A Message from the President – September 2017

Dear Brothers in Christ,

It’s almost fall! The vacations and the change in pace we experienced through the summer months are behind us as we begin a new year of ministry in our congregations. The same can be said about life in the Michigan District. As someone recently said in our office, it’s “full speed ahead.”

In reality, The Here We Stand campaign has been going full speed ahead throughout the summer. This was necessary because of the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation Worship Service on October 15 at the Breslin Center in East Lansing. Rev. Dr. Rob Kasper and his planning team have spent many hours this summer preparing for, and going over, every detail of the Worship Service: liturgy and hymns, liturgist and readers, choirs, ticketing and seating, volunteers, ushers and offering, ingathering and concessions, and even the numerous doors being brought to the Breslin Center were part of the discussion and final decision making.

Ticket requests had been coming in at a very rapid pace all summer, and the event is now “sold out.” There is a waiting list available online and will be filled as tickets become available. Approximately 14,000 will have the joy of worshipping together as we celebrate this historic time in the Lutheran Church, and give glory to God for the immeasurable blessings He has provided to His people throughout the generations and through the congregations of the Michigan District and beyond.

Tickets will be mailed to ticket captains shortly. Please help insure that, when tickets are received at your congregation, they are distributed to those attending. If for some reason a requested ticket is not going to be used, PLEASE get it/them back to us as soon as possible so someone who did not receive a ticket will be able to receive one. Remember, if someone does not have a ticket on hand, they will not be allowed to enter the Breslin Center due to seating capacity, security guidelines, and Fire Marshal regulations. I appreciate your assistance in communicating this important message.

I also want to encourage you to arrive early. The Worship Service begins promptly at 5 p.m. Plan on arriving well before that time if at all possible. If everyone arrives at 4:30 p.m., it will be very congested entering the Breslin Center. Doors open at 2 p.m. for your convenience. There will be concession stands open to purchase food and drinks. The decorated doors will be set up in the concourse for viewing. CPH will be set up with a large variety of Reformation-themed books and other products for purchase. At 4 p.m. there will be a concert presented by the three Honors choirs. Please come early to enjoy their singing.

Please note: there will be a $5 parking fee for cars and a $20 parking fee for buses/RVs

Circuit Visitors who are processing, it is very important that you arrive by 3:30 p.m. to get into position for the processional and go over responsibilities when bringing water to the altar.

Also, please remember the ingathering that is planned for four Lansing area outreach organizations. Each of our four Michigan District regions is assigned one of these organizations, and there is a list of items requested by each individual group. The items each region is asked to bring may be found online at herewestand.michigandistrict.org/500. Please encourage participation by those attending from your congregation. There will be collection areas set up as you approach the Breslin Center.

One final thing about the Worship Service: There will be an offering taken during the service. As each individual enters their seating section, an usher will greet them and give them a Worship guide and an offering envelope, which will be collected at the appropriate time during the service. The offering will go to the Here We Stand campaign initiatives, and will be eligible to receive a 10% match by CEF as are all campaign donations.

CAMPAIGN UPDATE

The Here We Ride bike event took place in Charlevoix on August 5. This was our first attempt at doing something like this, and because of the outstanding leadership of Pastor Peters (Zion, Petoskey), and the excellent participation of the Petoskey circuit and the members of Bethany, Charlevoix, the event was a great success. A total of 76 bike riders participated, with some riding 50 miles or more. Numerous families did the ride together with their children. Several churches and schools received financial support from the event, as riders split the donations 50/50 between the Michigan District and their church or school. We’re considering doing the event again during the summer of 2018.

The Here We Stand campaign continued to grow financially during the summer. Several congregational pledges were made, and several more congregations made direct gifts to the campaign, surpassing the $1 million level of congregational financial participation. As I write this update, we have 86 participating congregations or 23% of District congregations participating. This is a great start! Our prayer is that this fall will bring a significant growth in participation by District congregations.

In fact, this is a critical fall for the Here We Stand campaign. Please prayerfully consider how you can help advance the purposes of the campaign through your financial gifts and commitments over the next several years and help the Michigan District carry out its mission and ministries.

Our goal is to reach the $5 million level in gifts and commitments by the time of the Reformation Service in October. We are getting close, needing under $300,000 to reach this milestone. We are also less than $200,000 away from reaching our next $100,000 matching gift from CEF, which they generously provide every time we raise an additional $1 million in cash. Please consider becoming involved at this time if you have not already, and help us reach these goals. The “By the Numbers” report is included at the end of this letter.

Finally, I am very happy to announce that our student Bible reading program has reached an outstanding level of participation: 5,000 registered Bible readers using the Crafted by Truth YouVersion app. It is a blessing to see so many committed to being in the Word and we pray this commitment continues. We praise God for allowing this marvelous accomplishment, and thank Pastor Dave Davis for his expertise and leadership to make it happen.

Please thank God with me that we have been able to increase scholarships for Professional Church Work students at the Concordias and for Seminary students by 10% for the 2017–18 school year. How has this happened? It is possible because of the early success of the Here We Stand campaign. Seminary students from Michigan District congregations are each receiving $3,000 from the Michigan District this school year. Concordia University Ann Arbor and Mequon students are each receiving $2,400. Because of your current support of Here We Stand, and anticipated support in the future, our goal is to make another 10% increase next year as well. Prayerfully consider how you can help this next generation of servants in the church.

I look forward to seeing each of you at the All Pastors’ Conference at Boyne Mountain next month. The awesome planning committee has an exciting program prepared for you with ample opportunities to learn, be challenged, and be involved in great fellowship.

Our conference concludes on Wednesday of the week of our Reformation Worship Service at the Breslin Center. Please begin to pray for this service and especially for Rev. Dr. Patrick Ferry as he delivers the sermon message, Rev. Mandla Khumalo as he gives the sending message, our 1,000-member Festival choir, and our three Honors choirs. Most importantly, pray that God is glorified in all that is said and done.

Your Brother in Christ,

maier_signature

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

Support Here We Stand


By The Numbers through September 12, 2017

$4,702,154.86- Total campaign gifts, pledges, and goals
$2,825,284.77 – Cash received
$200,000.00 – CEF Matching Funds
$1,306,570.09 – Outstanding commitments (pledges)

654 Total Contributors
568 Individual Contributors
86 – Congregations Contributing
23.1% of Michigan District Congregations currently participating
4,994 Participants in the “Crafted By Truth” Bible Reading Program

$914,211.47 – Total given/pledged for Professional Church Worker Scholarships
$1,625,713.09 – Total given/pledged for Innovative Missional Ministry
$688,592.48 – Total given/pledged for Michigan District Endowment
$1,103,337.82 – Total given/pledged for International Ministries