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Lutheran Church Extension Fund (LCEF) is a unique ministry-through-investment organization that offers Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod members the opportunity to invest their money, earn interest, and help build LCMS churches and schools at the same time.

LCEF - Central Region serves Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod organizations and members in Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin. Learn more about LCEF at lcef.org.

 

Guthmiller 2018 Recipient of LCEF North Dakota District Scholarship

 Allison Guthmiller was awarded the 2018 LCEF North Dakota District scholarship. A member of Bethel Lutheran Church, Bismarck, N.D., Allison is a 2018 graduate of Legacy High School, Bismarck, and currently attending the University of North Dakota, Grand Forks.

Allison Guthmiller was awarded the 2018 LCEF North Dakota District scholarship. A member of Bethel Lutheran Church, Bismarck, N.D., Allison is a 2018 graduate of Legacy High School, Bismarck, and currently attending the University of North Dakota, Grand Forks.

“What I admire about the mission of LCEF is that it gives churches and individuals the support it needs in order to go out in the world fearless and make disciples just as God intended us to do, “wrote Allison Guthmiller, Bethel Lutheran Church, Bismarck, North Dakota. “The financial aspect of keeping a ministry running is often forgotten or overlooked and yet it remains such a vital part of a functioning congregation.”

Allison is the recipient of a $1,000 Lutheran Church Extension Fund North Dakota District scholarship, one of nineteen 2018 LCEF district awards. A member of Bethel Lutheran Church, Bismarck, North Dakota, she is a 2018 graduate of Legacy High School, Bismarck. Allison is currently attending the University of North Dakota, Grand Forks. Her parents are Bryan and Tanya Guthmiller.

In her letter of recommendation for Allison, Bethel Lutheran Youth Fellowship Advisor Patricia Sebastian wrote,

“Allison's academic performance is superior as evidenced by her grade point average and advanced course work. Her intelligence and work ethic in academics does not manifest itself in an arrogant know-it-all way. She realized early that academics are crucial to being the most competent nurse anesthetist she can be to best serve patients.

She excels in music and athletics and has been chosen for leadership roles as drum major, student council, Bismarck Public School Foundation Advisory Committee and volleyball team captain. Allison is a leader who others want to follow! I can hardly wait to see what God has in store for Allison beyond high school.”

In her scholarship essay, Allison wrote,

“I have seen firsthand what blessings LCEF can help bring. I have grown up in the same Missouri Synod Lutheran Church my whole life and since I was baptized the church has consistently grown. Unfortunately, several years previous our church reached a standstill because we no longer had the room for our growing population, that was until LCEF stepped in and helped us with a loan to expand our education wing.

… [since the addition,] our church has grown exponentially and the mission to spread God’s word remains relentless. I [have been] a Sunday School Teacher in that very education wing teaching the precious gift of God’s word that was made possible by the generosity of the LCEF loan our church was granted.”

In his letter of recommendation for Allison, Advanced Placement Senior English Teacher John Tufte, Ed.D. wrote,

“…I have come across strikingly few students with the capabilities [that] Allison Guthmiller displays on a daily basis. Academically, she separates herself with relative ease. She carries a 4.5 GPA and is ranked #1 out of 267 students at Legacy High School.

Academic prowess acknowledged, the real strength of Allison is to be found in her character and demeanor…. At a time when the make-up of today's youth is often questioned for substance, Allison reminds that there are indeed fantastic young people headed toward higher education. Classmates and teachers alike find themselves comfortable in Allison's presence; this is a priceless reality few students possess and will serve her well for years to come.”

LCEF is blessed to provide annual district scholarships for active, faith-filled Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod students just like Allison. The 2019 scholarship application will be available beginning in September 2018 at lcefcentral.org/scholarships. The deadline to apply is January 31, 2019.

Learn how you can become a partner in ministry via LCEF investments, loans and ministry support at lcef.org.

North Dakota District Convention and LCEF Giveaway!

 Mitch Semanko, voting delegate for Immanuel Lutheran Church, Fargo, was the recipient of the LCEF iPad Mini Giveaway at the North Dakota District Convention in Dickinson, N.D., on January 22, 2018. LCEF District Vice Presiden Tami Ulland presented the gift.

