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Fall 2017 / ISSUE 108

A LUTHERAN CHURCH EXTENSION FUND PUBLICATION

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THE REFORMATION EXPLAINED IN PLAIN LANGUAGE THE BOLD PLAN TO IMPROVE REFUGEES’ LIVING CONDITIONS HEALTH SAVINGS ACCOUNT: 6 BENEFITS THAT MIGHT SURPRISE YOU

WHY BEING LUTHERAN STILL MATTERS

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FROM THE CEO DEAR LCEF FRIENDS AND FAMILY, It’s 2017, 500 years after the start of the Reformation. All across our country and throughout the world people are preparing for a tremendous celebration. One way we are commemorating this occasion is by dedicating our magazine to the event. Inside this issue you’ll find a simple explanation of the Protestant Reformation, one you can easily share with your unchurched neighbors. You’ll learn about The Wittenberg Project, the Old Latin School and the role this renovated building is playing in strengthening the faith of Lutherans. And for those of us who don’t have any idea of how to celebrate the Reformation, we’ve put together an interesting list of options to help you. In spite of all this excitement, have you ever wondered what it would be like if Martin Luther had never nailed his 95 Theses to the door of Castle Church? If he never took a stand to defend the clear articulation of the true Gospel he uncovered? Can you imagine how different our world would be? For one thing, we would not have the experience of reading and studying the Bible that we enjoy today. Luther wanted every person to have access to the Word of God. That’s why he translated the Bible into the common language of the people. The Word of God is to be read, taught and proclaimed to all—not kept hidden by a few. Thank God that we live on this side of the Reformation! Let me also express that while the world, the devil and the flesh will try to scorn our convictions, break our spirits and declare our doom, I want to encourage you 2

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that it is a good time to be a Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) Lutheran. We can hold our heads high because we, by God’s grace, have kept to the simple and clear Christian faith taught in the Bible—even after half a millennium. People like Lori Trinche make me proud to be an LCMS Lutheran. Trinche, who is not a lifelong Lutheran, has been so captivated and changed by the Gospel she’s discovered in our creeds, catechisms and confessions, I believe her zeal alone could carry our denomination into the future. Read her compelling story on page 20. The same goes for Chris Shearman and Messiah Lutheran, St. Louis. Their bold plan to improve the lives of the less fortunate through affordable housing has not only become a reality, but also a fantastic success. Their story unfolds on page five. As the new president and CEO of LCEF I am in awe of the blessing it is to work alongside and support those who are making an eternal difference in their communities. I pray that God would keep us united by a living faith through the power of His Holy Spirit and continue to bless this great work of church extension. Sincerely,

Rev. Bart Day President and CEO


Cover Photo: The north portal of Castle Church where Luther nailed his 95 Theses. In 1858, public officials installed bronze doors that bear the Latin text of the 95 Theses. A fire destroyed the original doors in 1760.

Fall 2017 / ISSUE 108

A close up of the third and fourth floors of the Old Latin School in Wittenberg, Germany.

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7 APPROVED, THE HOME YOU WANT

10 TINY CHURCH THAT NEVER GAVE UP

18 HOW TO CELEBRATE REFORMATION 500

THE WITTENBERG PROJECT: AN IN-DEPTH LOOK

Ken and Rachel Bomberger were not the kind of mortgage prospects a loan officer finds impressive.

New Life Church Lutheran was in disarray. A decade of hard times wore out the church, the congregation and community.

Bake a Luther cake. Shave your head like a monk. Throw a costume party. Whatever you do, make the Reformer proud.

A Lutheran presence in the cradle of the Reformation? The opportunity arrived with the purchase of a decrepit, abandoned four-story building.

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The Reformation Explained in Plain Language

A view of the Great Tower of Castle Church from Coswiger Straße.

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hat is it about an obscure 16th century Augustinian monk in a small German town that deserves international attention, celebration and recognition? After all, the Roman Catholic Church called Dr. Martin Luther a “wild boar in the church’s vineyard.” The town of Wittenberg, on the other hand, looks more favorably upon the monk. Wittenberg is where Luther nailed his famous 95 Theses, setting in motion cataclysmic religious, political, cultural and social changes across Europe. The town is preparing for October 31, 2017, marking the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. Luther is at the center of it all. Walk into any shop and you can buy Luther noodles, Luther beer and a Luther Playmobile. You can even bake a Luther cake (see page 18 for the recipe). As essential as Luther is, the Reformation actually begins with another man, Albert of Brandenburg. Albert wanted the prestige and power that went along with being a bishop—but he was too young. Being a man of wealth, he met with Pope Leo X, and the two struck a deal. If he paid the pope 10,000 ducats, Albert could have not one, but three bishoprics. Albert had the money, but not in cash. So, he hired John Tetzel, a Roman Catholic friar and preacher, to raise the funds by selling indulgences. An indulgence was a promise that the pope could declare you forgiven of your sins so your time in Purgatory was either cut short or eliminated (if you paid enough). 4

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Luther saw grave problems with this practice. The first of the 95 Theses stated, “The life of the Christian is one of repentance.” The key here is that Luther did not base his argument on the Vulgate, which was the Latin version of the Bible the Catholics used. Instead, he worked from a version of the New Testament written in Greek, the original language. This is important. Luther was saying that the Roman Catholic Church had gotten it wrong all those centuries. The Vulgate translated the phrase “do penance,” thus laying upon man the burden of saving his soul from hell. This unnecessarily tormented man. Luther, through the 95 Theses, and then subsequent books, pamphlets and sermons, pointed out that the Bible actually taught that no one could ever earn God’s forgiveness—whether through good works or purchase of an indulgence. Forgiveness was found in Christ’s finished work on the cross alone, a gift we received through faith alone by God’s grace alone as taught in the Scriptures alone. In truth, the real hero of the Reformation was not Luther, but the Word of God. While the matter of our justification was the ultimate question, how one defended their answer was based on who or what they viewed as an authority. Was it the popes of Rome? The early church fathers? Tradition? The Bible? Or a combination of all the above? Luther and the Reformers argued it was the Bible alone—sola scriptura. Why? Because the popes, the early church fathers and tradition were all inconsistent and prone to error. “The church,” Luther said, “does not make the Word, but it is made by the Word.” If it was true that the Bible was the final judge of faith and doctrine, then Luther reasoned that everyone—not just clergy—had the right to read and study it. This meant the Bible, all sermons and all hymns should be clear, straightforward and understandable. Luther went on to translate the Bible into the plain language of his people, which was German. Eventually, the beliefs responsible for the uniquely Lutheran faith, firmly rooted in Scripture, were collected and organized in a series of easy-to-read confessions. The most important confession was The Augsburg Confession (written by Phillip Melanchthon). In fact, 1530, the year the Augsburg Confession was presented to the Holy Roman Emperor, should be just as important to Lutherans as Reformation Day. It was the day, in plain language, that Lutherans declared what they believe, teach and confess. And to this day, it is still what we believe, teach and confess.


