Redeemer’s Rich Heritage

History of Redeemer The First Twenty Five Years: 1946 – 1971

In 1946, a huge step of faith was taken by Rev. Raymond A. Chapman to begin a home where elderly and medically challenged adults could be cared for in a setting which would also provide for their spiritual needs. Chapman’s desire was to make available a place where adults could experience “the finest care in the happiest physical and spiritual surroundings.”

Rev. Chapman and his wife Hope, committed their lives to building a home for the elderly who were in need of special love and care. Their vision was born in the belief that God would provide every need as they launched forward for the glory of God. Today, 65 years later, Redeemer Health & Rehab stands as a tribute to God, and as a reality in this community of their unwavering vision.

A Minnesota State Charter was issued to the Alliance Residence to operate as a non-profit charitable organization purely in the public interest. It was on October 1, 1946 that the first guest came to live at the new residence located at 3101 Aldrich Avenue South. The Home had a capacity of 18 and was served by three employees. Rev. Chapman was not only the founder of the Alliance Residence, but its first administrator.

From the very beginning it was the policy of the Home to welcome people of all races and creeds in Minneapolis. Now the large task of carrying on a ministry to senior adults was on his shoulders. There were no subsidies, no help financially from any church, and begging was not part of the nature of the Chapmans or the ministry which they began. The residents made voluntary contributions and an equitable admission fee was required.

Concern for Ministry
With all the details put into place for the ongoing ministry of the Home, progress was slow but steady and sure, because it was based on the faithfulness of God. God’s hand of blessing was evident as Rev. Chapman, following the leading of the Lord, continued to seek funding for the home, care for those residents who came to live at the home, and meet all the demands of the ever-increasing state standards for retirement living.

In writing about the first 25 years of ministry of the home, Rev. Chapman notes the following: “We have found that certain simple considerations are essential to promote the right spirit and happiness of the aged.

  1. Love and consideration from the management
  2. Companionship with amiable friends
  3. Well-furnished, clean, comfortable and attractive surroundings
  4. The best of well-cooked food with variety 5.
  5. The trained nurses and aides with kindly ways
  6. Activities which appeal to the guests
  7. Spiritual help – chapel and personnel”

The properties of the home were expanded in 1951 with the addition of Residence #2 located at 3101 Lyndale Avenue South. The new facility contained 20 apartment units with space for about 50 “guests” (residents) as they were called in those days. In 1955, a Staff House was obtained across the street at 3100 Lyndale Avenue South. This helped to retain top quality staff and provided some great benefits for the workers including a cure for absenteeism and literally no problems to get to and from work. In 1961 another building addition increased capacity of the Residence to 103 beds.

Concerning the early years of the ministry of Redeemer, Rev. Chapman, in an article entitled In Retrospect and Prospect, wrote: “I have proven it my lifetime and particularly in this gracious experience in founding and administering the Alliance Residence that if a man will undertake a task under Divine impetus, that God, through the exercise of faith and a lot of hard work, will bring success. And something else in this Christian philosophy is true – only what you do to help others really counts. So many have helped to bring the Alliance Residence to its present posture that we have not given credit by name to anyone and can only add that we are exceedingly grateful to all who have had so significant a part. It is great to know that the interest and good will of so many have been translated into the happiness and welfare of the hundreds who have shared their golden years in the Alliance Residence (now called Redeemer Heath and Rehab).”

The Second Twenty Five Years: 1971-1996

In 1975, the Residence was identified as one of three quality nursing homes nationwide to be written up in Time Magazine. Daphne Krause, who served as the Minneapolis Age and Opportunity founder and chairperson, referred the Home to Time. The cover story article about quality nursing home care was entitled, “New Outlook for the Aged.” The following excerpt comes from the June 2, 1975 issue:

“Associated with the Christian Missionary Alliance, the Alliance Residence in Minneapolis is a nondescript three-story building minus any lush lobby or manicured grounds. But what it lacks in gilding, it more than makes up in concern for its patients. Alliance’s 100 occupants are in the care of seven nurses and 25 nurse’s aides, who work in three shifts so they will be staffed around the clock. Most of Alliance’s patients are not only healthy but also happy. Elvira Axeen, 82, still goes out every Wednesday to make coffee for her Bible group. ‘I’m going to be busy as long as I can do it,’ says she. So are others. ‘As long as you can complain and be up and around, you’re young,’ says 91 year old Mrs. Ellen Wicklander, as she stitches a quilt.”

Further Expansion and New Name
Because of the increased demand for additional quality care, yet another building addition was erected in 1976. This addition provided 63 more beds for a total of 163. At the same time the new building addition was completed, Alliance Residence also changed its name to Redeemer Residence. This change was designed to more clearly focus on the non-denominational perspective of the home. In 1978 Redeemer became Medicare certified so additional financial assistance could be made available to incoming residents.

Redeemer has been a leader in providing quality health care for the elderly in a number of areas. It was one of the first homes whose rate structure for self-paying residents was identical to that of the Welfare Board residents. This was at a time when most homes had a high rate for self paying guests. It was also one of the first smoke free long term care facilities and led the way in the nursing home industry with this policy. Further, it was also one of the first facilities in the Twin Cities to have a Music Therapy program with a full-time music therapist in 1976.

Elim Care
As the ministry of Redeemer progressed, there came a desire by the Board of Directors to become part of a larger family of ministry to senior adults. As a result, the leaders of the home began to look at Elim Care Ministries, Inc. of Eden Prairie, Minnesota. Elim Care is associated with the North Central District of the Evangelical Free Church of America and has been a leader in quality senior adult care for 70 years. Eventually, through the generosity of the Board of Directors of Redeemer Residence, Redeemer became part of the ministry of Elim Care, Inc. It came under the management of Elim Care in 1991 and under the umbrella ownership of the organization in 1993. Both organizations have a history of caring for senior adults. The staff of Redeemer, along with the staff of all the other Elim homes, function under the motto, “Serving in the Spirit of Christ’s Love.”

In 1995, the original Lyndale building was razed and a new addition was erected to the east of the remaining additions. The main entrance of the facility was changed from the 3111 Lyndale Avenue South address to 625 West 31st Street. Two small parking lots were added to the front of the new addition along with a canopy drive-through. The present facility has 129 beds and a staff of 190 workers including nursing, dietary, environmental services, social services, maintenance, activities, in-service, volunteer ministry, business office, and chaplaincy. The new addition and newly remodeled facility includes bright, cheery dining rooms, a coffee shop, lounges, a chapel, and therapy clinics. The facility has a “home-like” atmosphere that gives residents and visitors the feeling of a non-institutional setting providing warmth and charm.

Several people have ably served as administrators of Redeemer the over years. These leaders have included:

Rev. Bean – 1968-1969
Fred Strandberg 1969-1986
Bill Brown – 1986-1993
Elim Temporaries 1993-1994
Julie Niemann 1994-2001
Steve Fritzke 2001-2004
Mary Ann Hamer 2005-2008
Mary Hafner 2009-2011
Dan Colgan 2012 – present