A Message from the President – June 2017

Dear Brothers in Christ,

It was a joy seeing and talking with many of you last month at our Regional Pastors and Circuit Visitors Conferences. I trust you found the conferences inspiring and restful and an opportunity to listen and learn from an outstanding group of presenters. If you have not yet marked your calendars for our All Pastors’ Conference scheduled for October 8-11 at Boyne Mountain with Ken Ham as our keynote presenter, please do so. Registration information will start coming out later this month.

During my President’s Reports at the conferences mentioned above, you heard about several aspects of the Here We Stand campaign. Although the financial aspect of the campaign is, and remains, a very important component, I also wanted to touch on some of the non-financial campaign events of Here We Stand. You heard about the 500th Anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation Worship Service on October 15, the Student Bible Reading Program, and some of the Summer of 2017 events and activities.

Please let me mention several things now to serve as a reminder and an encouragement to you and your congregational members to participate.

  • 500th Anniversary Worship Service at the Breslin Center, East Lansing – Now is the time to request tickets for the event. Although tickets to enter the Breslin Center are free, they must be requested. I encourage you to assign a ticket captain, if you have not already, and have this person make ticket requests for everyone who will be attending from your church. Requesting tickets in this manner will allow members of your congregation to be seated together. You have received instruction on how to do this in a packet you received in January. However if you need assistance, please contact Debbie Hughes at debra.hughes@michigandistrict.org for guidance.
  • Worship Service Choir – The Festival (adult) Choir now has 893 participants registered to sing. We expect that number to grow to 1,000 soon. If you still have members desiring to sing in the Festival Choir, please have them register online soon. I understand music will be mailed to each choir member in mid to late July. Also, the three Honors (children’s) Choirs are filling up. Each Honors Choir will have up to 120 children performing. For information on how to nominate or register a child to sing, visit michigandistrict.org/500th-anniversary.
  • Doors – Just a reminder to think about your door design, and develop your plan to bring the door to the Breslin Center for display on the concourse before and after the Reformation Worship Service. (Luther nailed his 95 theses on the Castle Church Door in Wittenburg and Jesus always, and only, serves as the door to the sheep. John 10: 7, 9)
  • Reformation Worship Service Offering – I have already been asked several times if there will be an offering taken at the Worship Service at the Breslin Center. The answer to that question is “yes.” The Lansing area circuits are coordinating usher teams which will assist in facilitating this. As you will enter the seating area, an usher will give an offering envelope, along with the worship itinerary, to each person. Each section of the Breslin Center will have an assigned usher team which will receive the offering at the designated time. If you or your congregation’s members who are not able to attend would also like to participate in the offering, please let Linda Ekong linda.ekong@michigandistrict.org know how many envelopes you would like, and we will send them to you. Envelopes we receive directly from congregations will be added to the amount received at the Worship Service. I will make you aware of the level of response as soon as that information is available.
  • The Reformation 500 Challenge Numerous congregations have informed us they have accepted the challenge to participate in the five-month opportunity. In addition to the health benefits of walking, running, or biking from now to September 30, participants will have the opportunity to raise pledges for the miles they complete, and then split their received pledges 50/50 with their church or school and the Here We Stand Please consider doing this in your congregation or school as it benefits in many ways.
  • Here We Ride Bike EventThank you to Pastors Matt Peters from Zion in Petoskey and Roger Kilponen from Holy Cross in Onaway for taking the lead in planning this event on Saturday, August 5, 2017. The event will begin and end at Bethany, Charlevoix, and is designed for all ages and fitness levels. Since it is an “out and back” event, riders choose the distance they want to ride. Riders simply go as far out as they want, then turn around and ride back. It is a great way to involve entire families. Again riders will be asked to collect pledges and split them 50/50 with their church or school and Here We Stand. Please be on the watch for more information about this fun event in the coming weeks, including the schedule for the day’s activities.
  • Student Bible Reading ProgramLet me just say this: at last report, we had 4,308 registered Bible readers in the Crafted Daily Bible Reading program in YouVersion. This is outstanding! Please continue to encourage participation in the one-year Bible reading plan. Perhaps this fall would be another logical time to begin as we recognize the 500th Anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation.
  • Hearts for JesusThe HFJ offering through our schools has already been very successful as it collected funding to sponsor children from Detroit, Pontiac, and Benton Harbor who will be attending our A2E Sports Camp/VBS programs this summer. Over $26,000 has been received so far for this purpose. We are asking and encouraging our congregations to continue HFJ throughout the summer VBS programs, and make our efforts to support urban children a priority this entire year. If you would like some coin boxes for your VBS children to use this summer, please contact Linda Ekong (linda.ekong@michigandistrict.org) and she will send you a supply.
  • Congregational Participation – We now have 74 participating congregations in the Here We Stand For this we praise God! Thank you to all who have already made this decision, and may I encourage those of you who have not yet declared your participation, to make your decisions soon and submit your Congregational Commitment Forms to the Development Department. I am aware many congregations have stated their intent to participate to us verbally, and for that we are very appreciative. Once we receive written notice of participation, through the receipt of a Congregational Commitment Form or by a direct contribution, we then include that congregation in our count of participating congregations. Again, thank you for the many acts of generosity that have already occurred, and for the many that are still to come.
  • Financial Progress – The campaign continues to progress steadily. To date, over $4.3 million in gifts, goals, and commitments have been received. Our goal is to reach $5 million by the time of the District-wide Reformation Worship Service in October. Please consider how you can help us reach this goal. For a complete accounting of campaign gifts and commitments to date, see below.

Again, thank you for the opportunity to bring this information to you. Most importantly, thank you for your support and participation. The 500th Anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation is truly a historic milestone in the history of our church, an opportunity we are blessed to be a part of during our lifetime. Please take part in as many of the events, activities, and opportunities as you and your members can as we celebrate and commemorate God’s leading in the life of Martin Luther. Never hesitate to contact our Development Department (Ray Zavada ray.zavada@michigandistrict.org or Linda Ekong linda.ekong@michigandistrict.org), if you have questions, need materials, or require assistance in any way.

Continued blessings to each of you dear brothers,


Rev. Dr. David P.E. Maier, President
Michigan District, LCMS

Support Here We Stand

By The Numbers through April 12, 2017

$4,337,682.83- Total campaign gifts, pledges, and goals
$2,644,337.28 – Cash received
$200,000.00 – CEF Matching Funds
$1,212,045.55 – Outstanding commitments (pledges)

582 Total Contributors
508 Individual Contributors
74 – Congregations Contributing
19.8% of Michigan District Congregations currently participating
4,308 Participants in the “Crafted By Truth” Bible Reading Program

$843,918.52 – Total given/pledged for Professional Church Worker Scholarships
$1,516,159.62 – Total given/pledged for Innovative Missional Ministry
$615,849.53 – Total given/pledged for Michigan District Endowment
$1,080,455.17 – Total given/pledged for International Ministries