The Bold Plan to Improve Refugees’ Living Conditions The goal was to renovate 12 historic buildings throughout Tower Grove East and Fox Park into 47 affordable apartments.

Colorful tulips bloom in front of Messiah Lutheran Church, St. Louis.

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unday mornings at Messiah Lutheran in the Tower Grove neighborhood of South City, St. Louis, bring a special blend of different people. No surprise since Tower Grove is a racially-diverse, mixed-income neighborhood of St. Louis. On any given day, you’ll find middle-class families hanging out at Tower Grove Park; a homeless person roaming down Grand Avenue; refugees working a variety of jobs; and some of the most sought-after and expensive homes just two blocks down from the church. Messiah has been part of this neighborhood for over 100 years—through its birth, decline and recent revival. Reaching out to the community has always been in the DNA of the church. For decades, under the leadership of visionary pastors, Messiah was thought of as a “church for all the nations.” It is the Sunday service where the congregation (about 120) found an opportunity to build relationships. “Since a lot of people walk to church,” president of the congregation Chris Shearman said, “this is all about neighbors sharing life together.” It was natural that through these relationships the church learned of the poor living conditions of many of their church members. “And that’s when we started talking about what could be done to change these circumstances,” Shearman said.

CLEAN HOMES FOR REFUGEES The answer was East Fox Homes. East Fox Homes is a Tower Grove East and Fox Park residential apartment project Messiah Lutheran launched—with the help of a local non-profit developer, general contractor EM Harris Construction Rise, architect Urban Werks and predevelopment financing by Lutheran Church Extension Fund (LCEF). The goal was to renovate 12 historic buildings throughout Tower Grove East and Fox Park into 47 affordable apartments. In 2014, the Missouri Housing Development Commission approved Messiah’s plan. According to their website, “This approval provides tax credits allowing Messiah to renovate a dozen boarded up and abandoned properties in our neighborhood into fully rehabbed historic properties.” The buildings are in such bad repair that they are cheap to buy, but because they have to meet historic site standards they can often be cost-prohibitive in rehabbing. The tax credit eases that burden. The idea for East Fox Homes began when a handful of Nepalese refugees began attending Messiah. In 2008, the first wave of these refugees began arriving in the United States as part of what was to become the world’s largest resettlement efforts. St. Louis is now home to more than 1,000 Nepalese refugees. South City attracts FALL 2017 | INTEREST TIME

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many refugees since the International Institute, which places refugees, is located not far from the church. South City also proves to be a good market for jobs. Messiah launched the East Fox Homes project because they wanted to meet this need and help these families fully integrate into the neighborhood. They also wanted to prepare for even more refugee families coming to St. Louis in the near future. “All these buildings,” Shearman said, “are a burden on this community, but we are going to turn them into

2833 Magnolia

In the evening Schearman imagines different groups and members of the neighborhood using the space to meet for a variety of reasons. In the summer, there will be a lunch program for children who might not get lunch since schools would normally provide that meal. They are also renovating the second floor into oneand-two bedroom apartments, also part of East Fox Homes. “What’s really neat about these apartments,” Shearman said, “is that families will have a gorgeous view of St. Francis de Sales Oratory from their

2128 Oregon

2801 Magnolia

assets.” More importantly, Messiah is providing safe, windows,” an unheard-of perk for the ideal resident. clean living spaces—free of lead paint and other bad The rent is restricted so the housing cost is always conditions these refugees usually have to put up with. about a third or less of a resident’s living expenses. And they will be in safer parts of town, too. There is a clear demand for these homes. Ten of the “People park in Tower Grove or walk to church or 12 buildings are occupied, with a wait list to get into park on the street,” Shearman said. He sees this diversity the others. More units are becoming available as 2833 as an opportunity for growth and empathy. “It’s an Magnolia was completed at the end of September. The opportunity to grow because of all the different backgrounds and experiences. This also lends to some empathy to the “All these buildings,” Shearman said, “are a burden plight of the refugees and immigrants. We on this community, but we are going to turn them into are sharing life and sharing experiences.”

THE GORGEOUS VIEW

assets. More importantly, Messiah is providing safe, clean living spaces—free of lead paint and other bad conditions these refugees usually have to put up with.”

One of the buildings they are renovating into a community center is thought to have been built around the 1880s. Nobody really knows—not even the city. It’s in really bad shape. But Shearman doesn’t mind. He sees the potential. While plans are still coming together for the programming in the Messiah Community Center, Shearman said, “the community center will be a place where people will feel welcome to come and hang out. There will be Chrome notebooks to give the children a fun way to learn math.”

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last building, 2801 Magnolia, will be complete in early November at the latest. “Without LCEF,” Shearman said, “we couldn’t have covered the upfront costs like acquisition of the property; fees involving architects, legal and design; and initial application for tax credits.” As if anticipating the question, Shearman went on to explain why the church was doing this: “This is about providing safe, affordable housing for low-income families.” Then he paused. “And that’s because we are compelled by Christ’s love.”


FIRST-TIME HOMEBUYERS FIND UNDERSTANDING LENDER

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ack in 2008, Rev. Kenneth (Ken) and Rachel Bomberger were not the kind of mortgage prospects a loan officer would find impressive. Ken had just graduated from Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Ind., and was headed to Walker, Mich., to accept the call to pastor Mount Olive Lutheran Church. He had several student loans and very little substantative work experience. As a stayat-home mother with two children under three years of age, Rachel was in no position to contribute to the family’s finances. Any way you looked at the numbers, lenders would likely not regard Ken and Rachel as ideal borrowers. Sure, they might prove to be hard-working and responsible, (as indeed they are), but anybody who wanted to lend to them would need to take this on faith, not hard evidence. This didn’t stop them from looking for a home. They wanted to buy a home near the church, but found the search a daunting prospect since the area was relatively affluent. One thing working in their favor, however, was the fact that this was 2008—after the housing bubble burst and when the Great Recession was in full swing. “Plenty of foreclosed homes were on the market at reasonable prices,” Rachel said, “so long as we weren’t picky about the condition of the home or afraid of a little elbow grease.”

