The design of their addition is aesthetically hostile to the City of Dundas (turning the back of the church to the town, facing instead Highway 3 and Menards). Their design certainly discourages walking and biking, by people living in Northfield or Dundas. You might check out their website at where it describes itself as “Rejoice! Northfield Area,” and, rather than describing its proximity to Railway St or other part of the historic city of Dundas, it is “behind Menards.”

    I’m not convinced congregants living in one place or another makes a difference, but if we’re to consider the church’s/congregants’ connection to the community, Rejoice shows far less connection.

    April 15, 2011
  378. Michelle Hawkins said:

    Jane- I haven’t commented here for sometime now, due to the ignorance and rudeness that I found intolerable(not you, Dear!)

    I do have a suggestion though! Since so much of the property is now without the plantlife etc that would slow runoff, we should have some good old fashion prayer vigils and let the EAW take it’s time, til the next 3day rain!

    Then the runoff issue will be measurable and damages, if any,cost verifiable.

    Let it rain, let it rain, Oh Lord, let it pour!

    April 15, 2011
  379. Chad Pribyl said:

    Sean, that is a good point and it is well taken. Thank you.

    April 15, 2011
  380. Julie Schrader Bicket said:

    Ray, First of all, stop attacking me. You are the pot calling the kettle black then, as you complain about everything printed about the subject. If you suspect quite a few people care less, then let’s see your stats. You jump on the band wagon opposing other’s opinions surrounding the issue. Yet, I have yet to see in print, or hear anyone demand proof from you that “people” may see it as a positive thing for the economy. If there are people who care less, good for them. There are people who care as well. If you have no connection to Dudas or it’s history, or have never experienced the family unitedness of what Holy Cross was or stood for during your life time, your stance seems unusually hostile.

    What positives are there for the economy? The church doesn’t pay taxes. Sure, they’ll have sewer and water billing……

    April 15, 2011
  381. john george said:

    I still think it is quite interesting that so much “blame” for this whole mess is focused on Rejoice! To say that Holy Cross really had anything to do with the disposition of the property isn’t quite accurate, if I am remembering Jane’s excellent history of the events. The Episcopal Diocese that Holy Cross was under actually made these decisions and carried out the sale. Unfortunately, the Episcopal Church does not follow the pattern of locally autonomous congregations, so once the process got moving, there wasn’t much the local congregation could do to stop it, asside from becoming the buyer of the property. This whole process has been a painful way to find out how a church organization actually functions.

    April 15, 2011
  382. Chad Pribyl said:

    Sean, while I can’t argue that the design may be “aesthetically hostile”, and while I would encourage any business, church, or organization in Dundas to embrace their location and the city name, it could easily be argued that the points you make about the website are simply good marketing.

    April 15, 2011
  383. Julie Schrader Bicket said:

    Chad, First of all, stop infering that the readers of this forum are un-educated (that’s right, it’s spelled educated, leave out the “j”).
    Nobody is making you out to be the enemy. The residency of past congregants of the former Holy Cross church doesn’t matter. The property was still sold without knowledge of it by the congregants. You repeatedly miss the point, or at least do not admit you get it. You seem to be getting caught up in the feeling of being accused, I get that. I don’t accuse you of wrong doing. That is an issue to be addressed elsewhere and to others. That’s another forum all together.

    We converse with you here because there isn’t time at a council meeting to be heard, or so it seems. Those of us who are concerned speak for the citizens who are too fearful to speak up or can’t get up the nerve. And while their fear is not your concern, we look to you for representation, to bring all that concerns us to council for just consideration. I’m sure you must be aware of the fact that the public most often thinks what they have to say falls on deaf ears.

    Can you please explain what “true motives” you think people have? It seems you could simply ask “What are your true motives here?”. But the public needs to be able to voice feelings and opinion for more than a few minutes at the beginning of a council meeting.

    The collection or polling, if you will, for information can be a arduous task. There are those of us who are trying to satisfy your request for a “major outcry”.

    Anyway…Why does it take a major outcry from the majority of the public for city government to protect a piece of the city’s history?
    One might ask what is the city’s motive?

    April 15, 2011
  384. Julie Schrader Bicket said:

    John, I don’t lay blame on Rejoice at all. I think they got the property for a song when they had been unable to aquire other digs due to whatever the reason. Clites rhetoric and behavior was what got people up in arms there.

    As for Holy Cross, part of the problem there began with inexperienced vestry members, and Gail Marsh. I would be interested in additional information as I’ve heard bits and pieces of some interesting conversations that occured. What a shame.

    Holy Cross is not to blame though. The Diocese ultimately made the decision to sell. Perhaps had the congregants felt more powerful and the vestry more open minded and forthcoming with the information, something could have at least been done to preserve the historic site.

    It’s a shame that “progress” forges ahead and right over the top of history sometimes.

    April 15, 2011
  385. Jane Moline said:

    Chad: We are asking that the laws and the code be applied to the Rejoice church project. We are not dealing with a hypothetical project or what may have happened if Rejoice did not buy the chruch and Holy Cross was applying for an expansion. We are dealing with a real, significant expansion that should be subject to the rules we have in place in the State of Minnesota and the City of Dundas–now.

    The rules were not applied properly when the CUP was issued. An EAW is required regardless of yours or anyone else’s feeling about historic preservation. A property listed on the National Historic Registry is subject to an EAW. When Rejoice first purchased the property, no one (outside of Rejoice) knew of any plans to change the property–it is the changes that require the EAW–and these changes were partially stated at the CUP application.

    Since then, the information has been sketchy at best and city staff appear to be favoring Rejoice and keeping as much information a secret as possible. This is frustrating.

    In addition to the Historic Preservation issue, which the city sadly appears to dismiss as unimportant, there are real environmental concerns that will be costly to the city if not mitigated by sufficient planning. To expect us to rely solely on city staff–engineer included–who appear to be keeping the information from the public and the city council, unfortunately makes it appear that there is a conspiracy to keep us in the dark.