Mitch Semanko, voting delegate for Immanuel Lutheran Church, Fargo, was the recipient of the LCEF iPad Mini Giveaway at the North Dakota District Convention in Dickinson, N.D., on January 22, 2018. LCEF District Vice Presiden Tami Ulland presented the gift.

In appreciation of the North Dakota District pastors and convention delegates, Lutheran Church Extension Fund (LCEF) sponsored an iPad Mini Giveaway at the district convention on January 22, 2018, at the Astoria Hotel and Event Center, Dickinson, N.D.

LCEF District Vice President - North Dakota Tami Ulland presented the gift to Mitch Semanko at the Monday evening banquet. Semanko served as the voting delegate for Immanuel Lutheran Church, Fargo. 

Conventions are held every three years by each of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod’s 35 districts. The schedule includes time for conducting business, electing officers and sharing information. The conventions also offer opportunities for worship, nurture, inspiration and fellowship.

LCEF provides LCMS ministries with loans, investments and ministry support services. Learn how you can become a ministry partner with LCEF at lcef.org or contact your district vice president.

 

2017 $1,000 ND LCEF Scholarship Received – Apply for 2018 Soon!

ND LCEF scholarshiip - Bieri check presentation 2017 12 31 crop.jpg

Austin Bieri received the 2017 Lutheran Church Extension Fund (LCEF) North Dakota District (NDD) $1,000 scholarship at Concordia Lutheran Church, Jamestown, North Dakota on December 31, 2017. Presenting the check was LCEF NDD Vice President Tami Ulland. Read about Bieri’s story here.

The deadline to apply for the 2018 scholarship is January 31, 2018. Members of Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod congregations in the Central Region who are either a graduating high school senior or a current college student with at least one complete semester remaining are encouraged to apply.

Complete details and an online application are at lcefcentral.org.

Loving Boldly: 2017 LCEF Fall Leadership Conference

 LCEF President and CEO Rev. Bart Day speaks at the 2017 Fall Leadership Conference.

LCEF President and CEO Rev. Bart Day speaks at the 2017 Fall Leadership Conference.

Well into its third decade, the Lutheran Church Extension Fund (LCEF) 2017 Fall Leadership Conference continued its tradition of presenting the Gospel-inspired results and benefits of church extension work. This year’s conference was held in New Orleans on Nov. 17-19.

Organized around their annual corporate meeting, the conference serves as an opportunity to acknowledge and applaud all that God has done through LCEF’s partnerships with The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS).

Every year the conference follows a theme. This year’s theme was “Love Boldly.”

In his opening remarks, LCEF Senior Vice President – Ministry Support and conference emcee Max Biesenthal noted the noble nature of “loving boldly.” In practice, he said, “we tend to love the things we like,” such as ice cream, naps, our children, sunsets and books. Instead, loving boldly challenges us to love the unlovable just as Christ has shown us.

One ministry loving boldly was Redeeming Life Maternity Home. This home for unwed mothers in Sanford, Fla., offers a safe haven for women who may not know a pro-life Christian option is available to them. Pastor Ed and Sheryl DeWitt started the ministry when their unmarried daughter learned she was pregnant and knew that abortion was not an option. Their daughter shared her situation with the congregation and asked for their support—and it was given in abundance. LCEF gave Redeeming Life the 2017 Fred E. Lietz Mission Project Award.

“I loved hearing the stories of the awardees,” Rev. Jeffery David Nickel of Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Clarence, N.Y. said. “It’s encouraging to hear how God is working around us, often in small, nearly invisible ways,” through His people and investors. “It’s a testament that LCEF support makes a difference in the Church.”

For his tireless and charitable work at his congregation and in the community, Rev. Dennis Bartels received the Lietz Individual Ministry Award. Bartels is a 35-year veteran of Holy Cross in North Miami and LCEF advocate.

Florida-Georgia District President Greg Walton said the following about Bartels’ generosity: “Their school feeds 400 students both breakfast and lunch. And when Irma went through Miami and the school lost power, instead of losing all the food in their refrigerators they grilled it and gave it away.”

The awards are named in honor of Fred E. Lietz, an early church extension pioneer and LCEF’s first president.