AN INSTITUTION YOU CAN TRUST As you can imagine, many of the homes they looked at were in awful shape: broken windows, missing siding, water damage, ancient fuse boxes, dodgy wiring, badly leaning floors and nonconforming bedrooms. But when they saw the house they ended up buying, the couple knew right away it would be the one. “It needed work,” Rachel said, “but wasn’t unlivable. Lots of positives.” Underneath the disgusting carpet were hardwood floors just waiting to be refinished.

Rev. Ken and Rachel Bomberger probably goofing around to “Heart and Soul.”

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The house was within walking distance to the church, and the backyard was big like a park with room to play and garden. The Bombergers made an offer. Being first-time homebuyers, the couple was scared of the complicated and puzzling process applying for a mortgage could be. What added to their anxiety was the less-than-stellar ethical reputation big banks and mortgage lenders had acquired at the height of the sub-prime mortgage crisis. “Too many of them had taken advantage of inexperienced homebuyers—and ruined lives in the process,” Rachel said. “We wanted to work with an institution that we could trust.” That institution happened to be Lutheran Church Extension Fund (LCEF). The Bombergers, both lifelong Lutherans, were aware of LCEF through their home churches. It was at the seminary where they discovered the favorable nature of the residential loan program for Rostered Church Workers (RCW).

AVOIDING THIS HARDSHIP “If LCEF had not been there for us, we would have tried other mortgage companies, but I don’t know if we would have qualified,” Rachel said. The alternative

Rev. Ken and Rachel Bomberger and their four children.

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for them would have been living in an overpriced apartment for a year or more, with most of their things in storage. In the meantime, Ken would have had to build up a work history as the couple scrimped for a higher down payment.

“If not for LCEF, we would have tried other mortgage companies, but I don’t know if we would have qualified.” “With two small children at the time,” Rachel said, “camping out for a year or more in temporary housing would definitely have been a hardship.” Fortunately, the home buying experience was actually easier than they anticipated. “Our loan processor was communicative, kind and helpful,” Ken said. In their free time, the family planted and tended a vegetable garden in their backyard; read and made music together in the cozy living room; hiked and enjoyed the great outdoors on nearby trails; and played with their children. They both expressed how they like that the money they saved and interest they paid “goes not to fatten the wallet of a Wall Street tycoon but to help meet the material needs of Lutheran churches and schools around the country.” “We are part of the church, so we want to support the church with our banking choices,” Rachel said. Did you know our Rostered Church Worker Residential Loan Program doesn’t require private mortgage insurance? Visit lcef.org or call 800-843-5233 to learn more.


Health Savings Account: 6 Benefits That Might Surprise You

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ealth Savings Accounts (HSA) are the crown jewel of tax-advantaged products. The reason is the so-called triple tax benefit. Those benefits include putting money in your HSA without being taxed; earning interest on those contributions without being taxed; and taking qualified distributions without being taxed. Before you can contribute to an HSA, however, you must meet four conditions. One, you must be covered under an HSA-eligible high deductible health plan; two, you cannot be covered by another health plan; three, you cannot be enrolled in Medicare; and four, you cannot be eligible to be claimed as a dependent on another person’s tax return.

LET’S LOOK AT SIX MORE BENEFITS. 1. Lower your current-year tax liability If it is part of your payroll deductions, the money you put into an HSA is pre-tax. In one sense, an HSA is just like a 401(k), but better. With a 401(k) you can make pre-tax contributions, but have to pay income taxes on withdrawals. 2. Receive employer contributions to your HSA It’s not uncommon for employers to contribute to your HSA. Your employer may contribute in one lump sum or they may contribute once a week or every other pay period. Either way, this is free money.

5. Carry balances over from year to year Unlike Flexible Spending Accounts, where you have to spend all of the money in your account before the end of the year, HSAs allow you to roll over any surplus into the next year. This surplus can accumulate substantially over time. 6. Enjoy an additional source of taxable retirement income In a sense, an HSA becomes another vehicle to save for retirement. At 65, you are still subject to ordinary income tax when you spend your HSA money on non-qualified medical expenses. However, you won’t incur the 20% IRS penalty tax. To learn more about HSAs, including eligibility requirements and contribution limits, see Publication 969 by the IRS. Consult with your tax advisor regarding the applicability of this information to your own situation.

Did you know LCEF offers Health Savings Accounts? Visit lcef.org/health-savings-account or call 800-843-5233 to learn more.

3. Use the funds for qualified medical expenses without penalty Anytime you take money out of your HSA for a qualified medical expense, you will not be taxed on the distribution or penalized. HSA distributions not used for qualified medical expenses are subject to ordinary income tax and, if taken before age 65, a 20% IRS penalty (unless the distribution is because of death or disability). 4. Pay qualified medical expenses with a debit card Some HSAs offer debit cards. Others offer checks only. With LCEF, you can conveniently pay for qualified medical expenses with either a debit card or check. This allows you to keep track of your expenses without the hassle of turning in receipts.

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THE TINY CHURCH THAT NEVER GAVE UP Prior to the turn of the century, New Life Church Lutheran in Hugo, Minn., was in disarray. A decade of hard times had worn out the church, the congregation and the community. In 2003, the Minnesota South District installed retired pastor Rev. John Schildwachter to help rebuild the church.

Inside the addition of New Life Church during the construction, circa winter 2014.

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childwachter, who volunteered to forgo his salary, agreed to commit five years to helping the church, but a few conditions had to be met. First, the congregation had to listen to him and, second, all of their contributions beyond the operating funds had to go to paying down the mortgage. This small church, founded in 1975 as a mission plant and initially worshipping at the local elementary school, was determined to get through this trial intact. The congregation agreed to Schildwachter’s conditions. Since difficult years had driven off a number of congregants, one of Schildwachter’s first tasks was to call all those who quit going to church or left to go somewhere else. When Schildwachter started, New Life only had 30 members. Within a year, however, through the Lord’s grace and Schildwachter’s efforts, the membership rose to 100. Two of the new members benefiting from this “new life” were Wayne and Susan Gartland.

THE FRIENDLIEST CONGREGATION “I forget which, but it was either me or my wife who was the 100th member at New Life,” Gartland said. “When we moved to the area we visited four other LCMS churches, but decided New Life was where we wanted to make our church home.” Gartland admitted his decision was influenced by the fact that New Life was part of the LCMS Minnesota South District—a 10

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district he’d been part of for years and wanted to stay connected. However, he credits the “welcoming spirit of the church” as the biggest reason why they chose New Life. Rev. Tim Heinecke, who was installed as New Life’s pastor in 2016, agreed. “Most friendly congregation I’ve ever encountered. Receptive to visitors, going up and meeting people they’ve never met before.” Heinecke also noted that New Life members were hungry for the Word. “Bible study attendance is high. They want to be in the Word, which equips them to be friendly and encourage others.”