    Certainly, we would expect that the city staff should be moderately competent at their job and would never intentionally make a mistake–yet we know of numerous mistakes that have been made–including the engineer locating a city pathway across private property and refusing to recognize the error. If they can make such a simple error, consider the seriousness of making an error on the amount of storm water runoff that will flood the neighbors.

    In addition, no one will come forward with the information of what is allowed in an R1 district for restrictions on covering the property with impervious surfaces or when changes were made to city ordinances to allow underground stormwater storage in R1 property. I have heard rumors of the city, without sufficient discussion (in that no one seems to know of or remmber any discussion) having made some recent changees to city ordinances in this regard. If so, I want to know who what where when and why.

    Please refer to the Robert Stai posting on this blog (a copy of which was provided to the city council) for a neighbor with valid concerns about flooding.

    Finally, the Rejoice church is a tax-exempt entity with most of its membership living in Northfield –not Dundas. The expansion of this church will not bring in increased property taxes or have an economic impact on Dundas beyond making it less appealing, give the impression that the citizens do not care about history or historically significant buildings, and decraease the value of neighboring homes that will be adversely affected by the noise, traffic, and flooding caused by project that is oversized for the lot. With insufficient parking, neighbors will suffer–and property values will go down. An economic impact, but it would be all negative.

    April 15, 2011
  386. Steph Henriksen said:


    I was impressed with your life story, “Common Man,” at the prayer breakfast yesterday morning. And Bill’s (last name?) feedback on the Colsen conference, “Doing the right thing.” Everyone was friendly and welcoming toward me.

    I thought to myself, surely people as concerned about community and doing right as those present, were they to know there was breech of promise on reuse of Holy Cross sanctuary for weddings and funerals, they would plan a meeting to arrange for restoration of at least part of the sanctuary.

    Rev. Gayle Marsh of All Saints told me last Sunday she had made the necessary arrangements for reuse of the sanctuary, even to leaving the hymnals. She said they had already signed off (on the sale) when things went wrong and did not know how to get back into it. I could see the pain in her face as she said this was the worst thing that had happened in her years of ministry and she prayed twice a day over it.

    I call on you, John, to open up the subject at the next prayer breakfast. Help people “do the right thing,” keeping in mind that preservation experts at SHSPO have determined that the landscaping, interior furnishings and parish hall were all features of historical significance at Holy Cross. Once these features were under threat of being disturbed or destroyed, a mandatory EAW was triggered.

    April 15, 2011
  387. Chad Pribyl said:

    Julie, Thank you so much for pointing out my spelling error! (with sarcasm) Have you noticed that the “j” and “u” are right next to each other on a keyboard? I’m sorry that I “fat fingered” it and did not proof read more carefully. Your tone is exactly why you are meeting resistance from some people, and your not gaining any points with me by childishly pointing out my flaws.

    I think the readers of this forum are very educated which is why I made the statement the way I did. Stop inferring (spelled with two “r”s) that I mean something different than what I said. It is really too bad that you are so busy blaming the city and Rejoice! church that you are blind to the fact that I very well could be your greatest ally on this issue.

    If the public think what they have to say falls on deaf ears then that is a shame and it is part of the reason I am posting here. I don’t believe anyone who has ever called me regarding a city issue has felt that way, even if I don’t agree with them. I have, and will continue to welcome calls and emails as long as I represent the citizens of Dundas.

    The “true motives” I mentioned have been brought up here before and to say it plainly, if you are/were a member of the former Holy Cross Church, and you are upset because the church was sold and someone else wants to do something else with it, I’m sorry, but that is not reason enough to ruin the new owner’s plans. Destroying a historic building (or site) however, may be reason enough.

    To answer your last question, “Why does it take a major outcry from the majority of the public for city government to protect a piece of the city’s history?” This is where the dilemma lies for me. Even if an EAW is done, it may show that the project can continue. The project is not destroying the historic building, but is definitly altering the look of the property as a whole, which can, and has been argued by you and others to be of historical significance. (Please don’t repeat here how it’s on the historic registry. I know, and I get it.) The question for me is if the project falls within the codes and laws, (remember, this is how the city runs and what we use to guide us) including following the guidelines for protecting a historic place, is there a reason (whether it is factual or the majority opinion) that the project shouldn’t move forward?

    The city’s motive, in my OPINION, is to let people do what they want with there land as long as it is legal and follows code, and also to try to protect the interest of the city and serve it’s citizens.

    I am grateful to have this forum and I welcome all of your comments and opinions, but lets not digress to bickering.

    Thank you,

    Chad Pribyl

    April 15, 2011
  388. Chad Pribyl said:

    Jane, I understand that you want an EAW! Really, I do. I have no reason to believe it can’t, or won’t happen. You ask some good questions in this post that I, at the moment, don’t have the answers to. But this is what I was looking for and I will try to find out! Thank you.

    April 15, 2011
  389. john george said:

    Julie- Yep, I agree, and I wasn’t saying you specifically were blaming Rejoice! It just seems to be the general tone of the thread. Perhaps, some of this comes from Griff’s original problem with the terminology that Pastor Clites used in his church web post. That whole article was a communication to the congregation, and it was possibly naivety to believe it wouldn’t be perused by everyone on the internet. This whole new IT approach to communications is tripping up a vast number of people.

    I do not feel the Holy Cross congregants are to blame, either. They were trusting those in authority over them. This whole scenario just underscores how important communications of expectations are. Just ask David Ludescher about that. He makes a good living just trying to document these types of things.

    April 15, 2011
  390. Jane Moline said:

    Thank you, Chad. I really appreciate the hard work of our city council. I don’t know if others understand how difficult it is to be in such a small city and have such few resources–but I certainly do and appreciate how much hard work our elected and appointed officials do. It is truly public service. (Although we pay our city council, it is quite embarrassingly small–a pittance. I am sure if spread over the hours worked it would come in a negative number.) (Bruce Morlan, and others on planning and park boards, et tu.)

