Save_the_Tower_logo_WEB.jpgSave the Tower Campaign

Mission Moment
Reformation Sunday worship
Oct. 27, 2013

Jeff Wood, president of the congregation
Gick Schmidt, past president

 

JEFF:
Years ago, when I was in Sunday School, the pastor told us about three different meanings of the word “Church.”   First, there was the building, the place of worship, with Sunday School classrooms, offices, a kitchen, and fellowship space.  Second, there were the people, the group of people that worshipped there every Sunday, and cared for each other spiritually.  Third, there was the universal church, Christians of every race, nationality, and denomination all throughout the world.  All three were important and meaningful.

Here at Grace Lutheran Church, we are blessed with a beautiful church building, a vibrant congregation, and strong connections to the worldwide church.  Today I want to briefly talk about our church building. 

As most of you know, we have a significant repair project that must be accomplished in 2014.  After a thorough inspection of our church Tower last year, we learned that the Tower had significant cracks, broken stones, deteriorating mortar, and an unstable foundation.  These items required repair in order to preserve the Tower.  The cost would be approximately $1 million dollars. 

Because this sum was beyond the capacity of our operating budget, the Church Council created a special committee for the purpose of raising these funds.  My heartfelt thanks go to co-chairs Christa Krout and Tom Zurowski, as well as the other members of the committee:  Rosemary Anderson, Ken Folgers, LaNell Koenig, Tracy Nicastro, Stan Reddel, and Markus Sleuwen. 

tower033.jpgThe Save the Tower committee has done an outstanding job preparing for this project.  They have been creative and passionate about this task.  Their dedication and tireless efforts have demonstrated how much we as a congregation can accomplish when we work together for a common purpose.  The committee’s goals from the start were to maximize communication about the needed repairs to save the church Tower and to enhance our congregational bonds as we worked together to raise funds. 

This project includes multiple communication opportunities – letters, newsletter articles, personal meetings, congregational meetings, and a booklet explaining everything about the project.  This undertaking also has provided multiple opportunities for us to be together – in one service today, in dinners last night, at an informal lunch today after the service, in small group meetings over the next several weeks, and in one-on-one conversations about this project. 

I want to make sure that all of your questions are answered and that all of you have an opportunity to be part of this important project for our church.  Every member is invited to make a two-year pledge toward our goal.  We seek to raise $1.2 million dollars for the expense of the repairs to the building, administrative costs, and a ten percent tithe of what we raise towards three benevolence organizations within the larger church.  Every gift is important.  Please prayerfully consider how you can contribute. 

Former Pastor Geiseman called our church Tower a “Tower of Praise”.  It is a strong symbol of faith.  It marks our building and our congregation.  It soars to the sky with saints and angels aflight, and welcomes members, visitors, and children as we gather here, under the cross.  It is worth our care, our attention, and our responsible stewardship.  

The committee has already begun meeting with members of the congregation to enlist financial support, and we have received a remarkable response.  Already we have received $669,000 in pledged commitments, and I’m confident that we will meet our $1.2 million dollar goal.  

 

GICK:

Tower_distant.jpgWe are grateful for the pledges already made.  And now we move to the next stage of this campaign where you will have the opportunity to attend a cottage meeting where you can in an informal setting ask questions and get more information about the tower project.  As you move to the gym for lunch, you will see sign up sheets with the dates and locations of these meetings.  Choose one convenient for you.  If you aren’t able to sign up today, you will receive follow up by phone and email in the coming days to invite you to choose a meeting that works with your schedule.

Often when we talk about the tower, we think of the majesty of God.  It seems to reach for the heavens.  Friday I was on the 13th floor of Holley Court Terrace and looked out the window at the beautiful trees with their changing colors.  But my eyes immediately went to the Grace tower which reaches far above the tops of the trees.  It was magnificent.

But I also see the tower differently.  The tower also reaches down from the heavens.  It touches the church building.  And when I think of the tower that way, I think of God’s love, compassion, protection and mercy.  Every time we enter the sanctuary, we enter under that tower.  Sometimes we enter for specific, important family occasions, like baptisms, confirmations, weddings, or sometimes we follow a casket or an urn from under that tower down the center aisle.

After being nourished at the Lord’s table, the last words we hear before walking under that tower to leave church are words of promise and challenge.  “Go in peace.  Serve the Lord.”  So we walk out under that tower week after week to serve beyond the walls of this building.

And we have the unique opportunity to do what faithful Grace members did six months after the 1929 stock market crash when the building committee approved additional funding to erect the tower.  Now we too can make a sacrificial gift, beyond our regular contributions, to repair that tower so that it will be a symbol of God’s love and majesty for generations to come.