OUTGROWING THE CHURCH After the mortgage was paid off, the church borrowed $80,000 to clean up and make some badly needed updates. They had the front of the altar rehabbed, the sanctuary re-carpeted, the sanctuary chairs re-upholstered and the lighting upgraded. The outdoor sign was spruced up, too. As Schildwachter continued to shepherd the church and the congregation continued to open their arms to those who walked through the doors, the church started growing. In 2007, Schildwachter completed his five-year commitment and stepped down. Rev. Dr. Peter Nafzger from the seminary was called in and maintained the positive direction his predecessor had established for New Life. All this growth, however, was causing some


discomfort. “By 2014,” Gartland said, “we simply outgrew the church.” The desire to build had been with the congregation since 2010. “But we never felt a really strong need to build,” he said. “It was when we were holding confirmation classes in the narthex that we realized our time had come.” There is no doubt that this congregation stepped out in faith to expand. They only had 150 members at this time, so coming up with enough money for a down payment was a stretch, not to mention taking out a loan to build. Again, this was a determined congregation who trusted God to do the right thing. “There was a pretty strong consensus in order to keep growing and serving the community,” Heinecke said, “that this was what needed to be done.” The goal was to borrow enough money to do the first of four phases, but as “we got closer to the deadline, the congregation voted to do all four steps at once,” Gartland said. “This really surprised the building committee, which was trying to keep costs down.” In less than four months, over $250,000 had been raised. “That really surprised us, too,” Gartland said. Jokingly he added, “To this day I don’t know where all the money came from.”

INVITING THE COMMUNITY IN Through Lutheran Church Extension Fund (LCEF), New Life ended up with a bridge and a construction loan, borrowing close to $700,000. In all, the congregation put in better than $500,000 in cash into the project. But it was worth it.

They added a large addition north of the original structure, nearly doubling the size of the building. This allowed them to have a large fellowship area; triple the size of the kitchen; add two classrooms—“large classrooms designed to be classrooms,” Gartland emphasized—build a new office for the pastor, an office for the secretary, a small room to store supplies and two new handicapped restrooms, while remodeling the existing ones. The old kitchen became a Sunday school classroom with a sink and bathroom. The pastor’s old office was turned into a family room and a space was created as a family gathering area for funerals.

“Without LCEF,” Gartland said, “it wouldn’t have happened. We would have had waited longer, which would have hurt our ministry.” One immediate benefit the church enjoyed was generated by all the new meeting rooms: this allowed more than one committee or group to meet each night. More importantly, the multiple meeting rooms meant New Life had more opportunities to invite the community into the church. For example, a Narcotics Anonymous group is meeting on Tuesdays while a Girl Scout troop meets on another evening. “This was one of the things we designed the building for,” Gartland said. “And if it wasn’t for LCEF, I doubt we would have been able to go ahead.” The church looked at borrowing through a standard bank. The numbers didn’t work. In fact, one of their former members approached the building committee with an offer, but the interest rate was too high. In addition, they couldn’t borrow more than $400,000 in total. “Without LCEF,” Gartland said, “it wouldn’t have happened. We would have had waited longer, which would have hurt our ministry.” The story of New Life is an exciting one. It’s exactly the kind of story that LCEF likes to be a part of. It’s also the kind of story that demonstrates what can be done for the Church through the investments of our faithful partners. Thank you! We invite you to come alongside us as we pray for God’s favor to be upon pastor Heinecke, the New Life congregation and the city of Hugo, Minn.

Rev. Dr. Dean W. Nadasdy, president of the Minnesota South District, at the dedication service for New Life’s addition.

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hat we live in a consumer culture is an understatement. We have all the choices in the world. We are mobile and aware of what is going on—not just in the town down the highway—but in Houston, Lisbon, Caracas or Hanoi anytime of the day. It doesn’t matter if we live in Portland or Druid Hills, Ky. We can also travel anywhere, work anywhere, wear, eat, watch or listen to anything we want. While most of these things are prohibited to us if we don’t have the money, it, too, is within reach through an endless array of credit and loan options. It’s a world where nothing is good enough the way it is, and the pressure is always on to keep moving and performing and accumulating. On the one hand, we are denied nothing. On the other hand, we are rootless and restless, never satisfied. Our options may be a mile wide, but their ability to satisfy is an inch deep. This leeches into our families. What was once a long, stable line of heritage and unity and strength and comfort is now a shallow, temporary connection to the past. We rarely stay connected with our parents, let alone aunts, uncles, grandparents, traditions or anything of substance and objectivity.

“Lutherans bring a depth and stability and historical integrity that no other Protestant church can bring to match.” In the midst of this lackluster, loose existence there is a deep desire for something beyond ourselves. A cause or dream or person or spirituality. In that realm, again, our choices are endless. In this climate, Lutherans must ask themselves these questions: What does the oldest Protestant tradition bring to the table other faith traditions—particularly contemporary versions—can’t? Why should anyone choose to join or stay in a church tradition many view as stuffy, behind-the-times and boring? Those are the questions we are going to tackle.

WHY IS THIS RELEVANT? A monumental celebration like the 500th anniversary of the Reformation is a cause for serious reflection. Here at Lutheran Church Extension Fund (LCEF), we take our historical roots seriously. We mean it when we say we want to “ensure the funds and services 12

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Why Being Lutheran are available now and in the future” for the Church, as stated in our mission statement. Some will ask why can’t we all just love Jesus? “We can,” says Rev. Dr. Hans Trinklein, career missionary in Seoul and professor at Luther Theological University, “but which Jesus?” We all know people who claim to be a Christian. Some may believe Jesus is the Son of God; others may not. But they’d all still say they were Christian. “How can you know that you are of one mind with a person,” Trinklein asks, “unless you know what they believe?” A denomination, he says, “or, more accurately, a confession, is intended to be a rallying point—a flag on a hill—so that people who are like-minded can gather together encouraging, and being encouraged by each other.” Deaconess Jeni Miller from Lutheran Church of the Ascension, Atlanta, Ga., added, “The word Christian doesn’t have the same meaning that it perhaps used to have, because so many other faith traditions have sprouted that have tried to rewrite the definition, even rewrite the Gospel, obscuring what it means to be a true Christian. If we want to be clear in what we believe, we have to also go after the purest, clearest form of the Gospel.” That clarity and concrete presentation of the Gospel is something people want to sink their teeth into. The overwhelming sentiment among Lutherans is that people need a place to stand that is solid and unchanging.