    April 15, 2011
  391. john george said:

    Stephanie- Thank you for coming and thank you for your kind comments. I was honored to have you there. As far as the conflict that has arisen over this property, it really isn’t the focus of Transformation Northfield to become involved in this type of thing. We can pray, though, and I’m sure many are beyond what I have been involved with. Since I am not a part of either congregation, at this point I can only stand on the outside, reflect back what I am seeing, and bring encouragement.

    April 15, 2011
  392. kiffi summa said:

    The building permit is subject to a data practice request, Jane… ask for it.

    Also , as I have said before, the building is subject to protection under the MN statute , the Environmental Rights Act, and our state statute does not require the more usual ‘standing’ based on financial interest , but gives the right to bring suit for protection to ALL citizens of the state.

    April 15, 2011
  393. Jane Moline said:

    The building permit was received by the city and a data practice request was made. The city staff refused to give the requestor a copy–they, instead, gave it back to the applicant, saying it was not “complete.” This is a blatant violation of THE LAW. City staff was required to give us a copy of the “incomplete” application and refused.

    April 16, 2011
  394. Chad Pribyl said:

    Jane, THE LAW actually says that you may look at the application, but the city is not required to give you a copy due to copyright laws.

    I am looking into your previous questions, so don’t think I forgot about them. I will get back to you as soon as I can find the answers. Thanks.

    April 16, 2011
  395. Chad and Jane:
    The law says:

    SS 13.03 Subd. 3: Request for access to data. (emphasis added)

    (a) Upon request to a responsible authority or designee, a person shall be permitted to inspect and copy public government data at reasonable times and places, and, upon request, shall be informed of the data’s meaning. If a person requests access for the purpose of inspection, the responsible authority may not assess a charge or require the requesting person to pay a fee to inspect data.

    (b) For purposes of this section, “inspection” includes, but is not limited to, the visual inspection of paper and similar types of government data. Inspection does not include printing copies by the government entity, unless printing a copy is the only method to provide for inspection of the data. In the case of data stored in electronic form and made available in electronic form on a remote access basis to the public by the government entity, inspection includes remote access to the data by the public and the ability to print copies of or download the data on the public’s own computer equipment. Nothing in this section prohibits a government entity from charging a reasonable fee for remote access to data under a specific statutory grant of authority. A government entity may charge a fee for remote access to data where either the data or the access is enhanced at the request of the person seeking access.

    (c) The responsible authority or designee shall provide copies of public data upon request. If a person requests copies or electronic transmittal of the data to the person, the responsible authority may require the requesting person to pay the actual costs of searching for and retrieving government data, including the cost of employee time, and for making, certifying, and electronically transmitting the copies of the data or the data, but may not charge for separating public from not public data. However, if 100 or fewer pages of black and white, letter or legal size paper copies are requested, actual costs shall not be used, and instead, the responsible authority may charge no more than 25 cents for each page copied. If the responsible authority or designee is not able to provide copies at the time a request is made, copies shall be supplied as soon as reasonably possible.

    City of Dundas may certainly charge the reasonable cost of copying the building permit — or they must allow the requestor to inspect and copy the application him- or herself. There is no copyright protection that is any concern to the City of Dundas. If there were any copyright issue, it would be between the copyright holder (an architectural firm, perhaps) and the requestor, were the requestor to use the data in some problematic way. Public data is public data, and the City must provide copies if requested (for a fee, if they like) or allow free inspection.

    Jane — I would suggest you post the name and title of the particular person who refused the request. Obviously somebody made a decision here; no reason to fault the whole city government for one person’s decision. If they provided a citation for why they refused to comply, it would be helpful to know that, too.

    April 17, 2011
  396. Steph Henriksen said:

    I have made 3 requests for documents on Holy Cross. For the first one, I received two items which were not the ones I requested (updated site map w/graves left in place, copy of conditions on the CUP). For the second one, I did not get a response from the City, so I turned to another source.

    For this third request made on Tuesday April 5, I requested both inspection and copies of the building permit, indicating I knew the application had been submitted. I again gave my name, address, phone and email for their response. I received nothing the rest of the week, so I called the office Monday April 11, as I recall. Linda said she had emailed me Wednesday that the permit had been returned as incomplete. I asked that she check the email address. She apparently directed it to “seph” instead of “steph.” I asked her to resend the message for my records. I have not received it.

    I could have registered a complaint but thought it best not to rock the boat further and to continue to be optimistic that the EAW will occur and all materials will finally be out in the open. Chad seems very sincere in trying to get to the bottom of things and I trust he will.

    April 17, 2011
  397. Steph Henriksen said:

    Clarification: I asked for inspection and copy of Rejoice’s application for the building permit. Obviously, the building permit itself cannot be granted until the decision on the EAW is made.

    April 17, 2011
  398. Chad Pribyl said:

    Jane, could you send me your email address please?


    Chad Pribyl

    April 17, 2011
  399. Jane Moline said:

    Sean: The whole city government is only a few people. Everybody in Dundas, including the city council and mayor, know who failed to provide a the data.

    The person who failed in supplying the information is also the responsible person for data paractices—so they also know that what they did was wrong.

    The city council is in a position to evaluate this person, and hopefully they are listening–I made the same statement at the city council meeting so they have all the information.

    My concern is that there appears, to the pubulc, to be a clear prejucdice by the city staff to favor Rejoice church and city staff is keeping information from the public.

    April 17, 2011
  400. Jane Moline said:

    Chad, Julie, et al

    One of the problems that seems to be causing some of the higher emotions in this issue are due to the treatment of the citizens concerned about the church. I would ask that everybody cut out the jabs and discuss the serious issues we have in front of us. Please excuse my misspellings–I don’t do it to offend, but sometimes I try to type too fast.

    Some of the reasons the citizens have become defensive: (this is not an excuse, just an explanation of some of the problems.)

    1. We have repeatedly been denied access to information or copies or just common courtesy by the city staff–in fact, we have several times been given incorrect information–(i.e.; where staff told the city council that our copy was outdated and when we got the “new” copy it was the same old copy we were using–basically staff leading council to believe we were using bad information and the city council could ignore us.)

    2. City staff have given incorrect instructions to both the city council and planning commission and there is no effort to correct the errors. City council may then be acting on incorrect information. When we point this out, we are either told we are wrong or it is inferred that we are whiney, unprofessional, ignoramuses.

