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Gifting - Growing - Serving

Capital Campaign Newsletter #3

Jimmy Castor, Bible Study Co-DirectorLiving with Gratitude

Jimmy Castro, Bible Study Co-Director

Aloha LCH family. Once again I have the wonderful opportunity to reflect on who—and whose—I am and all the ways that my God and Creator has gifted and blessed me.

“Like what?” you may ask.

How about surviving a head-on collision with a 2-ton City & County truck on a rainy day in November 1973? As I lay on the seat, a police officer wondered aloud what kept the engine from shoving the steering wheel shaft into my chest and why the steering wheel looked like a pretzel. I could not answer him because I was too busy pondering why the bottom half of my right leg would not move. It just stayed there at an odd angle when I tried to move it.

But that was so long ago, and a lot of time has passed since feelings of gratitude for recovery—and for life itself—have crossed my mind. In place of gratitude, concern for juggling finances, scheduling time, and beating traffic ease God out of the focus that I try to sustain by getting on my knees and saying the Serenity Prayer after I roll out of bed.

The Capital Campaign has placed me in an position where I have to lead by example. Even so, irreverent thoughts creep into my mind at the most awkward times, such as while Pastor David was leading our Bible study on stewardship. Thoughts such as “When will God leave me alone?” are unbecoming at a crucial time when God needs me—and my money—as part of the LCH family.

"My money? My life?" I cannot think that way when I am living in a spirit of gratitude. Living in faith, I am reminded of the support received during Olivia’s miscarriages, her fight against cancer, or my own road to recovery from destructive behaviors. I must stand to be counted on my mustard seed of faith.

I encourage you to talk with me and ask me how I walk my talk. I need your help to remind myself to whom I owe my life and all that I have. Society wants me to think of “me,” “mine,” and “myself.” I know that God would rather I live a life of love for others as God has loved me. In order for this to happen, I need to place my time, talents, and resources in God's hands and then trust in faith. Please join me on this journey. There is an exciting road ahead.

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Dough Althauser, Children and Youth DirectorChildren and Youth

Doug Althauser, Children and Youth Director

The Capital Campaign, ultimately, represents more than just fund-raising. It offers an opportunity to allow the youngest members of our community to see how a congregation can come together to help. If we do it right, we can give our children an impressive example of the many-faceted concept of Stewardship.

Stewardship, when it’s understood at all, is often an adult concept. When we were children, we each watched the offering plate passed around during church services. We sought to get a turn to hold and pass the plate, more often than not as a way to break the monotony of the service than as an act of Christian responsibility. Somewhere along the way, perhaps long after we had left our childhood, we learned about tithing, about charitable giving, and about Stewardship.

We in the Learning and Youth Ministry try to explain various spiritual ideas through Bible stories and church activities. We are preparing the children for their first communion, for their confirmations, we’re helping to develop their minds so they include a concern for the church, the community, and for those less fortunate than ourselves. Inspired by the Capital Campaign, this month we included Stewardship as one of the concepts for the children to learn.

During the Intergenerational Event on October 12, I gave a quick explanation of Stewardship. For the youngest children, the definition was simple: “Everyone Helps.” We talked about the responsibility that everyone in a congregation has to support the goals of a church, and that includes giving money.

Everyone learned a lesson suggested by our consultants at Enrichment Ministries. Participants received three boxes they could decorate and label. One box represented money that was to be spent on every-day living, like food, shelter, utilities, education and entertainment. The next box represented savings, money regularly set aside to accumulate until it was possible to purchase something (such as, one three year-old in attendance suggested, toy trains). The third box represented money to share with a church. During a time of need like the Capital Campaign, money from the first two boxes could be removed and added to the third box as an example of Stewardship.

Such a lesson isn’t really learned in one sitting. Every parent can assume responsibility to explain and reinforce the definition of Stewardship. Every parent can also demonstrate Stewardship by sharing with the children the budgeting that goes into the decision of how much to put in that collection plate every Sunday and how much extra to pledge for the Capital Campaign. The children can also learn about Stewardship from other adults, individually if those adults explain their own decisions about giving, or as a whole community when the results of the Campaign are announced.

By teaching children about Stewardship when they are children, we can help them understand Stewardship as part of their overall Christian responsibility. It won’t seem like an imposition or a foreign subject to them later on in their lives as they learn how to create a budget.

This kind of example widens the circle that is our Campaign theme, “Gifting, Growing, Serving.” By teaching our children about Stewardship, we give them a gift of understanding they won’t learn on their own. By demonstrating Stewardship, we serve our children by showing how it works. Through both of these examples, we help our children grow in their lives as Christians and as members of our Lutheran Church of Honolulu.

Pastor Barber shares conversation during the children's sermon

Pastor David Barber and “Felix” share conversations and a story
with the children at the time of the children’s sermon.

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Planned Renovations

Our “Gifting, Growing, Serving” Campaign is the first step in a construction and development plan to be funded over a nine year period. The total cost will be about $1.5 million. Our church campus consists of a facility constructed in 1952 with some renovations 1965, a vacant dirt lot for parking, and Luther Place, an apartment building adjacent to the church. We all know that these facilities are not adequate for the many ministries our congregation undertakes, but when the plan is achieved, with God’s help, we will truly be able to serve as an oasis—a gathering place—in the midst of our neighborhood.