OUR BEST-KEPT SECRET “Our great confidence,” Dr. Rev. Kirk Clayton, pastor of Zion Lutheran Church in Mascoutah, Ill., said, “is that the love and grace of our Savior is the same yesterday, today and forever.” Clayton goes on to quote “Abide in Me,” the great hymn: “Change and decay in all around I see; O Thou who changest not, abide with me” (LSB 878). And this is the Lutheran’s strength. Where others see a weakness in a selfish, rigid and narrow view of Christianity, Lutherans find no shame


Still Matters

Lutheran theology leads us to lift our eyes from our own failings to find our hope in Christ alone. This position is the Lutherans’ best kept secret.

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or weakness. In fact, it is a point of pride. “The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) keeps Christ at the center, and draws this truth of God’s Word as the only source of doctrine. Lutheranism brings this narrowly focused Christocentric view, rooted firmly in God’s Word, to the table. Lutheran theology leads us to lift our eyes from our own failings to find our hope in Christ alone,” Clayton said. This position is the Lutherans’ best-kept secret. Because of our contemporary rootless nature, we are not tethered to any truth, but given the ability to invent our own truth. Lori Trinche, a member of Trinity Lutheran Church, Burr Ridge, Ill., said, “So many people have grown up without tradition. We have no roots, nothing to hold on, we almost make our own truth. Having that deep tradition, the confessions, they are so pure, so true. We must show how they are appropriate and germane to young people. We have such a great secret—let’s share it.” (You can read more of her compelling story on page 20.)

Families arrive for worship at Lamb of God Lutheran Church, housed in Ascension Lutheran Church, Landover Hills, Md.

THE GIFT OF COMMUNITY Another reason why it’s not enough to simply love Jesus is that we need community. We are designed to be social. “God calls His people together into local congregations so that we can see touch, hear, taste and feel that the Lord is good.” To drive his point home, Clayton shared a story of a pastor who visited a delinquent member. While sitting in front of a fire, without saying a word, the pastor demonstrated how

Rev. Shawn Kumm preaches in St. Francis Assisi Church at the DOXOLOGY Encore event in Springfield, Ill.

LCMS Director of Worship and Chaplain Rev. William Weedon balked at the suggestion that we are the oldest Protestant tradition this side of Saturn: “We’ve been around for a long time. And I’m not just talking about 500 years!” He went on to say, “To be a Lutheran Christian was to reject only that in the tradition which didn’t square with the Word of God, but to freely rejoice in the rest. That means Lutheran Christians hold to the ancient catholic faith.” Lutherans confess creeds Christians have been confessing for over a thousand years. Lutherans sing hymns Christians have been singing for over a thousand years. “Lutherans bring a depth and stability and historical integrity that no other Protestant church can bring to match.”

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an ember would go cold when it was removed from the flames, but burn brightly when it was returned. The delinquent member got the point and vowed to return to church. We cannot be solo. We cannot go alone. But community is not enough. This idea of community was something 26-year-old Brian Sreniawski of Buffalo, N.Y., kept returning to. “I don’t believe that people pick a denomination, they pick a church because of the people, staff, leadership, programming and opportunities to be part of the community. When they move to a new town, they might try their old denomination first, but the individual church is what gets people to stick around.” Sreniawski grew up as a Lutheran and attended Lutheran schools from pre-K to 12th grade. On his


mother’s side of the family is LCMS Lutheran since before his grandmother was born. LCMS blood, you might say, runs through Sreniawski’s veins. So, it would seem a natural fit that Sreniawski is the director of youth ministries at St. John’s Lutheran Church, Orchard Park, N.Y. However, he admits he picked the church because it felt like home. “It felt like a community I could belong to and gladly put effort into being a part of.” For Sreniawski, experience suggests there is no such thing as denominational loyalty. However, communities form around stated or unstated confessions and beliefs.

CONFESSION-CENTERED COMMUNITIES Confessions are a concrete, stable pier driven deep into the bedrock of our souls. Confessions keep people grounded. They keep congregations centered upon the truth. We have all seen how communities, corporations, colleges and churches can drift from their origins. Sometimes they thrive, other times they collapse.

denominations. “They come to Concordia Publishing House for classroom materials because we have a history of standing on God’s Word and not changing.” You don’t have to be a scholar to know that the meaning of the word Christian has drifted over the centuries. What began as a slur in the first century became a national designation under Constantine. Beneath Rome that designation morphed into an elite status one must earn. The Reformers like Luther challenged that definition and made the Christian faith popular and accessible among the masses. The notion flourished into the seventeenth century, only to be unmoored in the eighteenth until the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries the word Christian was obscured beyond recognition. Even the meaning of the word Lutheran is fuzzy. A Lutheran Christian is still too broad. The designation LCMS Lutheran Christian communicates a very precise image centered on a very precise declaration of who Jesus is.

“For me, that’s the only reason to be a Lutheran Christian: because we uphold and teach the simple truth of God’s Word, where the accent is clearly on Jesus as the Father’s Son and this world’s savior.” Even the best communities are flawed by their very nature of being made up of broken sinners. “That life binds us together,” Weedon said, “with sisters and brothers in Christ across the ages. To be a Christian is to rejoice in that unity across time and yet to always submit to correction from the Word of God, from the Bible. To be a Lutheran Christian confesses flat out that only God’s work in Christ saves us and that work does the job all by itself.” This precise claim to who we are is seconded by Miller. “The LCMS gives its people grounding when life feels ever-changing because Lutheran theology always points to the never-changing love of Jesus.” This point, says Rev. Timothy N. Heinecke, pastor of New Life Church in Hugo, Minn., is not lost on other

“For me,” Weedon said, “that’s the only reason to be a Lutheran Christian: because we uphold and teach the simple truth of God’s Word, where the accent is clearly on Jesus as the Father’s Son and this world’s savior.” In the end, being Lutheran—particularly LCMS Lutheran—does matter. Without the clarity of our teachings, our vision blurs and our paths wander. As we defend and uphold that long-standing truth, Trinche asks, “How can we teach the confessions, the faith, that it becomes welcoming to people outside of the cradle Lutheran faith?” That’s a good question, but the answer is simple: like John the Baptist, we point to Jesus and say, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world!” Nothing more. Nothing less. FALL 2017 | INTEREST TIME

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THE WITTENBERG PROJECT: AN IN-DEPTH LOOK AT WHAT IT MEANS TO BE LUTHERAN On the left, St. Mary’s Church. The Old Latin School is on the right.