    3. City council and city staff have made numerous statements that, although they “respect” historical property, they feel it is not an important aspect of this property CUP or permitting issue–inferring and stating that they don’t think it is very important. To the public, it appears that they are thumbing their noses at the Environmental Quality Review Borad rules and the laws that require an EAW for historically significant property.

    4. Constant inferences that anyone opposing the obliteration of the historical Holy Cross Church are interfering busy-bodies with some strange “ulterior” motvie or that they have no right to have any say because they either don’t live in Dundas or they don’t live near the church or because the city council thinks they shouldn’t have a say. This marginalization of the interested citizens is constantly frustrating. I have thought of having T-shirts made with “pricipality of opposition” as Clites has labeled us so unfairly, but I think there are too many out there who would not get the sarcasm. All of this “labeling” is to make our efforts appear as unwarranted or unfair interference.

    5. In general, the Rejoice church and city of Dundas decision to keep the public in the dark. John McCarthy and Tom McMahon of the city have had access to plans for months and months and have declined to share information with the citizens or the city council (unless they are doing it in secret). A CUP was issued that should not even have been issued back in September of 2010. If citizens had been informed of what the public hearing would determine, we would have filled the hearing to overflowing (as it was, a number of people sat on the floor.)

    Anyway, as long as we keep approaching it as “them” and “us” we are going to have difficulty appreciating each other’s interests and opinions. I, for one, continue to be on the side of the City of Dundas and citizens of Dundas, who I owe a life-long appreciation and loyalty–without being employed or paid by any of them. They are my neighbors and in Dundas that means something.

    I sincerely feel that Rejoice thought they could come into a hick town and push everybody around by being smooth and getting city staff to abet them in their distraction approch to getting their way. Well, we may be a hick town and we may have been a little slow on the uptake, but we are going to expect them to follow all the rules that we have–you don’t get to sneak around the ones you don’t like.

    There is a disconnect in the understanding of the city’s responsibility–sometimes manifesting itself in discussions as private property rights–when the real dynamic of the city is to regulate these rights witnin the commumity–and balance them with the communitiy’s (and neighbor’s) rights and responsibilities. I have heard quite a bit about just letting Rejoice do whatever it wants with the church since they bought the property, but in reality we know that even our homes are subject to quite a bit of regulation–and we expect larger buildings, community meeting places, and commerical and industrial properties to all comply with rules that make the properties good neighbors in the community.

    April 17, 2011
  401. Raymond Daniels said:

    Jane…Rejoice! is not trying “obliterate” Holy Cross and using language like that and by saying “I sincerely feel that Rejoice thought they could come into a hick town and push everybody around” doesn’t do anybody any good and is part of the whole problem. In my opinion, you are just trying to be a bully. I’m sorry if that offends you and I know I am “the pot calling the kettle black” here, but you need to own up to.

    I also think you need to keep in mind that there are probably some people that live in Dundas that attend Rejoice! and actually support the addition. So when you say you are speaking for the citizens of Dundas, you are only speaking for a select group.

    Maybe one of the reasons Rejoice! is not commenting is beacuse if they did, their comments would fall on deaf ears and nothing they say or do, would matter in your eyes. Why would they think the need to respond to You, Steph, or Locally Grown anyways? Sorry, but I think this group has an over-inflated self worth. They only need to respond to their neighbors and city council. Another reason they may not be responding is because they are trying to let their architect do his job and draft plans that take all this into consideration. Maybe you are jumping the gun here? Have you seen the final plans? Maybe things have changed.

    Lastly, this country was built on individuals rights and the right own property. What you are advocating is socialism or communism and I for am not for it.

    One more thing….Julie, my name is Raymond, Mr Daniels, Chump, Jerk, or anyting else but Ray. As for your comment about “stop attacking you”, if you don’t want to be attacked, don’t attack others (Clites). As for this thread, I agreed that Rejoice! mistepped on the graves and was in the wrong.

    April 17, 2011
  402. Jane Moline said:

    Sorry, Raymond, but what you call “individual rights” we call anarchy and what you call “communism” we call democracy. You can’t just do whatever you want. This country was built on the rule of laws.

    April 17, 2011
  403. Chad Pribyl said:

    To all, I have responded to Jane’s post #141 directly and will be limiting my participation on further discussion in order to stay in compliance with MN open meeting laws.

    I always welcome your emails, calls, and opinions regarding ANY city issue. If you would like a email copy of my response just let me know.


    Chad Pribyl

    April 19, 2011
  404. Steph Henriksen said:

    I stopped in at Dundas City Hall yesterday to view materials in the Rejoice application for their building permit. That material was not made available to me, but I did learn that the building permit is on the agenda for the Monday night, Jan. 25, Council meeting 7 pm. Given that no permit can be issued without the Council first voting on whether or not to require the EAW, I assume the Council has notified petitioners representative Jane Moline that they will be handling that item as well.

    I suggest that anyone interested in the future of Holy Cross and the city block on which it stands plan to attend.

    April 21, 2011
  405. Michelle Hawkins said:

    Monday JANUARY 25th?
    I’m confused Stephanie.

    April 21, 2011
  406. Steph Henriksen said:

    That’s Monday, April 25 at Dundas City Hall. Thanks for catching my mistake, Michelle!!

    April 21, 2011
  407. Griff Wigley said:

    The citizen petition requesting an Environmental Assessment Worksheet (EAW) for Rejoice! Church is on the Dundas City Council agenda tonight (agenda is labeled incorrectly April 11). Here’s the PDF in the Council packet that has all the details:

    It includes an email from John Klockeman that starts out:

    My name is John Klockeman and I am one of the chairpersons of the Rejoice! Building Team (Committee). While we have been following the dialogue on the local blog (Locally Grown Northfield) regarding our proposed addition to the former Holy Cross site in Dundas, we would like to take a moment to clarify some of the incorrect information circulating about our proposal, who we are, and why we are proposing our expansion. I appreciate Mr. Pribyl’s candid responses on the blog until recently and hope this communication sheds some more light on our proposal.

