UW-Stout News Story

The Ministry leaving ‘Big Blue House’ for main campus mall

May 3, 2012

For decades University of Wisconsin-Stout students, faculty and staff have been coming to the “Big Blue House” on north campus for their religious and spiritual needs. A reception Friday will signal “an end of an era” for that tradition, according to the Rev. Kurt Larson, the ELCA Lutheran campus minister.

The Ministry, a partnership of the Catholic and Lutheran faiths, is moving this summer from the house at 108 3rd Ave. W. to a former hot dog restaurant at 710 2nd St., on the campus mall next to Harvey Hall.

A number of former staff members and others are expected to return for the reception and dinner, which begins at 6 p.m. The returnees include the Rev. Donald Wisner, a Lutheran minister, and the Rev. William Jablonske, a Catholic priest, the original clergy who formed The Ministry in the early 1970s, Larson said.

After dinner, a procession will be held from the current home of The Ministry to the new building, Larson said, with the intent to “bless the new site.”

“We still have a great deal of remodeling work left at the new site, but we hope to move in by August,” Larson said. “This event will be our final ecumenical activity at the Blue House.”

Much of the remodeling is being handled by volunteers from the Pounding Fathers, a group of mostly retired UW-Stout faculty and staff.

Christine Warloski, director of the UW-Stout Catholic Campus Ministry, Newman Community, said a family sold the Blue House to the Roman Catholic Diocese of La Crosse in 1960 for $1. It served solely as the Newman Center until The Ministry was incorporated by ELCA Lutheran Church and the Diocese of La Crosse in 1970. The diocese then sold the house to The Ministry, which is operated by a board of directors drawn from lay members of the two churches.

The Blue House, across the street from Fleming Hall, will be sold at a later date to pay for the purchase and remodeling of The Ministry’s new home, Larson said.

More information on the two ministries is available at http://uwstout.orgsync.com/org/lutherancampusministry11439 and http://www.stoutnewman.com.

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