THE CITY

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round A.D. 1180, Flemish colonists fleeing persecution and overcrowding in Flanders, settled in Eastern Germany along the River Elbe. Perhaps the wide and languid river proved a substantial source of fish while the land was fertile for harvesting and herding. For whatever reason they chose that particular spot, little could these farmers, traders, shepherds, weavers and merchants fathom the historic events that would occur in their humble village. In spite of the fame, Wittenberg is no Rome, Paris, London or even Berlin. The population hovers around 50,000 people; its youngsters move away to larger cities where education, jobs and entertainment are abundant. It’s a German town struggling to remain relevant. Sadly, more than 84% of the population in Wittenberg claims to be agnostic or atheist, which seems unfortunate given that 500 years ago God acted in an especially important way in the city. For quite some time it has been the hope of many throughout the LCMS community to plant a Lutheran presence in this famed city, including LCMS President Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison. He said, “The vision of establishing a distinctly Lutheran presence in the very cradle of the Reformation, in Wittenberg, Germany, in time for the 2017 celebration has been on my heart and mind for some time.”

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Why not? Wittenberg is the birthplace of Lutheranism. But how? That opportunity arrived in 2006 with the purchase of a decrepit and abandoned four-story building.

THE SCHOOL In 1564, the Old Latin School was constructed when Prince Elector August I ruled Saxony. Half of the construction cost came out of his treasury. It was built in the church yard of St. Mary’s (the “Mother Church of the Reformation”). Luther preached more sermons in St. Mary’s than any other church. The school is also close to the Castle Church, where he nailed the 95 Theses. This is the town where Luther spent his entire career as a reformer. For 250 years the Old Latin School was used to train young men for the university, with a specific focus on the Lutheran faith. Since then the building was used as a printing shop, factory and even a makeshift hospital during Napoleon’s occupation of the town in 1813. The second two floors were added in 1828, but by the 20th century, after decades of neglect, it was a forsaken structure. “It was a wreck. There was stuff all over. Old office furniture that had been left behind. We had a lot of rotten timbers that had to be replaced, all the windows, too,” said Rev. Michael Kumm, chairman of the International Lutheran Society of Wittenberg (ILSW).


THE PLAN That all changed in 2006 when the Central Illinois District of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) purchased the building for the price of back taxes plus one euro. Next, the relationship that had been developing between the LCMS, Germany’s Independent Evangelical-Lutheran Church (known as the SELK, abbreviated form of Selbständige EvangelishLutherische Kirche) and Concordia Publishing House coalesced into the ILSW, a German non-profit corporation focused on restoring the Old Latin School. The project was called “The Wittenberg Project.” Support for the project was overwhelming, including one anonymous donor who contributed a $1 million matching grant. In addition, a line of credit loan from Lutheran Church Extension Fund (LCEF) allowed for continued construction planning. “Without LCEF involvement, the final price tag for the project would have been much higher,” LCMS Mission Advancement & Mission Advocate Executive Director Mark Hofman said in a recent article by Reporter Online. He added that the line of credit also helped to pay renovation costs as contributions or pledges were secured. The line of credit loan is another example of how LCEF investments are helping build ministry throughout the LCMS.

THE PURPOSE

weeks or even longer. Its central location puts it in the highest pedestrian traffic areas. “Now if you can imagine an old, dilapidated, empty building sitting next to one of your town’s two most-visited attractions,” Lange said, “you can imagine the gratitude Wittenberg has that this is renovated and in use again!” In addition, Lange said the renovation has allowed them to connect with people who have a history with the school. “Countless women who worked in the building during the German Democratic Republic era when it was a children’s clothing factory have come in for the first time in decades, and looked around in amazement, recalling where their sewing station used to be and how it looked then.” “Our hope,” Lange said, “is that these are positive encounters not only with a piece of their town history, but with Christianity.” The Old Latin School is also an opportunity to help people learn what it means to be Lutheran by immersing oneself in Luther’s world. It’s an opportunity to experience the streets, buildings and rooms where critical events that turned Europe upside down happened. And it’s an opportunity to share the Gospel.

THE FUTURE With All Hallows’ Eve fast approaching on the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, Wittenberg will be flush with visitors. It’s an ideal time to have a distinctly Lutheran presence in a historic building like the Old Latin School. Now the next phase of The Wittenberg Project begins: taking the Good News of the Gospel to our unchurched neighbors, within the city limits and beyond. In fact, the ILSW hopes to plant a SELK congregation in Wittenberg one day. Take some time today—and in the days leading up to October 31—to pray. Pray for Lange, ILSW, the SELK and that the call to faith in Christ will be heard and heeded by thousands in and around Wittenberg. Visit oldlatinschool.org to learn more about tours, lodging and events at the Old Latin School.

The Old Latin School under construction in 2014.

In May 2015, after years of renovation work— such as a new roof, windows, stucco and paint on the outside; new subfloors, drywall, plaster, wires and plumbing on the inside—the Old Latin School was dedicated to God’s glory and the service of the Gospel. “There was an immense amount of support in every sense of the word,” said Kristin Lange, managing director of the International Lutheran Center and Old Latin School. “That this was purchased and renovated entirely with free will donations is almost inconceivable to many Germans.” The newly renovated Old Latin School features a chapel (with a sacristy); lecture hall; classrooms; a bookstore; housing for students, scholars, teachers, researchers and tourists; a small library; and two offices. Visitors can stay for three hours, three days, three

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10 Ways to Celebrate the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation October 31, 2017, is fast approaching. Do you have plans to celebrate this monumental event? If you don’t, here are 10 ideas.

1

READ THE BIBLE EVERY DAY. One of the greatest legacies we enjoy from the Reformation is the ability to read and study the Bible on our own. Let’s not take that privilege for granted. Commit to reading through the Bible in a year. Follow the reading schedule on pages 299-304 of the Lutheran Service Book.

2

TWEET THE 95 THESES. Starting in the early morning of Reformation Day, tweet all 95 Theses on Twitter throughout the day. Start with the last thesis and work your way backwards. That way, when you are done, people can read all 95 Theses from the top down.

3

MEMORIZE “A MIGHTY FORTRESS IS OUR GOD.” Hymns played an indispensable role in spreading the Gospel Luther had rediscovered and clarified. “Next to theology,” he said, “I give to music the greatest honor.” He alone wrote 42 hymns, his most famous being, “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.”

4

GET A TONSURE HAIRCUT. The tonsure is a haircut where you shave the crown of your head bald while leaving a ring of grown hair. This was a common style for monks like Luther.

5

HOST AN “ECHOES OF THE HAMMER” LISTENING PARTY. You can buy the vocal recording of this musical from Concordia Publishing House or stream it from Spotify. Enjoy with a nice mug of ale.