    April 25, 2011
  408. Raymond Daniels said:

    According to the NN, 4-1 in favor of not doing an EAW.

    April 26, 2011
  409. Griff Wigley said:

    Thanks, Raymond. I see the Nfld News axed the pre-meeting article that I linked to this morning:

    and ‘repurposed’ it into a new article at:

    Why do they do that shit?! aarrgghh!

    Anyway, the blurb at the top now says:

    The Dundas City Council in a 4-1 vote found that a building construction project at Rejoice! Church shouldn’t require an environmental assessment. Voting for the assessment was Councilor Nathan Ryan.

    Stephanie Henricksen, who had advocated for the environmental review, a look at the project’s impact on the site and surrounding area, said in an Tuesday morning e-mail to the News that she and others are considering filing a legal challenge of the decision.

    Mayor Glenn Switzer, noting that the council’s vote could force such a move, said Monday night that that was “OK with (him).”

    April 26, 2011
  410. Chad Pribyl, Nathan Ryan, and Ryan Carroll all asked decent questions of McCarthy. While I have no reason to believe McCarthy would be unreasonably supportive of this, his answers were very obfuscated. Pribyl at one point asked who would pay for an EAW (because some members of the community had the false impression the City had to pay). Rather than simply saying, “the applicant pays for an EAW,” he gave about a 5-minute confusing answer saying that, while the applicant pays for the EAW-proper, it could involve staff time, and really the cost shouldn’t be a consideration anyway.

    Glenn Switzer and Grant Modory clearly had their minds made up going into the meeting. Modory in particular was very dismissive of citizen complaints and concerns, saying that regardless of substantive objections, the real issue behind them was “feelings” and resistance to change, and people just need to get over it.

    April 26, 2011
  411. john george said:

    Sean- I think Switzer and Modory were correct in their assesment. This is a case of a narrow definition of the law on the books. The RGU must decide what it is going to base its decision upon, and they chose a narrow definition. Any decision they would make, be it narrow or broad, could be challenged in a court of law. I think Switzer’s comment about that being ok is just an expression of his confidence in this definition. I think councilor Pribyl’s example of whether he could legally fire a gun if he was one foot outside his property line was a good example. As long as he had the permission of the land owner adjacent to his property, then the City of Dundas would have no legal grounds to press charges against him. According to the law, that is the same case here. The portion of the existing building proposed to be altered is legally outside the jurisdiction of the Historical Registery. There are reasons we have laws, and this is a good example.

    As far as McCarthy’s answers being “obfuscated”, he was answering with the portions of the laws that he had on record and had been submitted to the council. My personal opinion of the accusation of predjudice on his part was that it was unfounded.

    April 26, 2011
  412. My issue with Modory is not as much his vote, but his dismissiveness toward citizen complaints.

    I think there’s an unfortunate issue that this vote felt like the councilors were saying they were “for” or “against” the church expansion. I don’t see why they wouldn’t all be personally against the church expansion; the building project is harmful to the original town of Dundas, and unlike other aesthetic offenses — Kmart or Menards — they won’t even pay taxes to the City. That’s not to say they should be throwing up unfair obstacles, but they certainly should not be going out of their way to move the expansion along quickly on this historic property.

    Obviously Rejoice has a right to do what it wants with its property, but there is no reason the City should not hold them to a good faith standard of the law. It is not in good faith to shoot off a gun a foot outside the CIty limits — in fact, that was Pribyl’s point, as I heard it. Likewise, they are not preventing Rejoice’s expansion. They would have simply been asking that the church undergo an expensive of a few thousand dollars out of a million-dollar project to get a better environmental picture. That’s not a vote against the church; that’s a reasonable, good-faith standard.

    April 26, 2011
  413. john george said:

    Sean- I think this is a case of how to apply the laws at hand. If I understand the events properly, this was not the first time this issue had come before the council. I don’t believe Modory was being “dismissive.” I think he was more pragmatic. There is a time to stop protesting and face what is actually going on, especially in light of the legal ramifications. To draw this process out longer would just have increased the costs to the city and, IMO, have resulted in the same conclusion. For Rejoice! to pay for the EAW doesn’t necessarily cover all the city’s responsibility to investigate the information and make another proposal to the council. The pressing of the nose only draws blood (see Proverbs 30:33).

    April 26, 2011
  414. Steph Henriksen said:


    You were there last night? I didn’t see you.

    April 26, 2011
  415. john george said:

    Yes, I was there. I just wanted to be an observer.

    April 26, 2011
  416. Julie Schrader Bicket said:

    Thanks Sean.

    April 28, 2011
  417. Julie Schrader Bicket said:

    Unfortunately, the “News” didn’t print my original letter that was submitted by deadline to be published before the Dundas City council meeting. There were omissions and edits that changed the intent of the letter. Here it is in it’s original form:

    Holy Cross preservation:

    As many in the Dundas area know, Church of the Holy Cross on the South side of Dundas was closed in June of 2006. Rejoice! Church of Northfield purchased the property in January of 2010. Much controversy surrounds the circumstances of the closing and subsequent sale. Neighbors and Holy Cross parishioners viewed with great concern, the stripping of the sanctuary, removal of trees and plans for moving historic gravesites.

    State archeology helped clarify the graves could not be moved. Other questions remain as to design, construction, addition to the historic building, traffic plan and storm water runoff which could be addressed in an Environmental Assessment worksheet. Citizens petitioned for the EAW in February. City Administrator, John McCarthy, maintains a vote on the EAW is not triggered until Rejoice! submits an application for the building permit.

    The application is now complete and both items, the requirement for an EAW and application for a building permit are expected to be taken up by Dundas City Council at it’s meeting Monday, April 25, 7:00 pm at Dundas City Hall on Railway Street.

    Obviously, there are many issues surrounding the grand scale plans being made for the site, imposing significant change to the quiet demeanor of the small town neighborhood and changing, forever…, what is considered historic property.

