The Onward Eden Prairie Story

The Onward Eden Prairie Story

Onward Eden Prairie became a 501(c)3 non-profit in August, 2018.  Since October 2018 4 precariously housed young adults have lived in the house receiving the support of a social worker.  Immanuel’s Kim Rathjen, Coordinator of Inreach & Outreach, works with a community-wide board, Onward Eden Prairie, which rents an Immanuel owned house.

Immanuel’s vision to help provide safe places for youth experiencing homelessness in the south-west metro became financially possible through:

August 2018
Onward Eden Prairie Ribbon Cutting
It has been my immense joy to work on behalf of Immanuel and in the community to open affordable housing for young adults experiencing homelessness in our community.  Three years ago in October, God planted a thought in my head – “We need to buy that house” – when the house across the street from the church was on the market.  Sometimes I hear a still small voice from God, but this was a loud clear statement!

Within the Immanuel family I shared this seed of a thought, and I am humbled to look back now to see how God has tended and grown that thought into action, generosity and a new non-profit called Onward Eden Prairie, which will begin housing four young adults this fall.  For all of this to have happened in a three-year time frame is amazing, and, for me, is evidence of God’s leading.

There are so many people who helped us get to this point, not least of which is the donor who gave money so that Immanuel could purchase a house (It ended up not being the one across the street, but, in fact, is a better house for our purposes!). Immanuel leadership has been supportive of this idea of being actively engaged in our community which has freed me to pursue this vision from God. Members of the community of Eden Prairie have grabbed on to the vision and every time there has been a need, it has been filled.  People who have given their time and talents include realtors, lawyers, tradespeople, decorators, cleaners, civic organizations and other faith communities. God is so very good at providing what we need even before we know we need it.

Because Onward Eden Prairie is a community-based non-profit, I am not always able to publicly talk about my deepest belief that this is a God-inspired, God-directed, God-fulfilled mission.  But to you, my family of faith, I declare it to be so! The Apostle Paul’s words to the Ephesians express my thoughts well: Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. ~Ephesians 3:20-21

The needs for Onward Eden Prairie and our residents will continue, and I am confident that God will continue to provide. Thank you for travelling with me on this journey. We are moving onward together!

More information about Onward EP can be found at or on our Facebook page.

Watch this April 2018 video to learn more.


Community Organizations Raise Funds for Onward EP

Onward Eden Prairie is the New Name!

February 2018 Update

Update - December 2017

Update - August, 2017

We Have a House!

Update - June 15, 2017

Background: Immanuel’s Pledge to the Youth Housing Project

You might recall that Immanuel included a pledge of $200,000 to a youth housing project as part of our Opening Doors Capital Campaign. We are pleased to share with you that we have now accumulated sufficient funds to make the first $100,000 cash donation to the Haven House project. As promised, this portion of the campaign is to be paid only as funds have accumulated, and is not associated with the loan necessary to finance our building projects. The Church Executive Committee is working with the Haven House Board of Directors (HHB) as to the best timing for this contribution

New Developments

We hope that this update provides clarity regarding the housing project’s status. We are grateful for the accomplishments that Kim and the HHB members have made to date, and look forward to the positive impact of this project for our community.

Pastor Paul Nelson
Beth Hansen, Congregation President

Summary of the Youth Housing Project

June 2017

January 2017

November 2016
An Advisory Board was gathered to help the group move from the discovery and ideas phase into the execution phase of planning. People from the community with specific skill sets were invited to help us develop structure and formality for the vision.  The Advisory Board will meet once a month for the coming school year.  Community members include: Carol Bomben, Jan Eian, Joe Epping, Gena Gerard, Elaine Larabee, Police Sgt Eric LeBlanc, Kathy Palmer, Kim Rathjen, Kyle Rose, Gwen Schultz, Jay Simpson, John Urbanski, Andy Vergeront, Mark Weber.  The Advisory Board is not meant to be an exclusive group, and community members who have gifts, skills and time to move the project forward are welcomed.

Spring 2016

Winter 2016

Fall 2015

Summer 2015  

Summer 2014  

Frequently asked questions

I’m new


Immanuel Lutheran Church © 2020

A member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America