6

CEMENT A CHURCH DOOR IN YOUR FRONT YARD. Who says you have to fly to Wittenberg to nail your own 95 Theses to a church door? You can buy a used wood panel exterior door for around $35 to $75 and cement it in your front yard. You’ll be the talk of the town!

7

BAKE A LUTHER CAKE. Family-owned German cake mix company, Kathi, created this special cake mix in honor of the 500-year anniversary of the Reformation Day: Chocolate cake mix, with extra chocolate shavings, filled with cherries and covered in a cocoa glaze and confectionary sugar. A stencil in the shape of Martin Luther is included. Order this cake mix at thetasteofgermany.com (search “Kathi Luther Cake”).

8

BUILD A SIMPLE PRINTING PRESS. Johann Gutenberg’s invention of the printing press allowed Luther’s ideas to spread rapidly. In honor of his contribution to the Reformation, build a printing press out of wood and a caulk gun. For directions, search “homemade printing press” on YouTube. Choose the Makify1 video.

9

PRINT YOUR OWN VMDA T-SHIRT. Verbum Domini Manet in Aeternum (The Word of the Lord Endures Forever) was the Reformation logo. Use the press you built to print this logo on a t-shirt. Then wear it proudly on Reformation Day.

10

THROW A REFORMATION COSTUME PARTY. Dress like Luther, Melanchthon, Staupitz, Katrina, a peasant, Holy Roman Emperor Charles V or even John Tetzel.

Whatever you do this October 31—make Luther proud. 18

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LCEF Profile

Donna Cole

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ur goal is to introduce you to the funny, kind, generous, helpful and loyal people who roam our halls and answer your calls—the kind of people who made LCEF a 2017 Top Workplace in St. Louis!

A nd this month, once again, we

What’s your favorite LCEF memory? When I started working for LCEF I honestly thought I was working for a miniature Wall Street. LCEF had several investment promotions going on and the phones were so busy. I was in training, and once I passed my Series 63 I was listening to the Investment Representatives answering incoming calls and how knowledgeable they were. I thought, “Lord, what have I gotten myself into?”

What’s your favorite style of music? I love a variety of music. My all-time favorite would be praise and worship, Gospel, R&B, jazz and blues.

Where can we find you when you are not at work? Road trips.

What’s your favorite room of the house? My quiet area in my basement with my TV, music, patio door open with a nice fall breeze blowing and wrapped in my cozy throw laying on my sofa.

I THOUGHT, “LORD, WHAT HAVE I GOTTEN MYSELF INTO?”

don’t disappoint. What do you do at LCEF? I am an Information Representative. How long have you been at LCEF? I have worked for LCEF since September 12, 2005 and worked for the LCMS for 20 years.

What’s your favorite book? “When God Whispers Your Name.”

Favorite food? Italian and Chinese. Beverage of choice? I love water, but my soda choice would be an ice-cold Pepsi.

Favorite movie? “The Wizard of OZ.”

AUGUST FALL 2017 | INTEREST TIME

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LOVING THE GOSPEL WITHOUT APOLOGY

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easured by behavior alone, Lori Trinche acts like a life-long Lutheran. She taught Sunday school at Trinity Lutheran Church in Burr Ridge, Ill. She’s a student at Concordia University Chicago, River Forest, Ill., studying for the deaconess certification through their online program. She works for the LCMS Northern Illinois District as an office assistant and for Lutheran Church Extension Fund (LCEF) as a part-time assistant to District Vice President Vanda Toner. She is actively involved in her church’s music ministry and sits on the evangelism and stewardship boards. Her knowledge of the Lutheran faith is striking. “People compliment me all the time about how much I know about the Lutheran faith, and so they think I’ve been a Lutheran all my life.” She hasn’t been. “I was baptized as an adult.”

THE SPARK THAT STARTED IT ALL She’s not sure why, but Trinche’s family didn’t attend church when she was growing up. Her father was an apartment manager, so they always lived in apartments, never staying in one place for long. She didn’t have a permanent residence, or even a neighborhood she could call home, until she turned 12. That’s when her dad bought a home in Elk Grove Village, Ill. In her new neighborhood, Trinche quickly made friends. One of those friendships involved a girl who went to a church that encouraged their members to invite people to come to service on Sundays. Trinche accepted the invitation. “She and I eventually lost contact, but God keeps pursuing. She was the spark that started it all.”

UNBEARABLE GRIEF

Lori Trinche at the Old Schoolhouse Community Gardens in Hillside, Ill.

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Due to the loss of this influence, that spark was weakened as Trinche went off to college and then started working in the corporate world. Her focus was on IT business management, helping professionals


collaborate. She eventually found herself in finance and Waste Management went through a round of layoffs accounting at Waste Management, the disposal and and Trinche was one of the dozens who lost their jobs. recycling company. She excelled at what she did, but Not feeling motivated to look at the corporate world for all that came to a grinding halt when her husband got ill another position, she took a job as national administrator and died in 2007. missionary with Lutherans For Life in Iowa. She worked The grief nearly killed her. in Iowa, but came back to Chicago when her mother “I remember weeping uncontrollably in the was getting sick. Because she needed a church office to hospital. It was such a dark time. So work out of, she set up shop in Trinity depressing. At times wanting to take Lutheran Church, Lisle, Ill. “This was so captivating my life.” This is where she found out about Through Waste Management she LCEF. She stumbled across some to me,” she said. “Never found a grief counselor whom she literature in the employee break area heard anything like it worked with, but over time Trinche on the ConnectPLUS term note and before. I realized I was felt like something was missing. StewardAccount program. She also in need of truth, the “I wasn’t really connected to a church discovered that Trinity Lisle took out a Gospel. And I didn’t have and didn’t have a firm connection loan with LCEF to build a community to a church body.” She asked for a center. to apologize for that. In referral for Christian counselors. The “It’s wonderful work in the fact, I could glory in it.” counselor offered her two churches, community. It’s legendary with the one of them being Trinity. nannies. Mind you, this in a city where She called and left a message. the mayor said there would never be “I was honest,” she said. “I told them a worship service in that location.” everything.” To think that an organization such Not long after, she got a phone as LCEF supported a construction call from the interim pastor, Rev. Bill project like this when traditional Reinhart. (Reinhart was filling in at lenders wouldn’t dare take the risk, Trinity for Rev. Bob Geaschel, the Trinche’s impression of LCEF steadily senior pastor. Geaschel was in Iraq grew. She opened up a ConnectPLUS with the National Guard as an Army account. She followed that up with a chaplain.) Reinhart told Trinche that StewardAccount, and didn’t stop there. he, too, was a widower after being “The more I kept learning about married 50 years. He told her that LCEF the more I kept thinking what Trinity had a grief share program that a great company. LCEF does a he had started. Reinhart invited her to bunch of great things people should join. know about.” That’s when Trinche “He responded so well. The church responded so decided to become an LCEF advocate (volunteer LCEF well. I joined the program and eventually joined the representative). church.” When asked what lessons she’s learned from her life, she paused for a moment. HER NEXT CAREER MOVE “The partnership that brought me here was a At this time, she was doing a lot of business travel, secular relationship that the Lutherans thought it was and still grieving. Geaschel eventually returned from Iraq important enough to be part of the community. We and began teaching Trinche the Small Catechism, the have a huge mission field in our own nation. What type Lutheran faith and encouraged her to constantly study of partnerships can we create and then bathe in the the Bible. Gospel?” “This was so captivating to me,” she said. “Never Excellent question. heard anything like it before. I realized I was in need of truth, the Gospel. And I didn’t have to apologize for that. In fact, I could glory in it.” FALL 2017 | INTEREST TIME

