It started out as a the “State Institution for the Feebleminded”. We can barely imagine a name like that in our politically correct day and age. Then it became The Grafton State School for the Mentally Handicapped and after awhile it was just called the Grafton State School. For awhile we called it the “State Developmental Center” and now we call it the “Life Skills and Transition Center”. That has a nicer ring to it.
In the picture above you can see the All Faith Chapel which was a gift from the people of North Dakota and dedicated in the 1970’s.
It didn’t take long before Zion English Lutheran in Grafton began an intentional visitation ministry to the Center not long after being established as a congregation. We know that Rev. Al Thiem was doing work there in 1951 and the work continued until the District in Convention decided as a churchly function that it should be a ministry supported by the entire District.
So what is in a name? Imagine if we said that this ministry was the ministry of Zion Church in Grafton. That is wonderful and pleasing to God. But when we say that it is a ministry of the District that means that 90 some congregations take it as “their” ministry too. That has a nicer ring to it.