Church Plants its Roots in Seward
Seward Church, 2011 21st Avenue South
by Dave Madsen
Imagine walking into your grandmother’s attic and sifting through the endless piles of dusty junk to find a rare painting by a world-renowned artist. The surface of the painting is caked with filth and cobwebs, but underneath the crusty layer of dirt and mold is a masterpiece of vibrant color. This is how David Modder, pastor at Seward Church, describes the responsibility of the church in Western society: to help people see behind the years of corruption and appreciate the beauty of community and worship.
Modder’s relationship with religion stemmed from his upbringing in the church. For a great deal of time, Modder’s entire worldview was centered around Christianity; however, after a tough career experience, his worldview shifted and he was forced to consider what was truly important to his life as a person of faith. From that experience, Modder started Seward Church with a core focus on Jesus and a concentration on community.
Initially, Seward Church’s congregation consisted of only two families in the neighborhood. Since that time, though, Modder and Seward Church have reached out to the surrounding community and their membership has jumped significantly. Modder credits the growth to the church’s intentional outreach to the Seward community and its surrounding neighbors. For an example of how the church extends its hand to the community, Modder said that Seward Church opens its doors on a regular basis for meals and musical performances.
Another way that Seward Church promotes civic engagement is its involvement with the Seward Civic and Commerce Association (SCCA). Modder and members of the congregation attend the SCCA’s membership on a monthly basis, and Modder also reported that he feels welcome in the association as his goals as a church representative are very similar to other business owners’ intentions: to promote a sense of togetherness in the business community and to create a neighborhood environment that welcomes all.
Peace is a driving force that motivates much of Seward Church’s effort in the area and Modder said that the church accomplishes that by striving for justice, passion, and creativity in its work. In addition to the Friday night worship services, Modder said that the congregation coordinates regular small group meetings in the church space, as well as in the homes of certain families. While the large congregations on Friday evenings feel more like “family reunions,” Modder said that the small gatherings of people are where people can “take their masks off” and worship together.
In regard to the future, Modder envisions Seward Church to continue to reach out to everyone in the community, as well as to provide a resource for people who need access to space and/or a place to worship. Seward Church’s space, according to Modder, is multi-functional and can host anything from neighborhood meetings to Radiohead cover bands. Modder said that he would also like to see the Seward Church become more sustainable in the future.
2619 E Franklin Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55406