Even with our barely-adequate current facilities, our campus hosts a resident preschool that is closed only six weekdays a year. Alcoholics Anonymous has met one evening a week at the church facility since 1951. Because of its excellent acoustics, air conditioned and sound-proofed environment, and the presence of the von Beckerath pipe organ, the nave hosts a variety of concerts, including an annual benefit concert for the Institute for Human Services, Kokua Kalihi Valley Family Services, or Save the Food Basket. Our loyal members and friends have braved a muddy parking lot and antiquated, inadequate bathrooms. Accommodations for the handicapped are limited, especially at events that draw large numbers of people.

In the last issue of the newsletter, we wrote about improvements to the facilities used by the Preschool. Now we turn to the other projects in the construction and development plan.

Reese Fowler's new design focuses attention on the altar.Renovation of the Nave. The current configuration of the nave dates from renovations in the mid 1970s when the altar was relocated to the middle of the worship space to enhance the congregation’s participation in worship. Plans drawn by former LCH member and Seattle designer, Reese Fowler, call for a new altar and other worship furnishings and an enhanced focus on the altar.

Air Conditioning. The nave was air conditioned in the 1960s, primarily to control the traffic noise from Punahou Street. The room is acoustically live and is the best setting in Honolulu for chamber music. Without the air conditioning, however, the room is virtually unusable. The original cooling system, still in use, is ailing and must be replaced with new, Freon-free equipment.

Plans for renovations of the Poki lot.Poki Street Parking Lot. The parking lot is currently a dirt double-residential lot that is utilized for a variety of public and church events. In order to meet city code it needs to be graded, surfaced, landscaped, and equipped with an irrigation system.

A meeting in the board room amid choir robes, office equipment, and other items in storage.Increased Storage Space and Improvements to the Board Room. Anyone who has looked inside the Board Room would probably describe it as a large walk in closet. Plans call for the creation of proper storage space for church records, choir robes, and music elsewhere on the LCH campus. This will allow us to provide a quality meeting space for the Church Council, Christian Education, and organizations from the community.

Updating of Electronic Components of the Pipe Organ. The von Beckerath pipe organ is a mechanical action instrument that involves no electronics in the basic sounding mechanism. This mechanism is in excellent condition and has a life expectancy of 200 years. The stop action, however, is electronic and the components are now 35 years old and faltering. Before they fail we need to replace them with state-of-the-art components that will expand the musical capabilities of the instrument and make use of the computerized capture pre-set systems available. This will increase the number of settings from 6 to 1188.

Courtyard Roof. The central courtyard serves as a gathering place each week at services, before concerts, for receptions, and a variety of community gatherings. Without a roof, events take their chances with the weather. The permanent roof with sky lights and decor upgrade planned for this space will transform the nondescript courtyard into an all-weather meeting area. It will also serve the Preschool as a play area on rainy days.

Restrooms. The existing restrooms were installed in 1952. They need to be upgraded and be made handicapped accessible.

Landscaping and Irrigation System. The neighborhood is now dominated by high-rise condos and apartment buildings with very little open space. The church grounds will be landscaped with attractive plantings and places for the public to relax and meditate. When completed, the LCH campus will be an oasis for the surrounding community.

Mortgage Retirement. The Luther Place property came on the market unexpectedly in 1999 and the church felt it was important to purchase the building in order to expand the services of the preschool. Preschool tuitions currently pay for one-half the monthly payments on the $370,000 mortgage. By retiring the mortgage, we can redirect this money to the needs of the preschool and future growth of the school buildings and services.

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Some Questions and Answers about the Capital Campaign

Since our Capital Campaign started back in September, we have been talked about the goals, increased our understanding of stewardship through the All-Church Bible Study, become more familiar with our history and ministry, and deepened our fellowship at the Enrichment Gatherings. Now is the time to consider the details of pledging. Here are answers to some questions that have been raised.

Q:   I've heard talk about $500,000 and $1.5 million. Just how much money needs to be raised?
The total cost of the renovation projects, retiring the mortgage on Luther Place, and associated design and permit costs is estimated to be $1.5 million. The plan is to raise this money in three three-year increments, and for the first stage—covering three years—we need a minimum of $500,000, so that is our Cornerstone Goal. But it would be wonderful to move ahead even faster, so we have set a Challenge Goal of $625,000,and a Celebration Goal of $750,000.

Q:   When will pledges be made?
We will receive pledges during both worship services on November 23—Commitment Sunday. We hope that everyone will be able to participate in worship and make their commitment at that time. Those who cannot participate on November 23, will be visited during the two weeks following Commitment Sunday.

Q:   What pledge will we be asked to make?
On Commitment Sunday, we will receive pledges for the 2004 Annual Budget as well as for the three-year Capital Campaign. For example, if you want to pledge a total of $9,000 to the Capital Campaign and $4,000 to the annual budget for 2004, your pledge for 2004 would be:

        Capital Campaign     $3,000     each year for three years, for a total of $9,000
  Annual Budget $4,000 for one year
  Total Pledge $7,000 for 2004

Of course, individuals and households will decide on contribution schedules that make sense for their own situations. Contributions are welcome any time over the three year period of the Capital Campaign or over the year for the Annual Budget.

Q:   Who will be making the Commitment Visits?
Members of the congregations have volunteered to do these visits. Privacy and confidentiality will be respected in all visits. Your fellow members who visit have the same interests as you: serving Christ and our church by ensuring that everyone has a chance to participate in this campaign.

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