Here We Stand – November 2018 Update

Why We Participate

by Rev. Michael Schaedig

St. Luke Lutheran Church of Harrison is located in the center of the mitten. The sign on the freeway south of us says, “Gateway to the North.” Considering the sign, North must be us.

I was born in 1959, 135 miles Northeast of where I serve as pastor. I’ve started my 16th year, by the grace of God, serving the baptized community here, in what I used to call mid-Michigan. Setting geography aside, the commonality between where I was raised and where I now serve can easily be summed up with one word, “Shrinking.” Such is the “North.”

Looking through the lens of the law, ‘shrinking’ is all I’ve known in my 59 years. By the time I came along, the glory years of Northern population were over. I hope they come back, but I have my doubts. The economy has been, and is, difficult. Very difficult.

When our delegate Dave Shipley and I came North to Harrison from the Michigan District Convention of 2015, we were baffled about how to honor what we voted for. The vote for the “Here We Stand” capital campaign was a drastic “Yes!” It meant more to us than only pushing a “Yes” button.

We felt that we agreed, through our vote, to participate.

We took a good hard look at the suggestions for participation and came up with a five-year plan to fulfill what we hoped St. Luke Lutheran Church would commit.

Meanwhile, one of our young members went to the Seminary to prepare for the Office of the Public Ministry. Just when we thought we had a “Here We Stand” plan, the Seminary also asked that we commit to help out our student.

We asked St. Luke Lutheran Church to pledge well over $30,000. We call it the “Heart of St. Luke” fund. One leg of the fund was for “Here We Stand” and the other leg for our Seminary student. It is a huge commitment for our congregation. We planned to fulfill it over 5 years.

The justified in Christ Jesus members of His Body here? They said, “We WILL do it.”

As of October 1, 2018, two years and eleven months later, the “Heart of St. Luke” fund is funded. In fact, it is OVER funded by more than $3,000. We will be sending a donation to the Vicarage congregation of our student who is now on a Montana Vicarage.

How did St. Luke do it? The best answer I have is “I don’t know.”

There are many things I do not know … but this much I do know about my congregation: They are going to be with Jesus when their time on earth is over. We are going to be just fine.

But what about our great-great-grandchildren?

When we were someone’s great-great-grandchild, the Lord’s Church was passing down the tradition of Word to pastors and teachers and many and various church workers. When the words “seminary student” or “teacher student” or “church worker student” is mentioned here, St. Luke gets very creative in helping.

For instance, are you aware that there are 87 Spartan/Nash stores in Michigan? Did you know that by gathering $150,000 of store receipts they will give you $1,000? Did you know that a congregation our size decided to take advantage if it? As of today, 2 years and 11 months later, we have gathered $250,000 of receipts! Lutherans, I guess, like to eat.

What if we all did that? What if we all, instead of mourning what we are not, celebrate what we are and think of the great-great-grandchildren who are going to need to hear of Jesus Christ dying and rising for them?

I urge you to get creative. God knows Satan certainly is. If you feel you are too small to help, what if you got together with a congregation close by and pooled your resources? Chances are they like to eat too.

Let’s “Here We Stand” together.

For the sake of those not yet born.

Campaign Progress

Over $5.67 million in gifts, pledges, and congregational goals to date.