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

458 thoughts on “Rejoice! Spiritual wickedness triumphs in Dundas”

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

    1. 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?

      1. 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?

  4. Jane,
    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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

    1. 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.

  7. 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.

    1. 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.

    2. 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.

  8. 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?

    1. 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.

  9. 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?

  10. (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.

  11. 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.

    1. 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.

  12. 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!

  13. Robert.
    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,

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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?

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

    1. 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?

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

  20. 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!

  21. Raymond,

    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.

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

      2. 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.

  22. 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.

  23. 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.

    1. 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?

  24. 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.

    1. 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.

  25. 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.

    1. 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?

  26. 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.

    1. 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?

    2. 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.

      1. 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.”

      2. 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.

      3. 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.

      4. 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.

  27. Raymond,

    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.

  28. John,

    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.

    1. 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.

    2. 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.

  29. 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.

  30. 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.

  31. 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.

  32. 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!

    1. 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”.

      1. 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”.

      2. 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.

  33. 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.

  34. 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.

  35. 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?

    1. 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?

  36. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

      2. 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……

      3. 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.

    2. 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!

  37. 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!

    1. 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?

      1. 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

  38. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

  39. 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.

    1. 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.

    2. 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.)

  40. John,

    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.

    1. 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.

  41. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

      2. 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.

      3. 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.

  42. 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.

  43. 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.

  44. 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.

    1. 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.

    2. 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.

  45. 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

  46. 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.

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