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WORKING HARD FOR A CHURCH NOT EVEN THEIR OWN

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t’s been some 15 years since Bob and Carolyn Femovich visited churches where Carolyn’s parents served with LCEF’s Laborers For Christ (LFC). But Bob never forgot the dedication and camaraderie of Christians working together to strengthen ministry. “We saw firsthand what Laborers meant to congregations, not only financially but spiritually and to the life of the church,” Bob Femovich said, recalling the construction sites where Orlyn and Dorothy Schlie— longtime Laborers and Carolyn’s parents—worked for congregations that were building and expanding. When Concordia Lutheran Church in Macungie, Pa., decided to expand, Femovich wanted his own congregation to experience what he calls an “amazing ministry.”

their own church,” Femovich said of the Laborers team. “Some Laborers had 10 years on me, and they worked circles around me,” Femovich, 67, said with a laugh. “I worked two days a week and went home exhausted, and they worked five!”

PROFESSIONAL AND PATIENT People of all ages worked alongside Laborers: college students, spouses, pastors, retirees and even locals who aren’t even members of Concordia (at least not yet). Volunteers contributed more than 5,000 hours in a congregation of some 150 communicant members. Laborers “are so knowledgeable technically but also in dealing with people,” said Femovich. “I didn’t know how to do a lot of the jobs and used equipment I’d never used before. They were always so patient and helped me learn.” Contractors commented on Laborers’ work ethic. “They were surprised how professional they are and how few breaks they took – just for morning devotions and lunch,” said Larry Schultz, a Concordia building committee member.

SERVICE BEYOND CONSTRUCTION SITE

Preschoolers display their crafts at Concordia Lutheran Preschool.

INITIAL RELUCTANCE Although Bob and Carolyn knew all about LFC, they were the exception at their church. When Bob Femovich, chair of the Concordia building committee, proposed participating in the Laborers For Christ program to build a much needed 11,000 square foot addition, his suggestion met with reluctance. That is until congregants began working with these men and women who traveled to Macungie from Wisconsin, Florida, Alabama, Kansas, Illinois, South Carolina and Indiana. “People started seeing how positive Laborers are and how hard they work for a church that’s not even 22

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Congregants appreciated how Laborers’ service and fellowship extended beyond the construction site. One couple sang in the church choir. The LFC wives started a Friday morning Bible study. Laborers joined in Sunday worship while congregants took part in Laborers’ morning devotions and Thursday night dinners. “They just jumped in and helped us with whatever needed to be done at the church – youth activities, preparing meals, gardening,” Femovich said. Concordia’s pastor, the Rev. Waldemar Vinovskis, calls the affordability of the LFC program a blessing. It enabled the congregation to build more in the first phase of their expansion goals than originally planned— including a larger, more welcoming narthex and spacious preschool and Sunday school classrooms to replace temporary trailers.

STRONG BONDS Laborers completed their work for Concordia last September, but several returned for the dedication in April. “We were there long enough that we really got to know members of the congregation. Strong bonds develop,” said Rich Wolfgang, assistant project manager, who attended with his wife, Arlene, and Laborers Paul


Schmid, Rick Green and Green’s wife, Wendy. The Concordia project marked Wolfgang’s tenth. “It’s a calling. God calls us to do this work,” said Wolfgang, who joined LFC after working in computer maintenance and electronics. “I think He was preparing me for this throughout my whole career.” PARTNER IN MINISTRY Along with LFC, Concordia also used LCEF’s Capital Funding Services, Architectural Advisory Committee and loan support to build the addition. “If not for LCEF and Laborers For Christ, we could never have accomplished our expansion,” said Femovich, calling LCEF “a ministry partner that began working with us early on and in so many ways.” Do you want to travel, meet people and, most importantly, spread the Gospel? Interested in becoming a Laborers For Christ member? Call 800-843-5233 to learn more.

FALL 2017 | INTEREST TIME

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How LCEF’s Ministry Support Serves the Church Did you know LCEF employs an entire team dedicated to propelling ministries forward to joyfully and effectively live out their purpose within the Kingdom? It’s called Ministry Support. Its work is to help congregations and ministries emerge from—or avoid finding themselves—stuck, stymied or stalled.

MINISTRY SUPPORT DOES THIS IN THREE WAYS:

DEFINE: DESIGN: ALIGN:

Help a ministry become clear about what God is calling them to do. Create custom solutions to respond. Assist ministries in aligning their resources in an effective manner. All of LCEF celebrates when your ministry is in motion. We look forward to supporting you as your ministry partner.

To learn more about Ministry Support, call 800-843-5233, Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., CT.

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LCEF is a nonprofit religious organization; therefore, LCEF investments are not FDIC-insured bank deposit accounts. This is not an offer to sell investments, nor a solicitation to buy. LCEF will offer and sell its securities only in states where authorized. The offer is made solely by LCEF’s Offering Circular. Investors should carefully read the Offering Circular, which more fully describes associated risks. LCEF StewardAccount access features provided through UMB Bank n.a. UMB Bank n.a. serves as the custodian for the LCEF HSA program. Lutheran Church Extension Fund-Missouri Synod (NMLS# 3444). Illinois Residential Mortgage Licensee (MB.0006057). The National Office is located at: 10733 Sunset Office Drive, Suite 300, St. Louis, MO 63127-1020. Phone number: 800-843-5233. Website: lcef.org.

Interest Time Reformation Issue 108  
Interest Time Reformation Issue 108  

The Reformation explained in plain language. The bold plan to improve refugee's living conditions. Health savings account: 6 benefits that m...

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