For a relocated school scheduled to start classes this September, building an addition in time for staff and students requires "a very aggressive schedule," says Willie Eichmann, Lutheran Church Extension Fund (LCEF) Laborers For Christ (LFC) project manager at First English Lutheran Church in Spencer, Iowa.
"Between Laborers, the many church members who are so excited about this project and the good Lord, I think it’s a doable thing," said Eichmann. Returning to First English is both a challenge and a special reunion for Laborers, who began their most recent work for the church on March 30. The congregation first welcomed LFC eight years ago when members built their current facility. Rev. Paul Kaldahl says members wanted both Eichmann and LFC to return to work for them on this expansion.
“Laborers have amazing servants’ hearts. They not only build your building, they build your congregation,” the pastor said. “Everybody can drive a nail and swing a hammer. But not everyone can do what they do, and that’s what makes them so great.” Kaldahl credits the church’s first LFC experience with helping “ignite” an enthusiasm in the congregation. The 22,000-square-foot addition will include a family life center and classrooms to accommodate the relocation of Iowa Great Lakes Lutheran School, now based at Christ the King Lutheran Church, also in Spencer.
First English has always been mission-minded, the pastor said, and members consider local Lutheran education an important mission to support. The school will include kindergarten through grade six on the First English campus. Plus, the existing First English Christian Preschool which has operated some 30 years.
Along with a tight construction schedule, adequate finances are another challenge. The congregation is grateful for the financial partnership of LCEF, the pastor said, which provided loan support for the construction of its current facility and is now making possible permanent financing for the relocated school.
Kaldahl praised LCEF Iowa District West Vice President Carole White "for all her fantastic help - helping us determine the point at which we can manage our debt, continually getting us a lower interest rate on our loan and helping us in other ways, with an understanding of our finances.”
White respects the commitment of First English members. Even the congregation’s children can help support the new school as well as provide funding for other LCMS ministries when they join LCEF’s Young Investors (Y.I.) Club.“What a privilege to be part of this exciting ministry growth at First English that’s sure to be a great blessing to so many families,” said White.