 Photo courtesy of Lee Rohlf. From left to right: Dave Dravecky; Herman Cain; Rev. Bart Day; Rev. Dr. John Nunes; Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison.

Photo courtesy of Lee Rohlf. From left to right: Dave Dravecky; Herman Cain; Rev. Bart Day; Rev. Dr. John Nunes; Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison.

Joy and loving boldly
Noteworthy speakers like radio talk show host and former Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain and former San Francisco Giants baseball player Dave Dravecky advanced the 2017 conference theme in their one-of-a-kind ways.

Dravecky shared the story of losing his pitching arm to cancer and how the bold love of friends helped him navigate that dark period of his life. Cain spoke about the idea that “you cannot love boldly unless you are happy.” He then explained how to achieve that happiness: have something to do; have someone to love (starting with Jesus); and have something to hope for.
Cain’s point about happiness wasn’t lost on LCMS President Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison who spoke Saturday morning. Harrison said, “If we cease caring for the least, the lost, the last, the disaster victim, the divorced, the struggling, the broken, we lose the soul of the Church. Bold love requires us to be joyful—joyfully Lutheran.”

Other speakers included LCEF President and CEO Rev. Bart Day; Executive Director of the Lutheran Center for Religious Liberty Greg Seltz; and Concordia College New York President Rev. Dr. John Nunes.

“Dr. Nunes’ presentation had the biggest impact on me,” said Rev. Jason Shaw of Saint Paul Lutheran Church, Jackson, Mo. “I loved his personal testimony. He removed fears that I have about changing trends in our culture and gave me hope that the best of the LCMS will survive and prayerfully thrive.”

 Photo courtesy of Lee Rohlf. Fall Leadership Conference attendees fill care packages for inmates at Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola during the Servant Event.

Photo courtesy of Lee Rohlf. Fall Leadership Conference attendees fill care packages for inmates at Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola during the Servant Event.

The Servant Event, hosted just hours before the conference officially starts on Friday, is the highlight of the weekend for many attendees. This event invites people to participate in a benevolence project. This year, care packages were filled for inmates at Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola.

LCMS Northern Illinois District President Dan Gilbert, who attended the Servant Event with his wife, said, “The very positive atmosphere and the encouragement to continue faithfully in the Lord’s mission makes this one of the best LCMS events I attend, year after year.”
Saturday afternoon was dedicated to LCEF’s annual meeting, which serves as an official review of the fund and current organization objectives. LCEF Board of Directors (BOD), officers, members-at-large, former staff, district vice presidents and district voting delegates attended this two-hour gathering.

 Photo courtesy of Lee Rohlf. LCEF staff members pray after filling the truck with the care packages assembled during the Servant Event.

Photo courtesy of Lee Rohlf. LCEF staff members pray after filling the truck with the care packages assembled during the Servant Event.

George Cook, international consulting director with Graystone Consulting, shared an overview of the economy, as well as an investment market presentation. LCEF President and CEO Rev. Bart Day reported on LCEF’s 2017 fiscal year performance metrics; announcement of earnings distribution to the Synod and partner districts; and core initiatives for 2018 fiscal year. 


To fill a vacant BOD seat in the West Region, members voted and elected Dale Wagner. Wagner is a retired  finance executive and sat on the LCEF Rocky Mountain District Loan Committee. To fill a vacancy in the East Central Region, members voted and elected Don Scifres. Scifres is President of SmartFile in Indianapolis and serves on the LCMS Indiana District Board of Directors. Incumbents Michael Kzirian and Mark Pieper, both up for re-election, kept their BOD seats. Additionally, a vacancy in an At-Large position was filled with the election of David Worthington by the LCMS Board of Directors at their November 2017 meeting.


Ending on a strong note
There was a general feeling that the love boldly theme energized the attendees and all the presenters connected back to it. This truth could be seen on display during Sunday’s Divine Service. 

Rev. Dr. Ulmer Marshall, first vice president of the Southern District, preached on 1 Corinthians 13:13, the conference verse. He said, “When we are dire and in despair we need to have hope, unconditional love. We need to keep reminding those who are hurting of this truth, through words and deeds, God is love.” 

He left the audience with this thought-provoking question: “Does the world know how much we love?” 