    All residents in the area with an interest in historic preservation, who may have fond memories of Holy Cross Church, it’s Strawberry Festival ice cream socials, have attended services, funerals, have been baptized or attended one, been married in or attended one, confirmed, taught Sunday school in, or even passed by and enjoyed taking in the beautiful, quaint architecture of the building are invited and will want to attend. Speak to the issue if you feel moved to. Thanks for your attention, hope to see you there!

    I was assured there would be a spot, that submission was timely and there wouldn’t be a problem with the letter being included in the Saturday issue April 23.

    Whatever the opinion of others, there’s no excuse for misrepresenting by quote or written word. Perhaps the News has the right to edit, but not to change the intent of a submission. Thanks.

    May 2, 2011
  418. john george said:

    Julie- I think you have experienced the same thing anyone has experienced in submitting a letter to a printed publication. Each publication states all the necessary caveates to cover what they do to fit size, etc., on the page. The problem is that the staff is not all knowing and does not necessarily give weight to statements that the particular writer may prefer. That is one advantage to this type of a public venue. As long as you do not cross Griff’s threshold of civility, then what you say is word for word the way you intended. Thanks for submitting your original letter. When I read the NN link above, my first thought was that this was “edited” before presss time.

    Also, I was not aware that three and a half years had passed between the “closing” of Holy Cross and the sale of the property. That seems like quite a long time for the settlement of the whole thing by the Episcopal Diocese. But, then, there are a lot of limitations on future uses of this type of property.

    May 2, 2011
  419. Julie Schrader Bicket said:

    Mr. George: I adressed the NN printing of the letter, presented my initial submission here, and stand corrected on the date. To anyone else taking offense to the incorrect date of the closing of Holy Cross, that is the least of the issue, so sorry to offend.

    May 2, 2011
  420. john george said:

    Julie- I certainly wasn’t offended by the typo. In fact, I had to go back and reread the date in the NN link. “6” or “9” sometimes registers the same with this dyslexic! It just didn’t stick with me in the first reading. Besides, the date really has nothing to do with your comment.

    May 2, 2011
  421. I went to view Rejoice’s building permit documents, under an MGDPA request. Dundas city staff were very helpful.

    Here are many of the documents: I apologize for the poor quality — the plotter sheets had been folded several times over. Rejoice should, in my opinion, release original digital copies of these on their website as a good faith effort to let the public see their plans. Particularly since so much discussion has happened online.

    Nothing seemed terribly out of the ordinary, though I would note that all of these plans show an entrance/exit on E Hamilton Street. It is also quite clear that the sanctuary (“worship center”) will essentially be a warehouse. This and other documents show “future windows”: It appears that, as built, the sanctuary will be a windowless box.

    May 2, 2011
  422. john george said:

    Sean- In case you hadn’t noticed, City Light Church, formerly New Covenant, is just that- a Butler steel building. Until the remodeling we did a couple years ago, precipitated by the huge hail storm, there were only windows along the front. We survived quite well those many years.

    May 2, 2011
  423. John–
    My understanding is that that building is a former auto shop, designed and built for highway frontage. It is not a historic 19th century church site built for a town/village context. Seems like apples and oranges.

    May 2, 2011
  424. I’d also note that the plainest side of the building is the side facing the town of Dundas: While other sides have strips of stone, which the architect claims will help coordinate it with the original church, the side facing Dundas has no windows or even stone ornamentation.

    I would also note the intentional choice to cater only to cars. John Klockeman said in his letter included in the city council packet that Rejoice will maintain the existing entrances from the sidewalk on S 2nd St. This is true, but that will provide access to offices, not the narthex or sanctuary or any public area. Ideally, the “face” of the church should have been the town, not the highway. But at a minimum, sidewalks should be installed along E Hamilton St to connect to the walk along the parking lot for people walking from the rest of Dundas. Also wouldn’t kill them to install some bike racks by the new entrance 😉

    May 2, 2011
  425. john george said:

    Sean- I wasn’t around when our building was built. It is my understanding that it was originally a furniture store. It was then used a short time as a manufacturing facility for a local printed circuit company. My point is that our type of church (similar to Rejoice!) does not need a traditional “church building” like the European Gothic edifices historically associated with denominational Christianity. We only need a place large enough for our congregants to meet and be warm and dry in inclement weather.

    May 2, 2011
  426. Michelle Hawkins said:

    I gonna change where I do my target shootin practice now! ONE foot out of Dundas… Could somebody send me a map of the counselors closest to city lines??? I think that would be the best spot to set up my cans.

    Let’s see if their example is anything more than a submarine with screen doors.

    Yes, I’m being facetious here, don’t even own a gun. But in this age of greater sensitivity to the use of such language by political personages, the example used referring to firing one foot out of Dundas is also a prime example of the lack of common sense, or an indication of dangerous arrogance on the part of the speaker.

    It’s a shame such people are in office.

    May 3, 2011
  427. Chad Pribyl said:


    While I feel like arguing with you on the internet is like paddling upstream against the wind, I will say this. I would like you to explain to me, in detail, what I meant when I made the comments your refering to. I know that you can’t, because you weren’t at the meeting when I made them. You have evidently completely taken my comments out of context and don’t understand the point that I was trying to make. Since it is apparently beneath you to come to a Dundas council meeting and you would rather fire off on local forums about issues you seem to have no interest in besides stirring the pot online, you will never know what I meant when I made the comment. Unless, of course, you would like to call me and allow me to explain my comments to you.

    As I have said before, while I greatly appreciate forums like these being here, when it comes to people making uninformed, inaccurate, personal attacks, I will defend myself. My address is 1613 Pinnacle Dr. and my lot is the current city boundary on two sides.

    I have more common sense at 33 years old than you could ever hope to have and it’s a shame people like you are allowed to spew jibberish like this online. I can’t wait to see what comes next.

    Sean – You DID seem to understand my point, and I thank you for coming to the meeting. You points were well made and I appreciate them.

    John – Thank you for coming to the meeting as well.