LCEF, a non-profit organization, has served as the financial extension of the LCMS since 1978, offering funding and resources to congregations, schools and Rostered Church Workers through investment support of LCMS members.

The mission of LCEF is to support the Church in fulfilling its mission of sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ by being a Christ-centered servant partner of the LCMS, ensuring that funds and services are available now and in the future.

Austin Bieri Awarded 2017 North Dakota LCEF Scholarship

Austin Bieri is the 2017 North Dakota District (NDD) Lutheran Church Extension Fund (LCEF) $1,000 Scholarship winner.

A member of Concordia Lutheran Church, Jamestown, North Dakota, Austin will graduate from Jamestown High School (JHS) this spring. He plans on attending Minnesota State University of Moorhead in the fall.

“The points I like most [about] LCEF’s mission are ‘sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ’ and ‘ensuring that funds and services are available now and in the future,’” wrote Austin in his scholarship essay. “I have served on North Dakota’s LCMS youth council for three years now, and I know firsthand how incredibly pleasing it is to share God’s Word . . . and how difficult and expensive it can be. …It’s comforting to know that a Christ-centered organization is out there and willing to help.”

Both Austin’s pastor, Rev. Tom Eckstein, and his JHS English Teacher and National Honor Society Advisor Tammy Mullowney wrote about Austin’s involvement at church, his extensive leadership skills and a willingness to serve in their letters of recommendation.

“Most notably, Austin is the President of North Dakota Lutheran Youth Fellowship. …Austin's ability to successfully juggle school, work and a state office is a testament to his responsible and serving nature,” wrote Mullowney.

North Dakota District LCEF is blessed to provide annual scholarships to active, faith-filled Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) students such as Austin. A total of 16 scholarships were chosen this spring. There are seven scholarships remaining to be announced; three from Minnesota South District and four from North Wisconsin District. Follow our newsfeed and Facebook page for the most current awards.

For more information on how you can become an investment or loan partner with the ministry of church extension, visit lcef.org or call 800-843-5233.

Burch North Dakota District LCEF Scholarship Winner!

 Orrin Burch is the 2016 North Dakota District LCEF $1,000 scholarship winner! Orrin is a member of Messiah Lutheran Church, Mandan, ND and attends Bismarck State College, Bismarck, ND.

Orrin Burch is the 2016 North Dakota District LCEF $1,000 scholarship winner! Orrin is a member of Messiah Lutheran Church, Mandan, ND and attends Bismarck State College, Bismarck, ND.

There were a total of 11 Lutheran Church Extension Fund (LCEF) upper Midwest districts scholarships awarded this year. Congratulations to the final winner, Orrin Burch!

Orrin is the 2016 North Dakota District LCEF $1,000 scholarship winner, a member of Messiah Lutheran Church, Mandan, ND and attends Bismarck State College (BSC,) Bismarck, ND.

“Orrin is potentially the best student of history I’ve had the pleasure to teach in the last few years,” wrote BSC Professor of History J. Michael McCormack, in his letter of recommendation. “…[He] exhibits a highly advanced knowledge of the Latin language…Not only was he the best student in all of my classes last semester, but our out-of-class conversations on historical issues were and are something I always looked forward to. …Orrin is a mature, highly intelligent, superb writer with expert historical insight, and a joy to have in class.”

“Orrin has been attending our Monday Night Bible Study this year,” said Pastor Mark Drews. “We have been studying contemporary issues and events from abortion to pro-life to same sex marriage. I find that he has been very knowledgeable about the subjects and issues that are discussed and that he contributes much to our discussions.”

In his scholarship application, Orrin wrote the following, “The mission of LCEFs very important to help spread the word of the Gospel.  First, this a unique place for members of the LCMS to invest money and have it bring a return for them, it also helps spread the word of the Gospel. The money helps provide fellow churches in the LCMS renovate or build new churches.”
LCEF is blessed to have the funds available to support Orrin and other young LCMS members as they pursue post-secondary education. It is our prayer that they are equipped to become strong, Christian leaders as adults.

For information on how you can become a partner in ministry with LCEF, visit lcef.org

Applications for 2017 upper Midwest districts LCEF Scholarships will be available here beginning September 2016.