    Good day,

    Chad Pribyl

    May 3, 2011
  428. john george said:

    Chad- You are welcome. The point you made has two sides, and I thought at the time that is what you were aluding to. There is the side of weighing what your actions can precipoitate, and acting accordingly to what you want to answer. But, in a court of law, it is the law that has final jurisdiction over the case. In applying laws, it is sometimes down to a point of splitting hairs. I thought the council was wise in their understanding and application of the law in this case. Just as firing a gun on your neighbors property would have ramifications, you would still be protected under the law. I can’t say from first hand knowledge, but I believe Rejoice! was cognizant of the laws covering this type of property and acted within them. Perhaps they could not foresee this level of reaction, but they do have the protection of the law. I have a daughter your age, and I think you did very well in carrying out your responsibilities to the City and the Councul. Keep up the good work!

    May 3, 2011
  429. john george said:

    And, please forgive my lack of ability to hit the correct keys on this blasted keyboard! Council, not Councul!

    May 3, 2011
  430. Jane Moline said:

    I have to defend councilman Chad Pribyl on his analogy, even if it was not actually fit to the situation–Chad was pointing out that it would be wrong for him to fire a gun so close to houses even if it was outside the city limits as it is against the law to discharge a firearm inside the city limits. He was saying that the proximity to the border of Dundas would make it wrong–and in that he is right.

    The analogy was flawed however. Rejoice is not causing “destruction in whole or in part” away from the historic structure–they are causing the destruction on the historic structure.

    Rejoice obviously read the rules regarding EAWs and saw that an EAW was required under the rules. (Something that city administrator John McCarthy completely missed and refused to acknowledge.) So a Rejoice member wrote a letter to the city council and claimed that Rejoice’s construction was NOT on the historic structure because the south wall which will be completely covered is outside of Lot 8 (it goes onto Lot 7) on the 10 lots that make up the church property.

    Stay with me here, because this gets complicated. An expert from the Minnesota Historical Preservation Office sent a letter which we forwarded to the city council some weeks prior stating that the PARISH HALL is included in the registry–and the site included the legal description of the lots (8,9 & 10) plus the property description was the defining description of the property.

    SO the city had, from an authority, that the 7 1/2 feet of the parish hall that were on Lot 7 were also part of the Historic Registry—but John McCarthy did not include any of those materials in the packet he delivered to the city council–he only included information from Rejoice church–who came up with the far-fetched claime that the part of the building not on Lot 8 was not included in the registry.

    This is the fault of the city council–relying on Rejoice church to tell them what Rejoice church wants them to know–and ignoring the other informaiton. A staff report was delivered to the city council that ignored any of the information that countered the opinion of John McCarthy. This exclusion was insulting, and I had hoped at Chad’s comment that someone would suggest getting more information.

    Instead, the city council appeared to only care about the information that John McCarthy had provided in that packet and ignored all the information to the contrary. (If they did not believe the information we had delivered to them, they could have called any of the experts listed–we had provided phone numbers and addresses for all–and received the information directly from the experts.)

    What John McCarthy did was make a decision for the city council and then deliver only the materials that supported his decision–we were bushwacked. McCarthy continually told the council that the decision was at their discretion and did not inform them of the EAW requirement that was NOT discretionary.

    Rejoice, however, knows that an EAW is required on a historic structure and are just glad they ducked out of that requirement–just like firing a gun one foot outside the city limits–Rejoice must know that what they are doing is wrong. But they paint over it with their little lie that part of the parish hall does not count.

    Regarding the west wall which is undecorated and without windows, Rejoice is planning to build on there in the future going west and then another addition that would be against the west wall of the parish hall and join with the other additions–basically they intend to wrap around the parish hall completely.

    Their plan is destruction in whole or in part of a historic structure–and requires an EAW before they dig one shovel of dirt–but they are denying the public this information and refusing to comply with the requirements.

    It also appears that the parking lot will be inadequate for future expansion, and it defies reason that they will be able to suucessfully mitigate the additional stormwater runoff from their huge addition and the parking lot.

    It is unfortunate that the city council refuses to follow the state rules–although this is done by purposefully not getting the correct information–what you don’t know can hurt you.

    May 3, 2011
  431. Michelle Hawkins said:

    Mr Pibyl,
    Were I able to attend the meeting I certainly would have. I was in surgery for a carotid blockage.

    Perhaps you are right, my comments were over the top. I am on medication and should have let it morning effects wear off before I responded.

    I usually chew on what I want to say for several hours before typing, as my intent is rarely to insult, regardless of whatever someone has said to or about me.
    I see that is not how you operate, though I understand your displeasure.

    I apologize for causing such rage. I AM very interested in more than just “stirring the pot” with uneducated writing, Sir. I should have stayed off this blog topic, as I have for sometime now due to it’s oftentime rude comments, as I care so very deeply and am greatly frustrated at my current inabilty to be more involved. I was wrong to become as rude as those who caused my leaving it before I got ill, illness does not excuse me anymore than their cloaking themselves in christian dogma to justify their own remarks.

    Be well.

    May 3, 2011
  432. Michelle Hawkins said:

    shooot, well until now..perhaps, my employer didn’t know about the med procedure.. ooops! Shhhh!~

    May 3, 2011
  433. Griff Wigley said:

    Today’s Nfld News: Church cornerstone will remain

    In a Tuesday evening e-mail to the News, Rejoice! Church’s John Klockeman, who sits on its building team, said church leaders decided to leave stone, previously set for removal, in place.

    “Some details will need to be worked out in terms of the location of the 1964 cornerstone and whether or not to maintain the existing door at the southwest corner of the 1964 wing, the stone on the interior of the 1998 ramp addition, etc., but we will not be removing the stone as originally proposed,” he wrote.

    May 4, 2011
  434. Michelle Hawkins said:

    Jane- I have a question you may or may not be able to answer, although I promised(myself) I would not invite attack on this blog any more. (Does NoT mean I don’t care about the historic site though, I care very much)

    Anyhow, without insulting intent to ANYONE:
    When documents and verified information are submitted to city council and their legal eagle, is it Legal for such to be withheld in the decision making process?

    Follow-up: Wouldn’t the neglect or withholding of such information & documents either be prosecutable, or in the least greatly enhance any civil suit as a result of the decision made based on such a purposely incomplete packet?

    ***note-I am just asking questions here, not stating an opinion or suggestion!

    May 4, 2011
  435. Raymond Daniels said:

    Wow….Rejoice! is moving towards the critics. I think it is time for the critics move towards them as well.

    May 4, 2011
  436. Jane Moline said:

    Rejoice will be covering the stone over with an attached wall. They are not “moving towards cirtics.” They are claiming that somehow, their covering of the south wall with their own structure and the punching of a hole through the wall and their attachments to the parish hall are not “destruction in whole or in part.” John Klockeman and Rejoice know that an EAW is required and are making excuses with not complying with the rules.

    May 4, 2011
  437. Jane Moline said:

    Michelle: much more complicated than that. Dundas is not very sophisticated, but they share something with other cities that have a lot more staff. When the staff wants a decision made, they simply write the report or sift the information through their own prejudice and present what supports their opinion. If the city council never asks for the detail to support the conclusions of staff, they never get the information. If they never ask if anyone might have a different view and why, they never have to consider that information.

    In this case, the council never asked their attorney to look at the information we presented regarding the rules requiring an EAW–they just went with John McCarthy’s opinion. They never asked for definition of the structure on the National Historic Registry and McCarthy just gave them his opinion that the parish hall didn’t count–and then when we presented a statement from the Minnesota State Historic Preservation OFfice, they either did not bother to read it or ignored the information in favor of the opinion of a member of Rejoice church.

    May 4, 2011
  438. john george said:

    Jane- I just don’t understand what you are trying to accomplish with these accusations above and this one from 160.2:

    “Rejoice, however, knows that an EAW is required on a historic structure and are just glad they ducked out of that requirement–just like firing a gun one foot outside the city limits–Rejoice must know that what they are doing is wrong. But they paint over it with their little lie that part of the parish hall does not count.”

    How do you “know” that they “know” that this is wrong? Are you privy to some meeting minutes that have not been posted here? Are you actually accusing them of illegal activity? What is an EAW going to accomplish at this point in time?

    Calling something “wrong” is a value judgement and, IMO, different than charging that something is illegal. Mr Pribyl’s analogy, I think, demomstates this very thing. It is not illegal for him to fire a gun one foot outside the city limits if he has permission from the adjoining landowner to do so. It might rankel the neighbors, especially if he does not communicate with then beforehand, but he is covered by the law. I think the analogy is appropriate in this case.

    May 4, 2011
  439. kiffi summa said:

    I am amazed that the NF news did not mention the challenge to the ‘no EAW vote’; is that not the current big piece of news on this story?
    The challenge was presented Monday at the MN COurt of Appeals; plenty of time to get in Wednesday’s NFNews edition.

    May 12, 2011
  440. Griff Wigley said:

    Kiffi, is this the Nfld News article you mean?

    Court asked to overturn decision on church project

    A decision last month by the Dundas City Council not to require an environmental assessment of a proposed building project is being challenged in the state Court of Appeals. In a May 9 petition attorney James K. Peters of Glenwood asked the court to review the council’s April 25 decision.

    Peters, who represents petitions Julie Schrader Bickett, Stephanie Henriksen and Jane Moline, wrote that the proposed project requires the property owner, Rejoice! Church, to complete what’s called an Environmental Assessment worksheet and that the city failed to enforce Minnesota Administrative Rules.

    May 12, 2011
  441. kiffi summa said:

    Griff; did not see any such article in the paper edition of the ‘paper’, delivered to my house on Wednesday… did I miss it? Just looked again and didn’t see it…

    Is the one you are referencing just online?

    May 12, 2011
  442. john george said:

    Griff- Thanks for linking the article. I think it is good that the Dundas City Council decision is settled in court. There has been a lot of speculation by we arm-chair lawyers (David L.- you are excluded!) as to whether laws were broken or misrepresented. Having a court weigh in on the issue should settle that issue. As far as the hurt feelings of the members of the former Holy Cross Church, well, that’s another matter. A court of law probably cannot resolve those.

    May 12, 2011
  443. Griff Wigley said:

    Today’s Nfld News: Work on Dundas church to begin

    Rejoice! Church leaders are moving ahead with construction despite a state Court of Appeals filing asking it to overturn a city council decision not to require an environmental review of the building project.

    Dundas City Administrator John McCarthy said Friday that he expected church officials to pick up a building permit later in the day. The permit will allow the church to begin work on a 6,343 square-foot addition. “We’re taking it one step at a time,” Rejoice! Pastor Dan Clites said Friday. He declined to comment further.

    McCarthy said he’s issuing the permit because building plans have met city specifications. Some changes to the project’s stormwater plan were required following the initial application, he said, which will modify how runoff is handled on the 2.5-acre site.

    June 4, 2011
  444. Michelle Hawkins said:

    Dundas is “dis’n da judge” and showing a disrespect toward the court. An injunction should be sought or the same judge could determine that the filing is frivolous.

    Both sides now have decisions to make. On one hand, does Rejoice go ahead with their plans in disreagrd of the court’s current jurisdiction and risk that court’s ire? On the other, do the those that file din couirt “roll over and play dead”, not pursue an injunction and let it all end?

    Do the hoeowners in the immediate area know what this will do to their property values and ability to sell now and in the future? Are they willing to eat the possible loss? That’s one helluva “tithe”.

    June 4, 2011
  445. Michelle Hawkins said:

    hoeowners? Need more coffee, or maybe less!

    June 4, 2011
  446. john george said:

    Michelle- I’m sure there are a lot of “hoe owners” in Dundas, what with the keen interest in gardening that I see when I drive through.

    June 5, 2011
  447. Anyone know what the progress is, currently? (Out of town until August.) I assume Rejoice has gone ahead and ignored the legal challenge… Griff, might you be able to post some pics of the site?

    June 29, 2011
  448. Griff Wigley said:

    I was out taking photos when you posted that comment, Sean. Blog post on the way, along with the latest news.

    June 29, 2011

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