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Lutheran Church Extension Fund (LCEF) - upper midwest districts serves Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) organizations and members in Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, and Wisconsin. LCEF is a unique ministry-through-investment organization that offers LCMS members the opportunity to invest their money, earn interest, and help build LCMS churches and schools at the same time. www.lcef.org

 

Becoming Part of the Church Family

Laborers Serve Dinner, Work VBS, Build Addition Alongside Church Members

Peace Lutheran Church, Park Falls, Wisconsin, is participating in LCEF’s Laborers For Christ program to add a new narthex and commercial-grade elevator to improve accessibility. Laborers serving are, from left, Charles Howard, project manager Rich Wolfgang, Stu Luedtke, Gary Fulton and Dan Fandrich.

Peace Lutheran Church, Park Falls, Wisconsin, is participating in LCEF’s Laborers For Christ program to add a new narthex and commercial-grade elevator to improve accessibility. Laborers serving are, from left, Charles Howard, project manager Rich Wolfgang, Stu Luedtke, Gary Fulton and Dan Fandrich.

Outdoor enthusiasts know Park Falls, Wisconsin, for the woods and wildlife of the Chequamegon National Forest and the fishing and canoeing on the Flambeau River.
But here’s another claim to fame – the “Peace-Full Gathering Meal,” hosted the last day of each month by Peace Lutheran Church.

“They put signs up everywhere! Everyone knows about it,” said Arlene Wolfgang, one of several Laborers For Christ (LFC) spouses who helped prepare and serve the popular dinner that, in June, drew more than 100 people from the community to the church.  Attendees were all ages, including a family with several children who recently moved to Park Falls and older adults who come to eat and socialize. 

Improving accessibility to those monthly meals and all church activities is the goal of Peace Lutheran, which is participating in LCEF’s Laborers For Christ to expand the church’s north entrance and narthex. Enhancements include the addition of a commercial-grade elevator and restrooms. (See the progress on the Peace Lutheran Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/peacelutheranpf?_rdr=p.) “We want everyone to be able to get in and out who wants to come and worship,” the Rev. Dale Heinlein, the church’s pastor, said of the two-story, 1953-era church in north central Wisconsin.

Spouses Help Strengthen Ministry
This is the first time Laborers have worked for Peace Lutheran, and the pastor says “all is going very well.” In addition to being “helpful with costs,” Heinlein says the congregation appreciates “the great workers” – project manager Rich Wolfgang, Lagro, Indiana; Charles Howard, Montgomery, Alabama; Gary Fulton, O’Fallon, and Stu Luedtke, Freeport, both in Illinois.

New Laborer Dan Fandrich, Parker, Arizona, is serving on his first Laborers For Christ project, accompanied by his wife, Evie; dog, Gracie, and three cats. Likewise, Rev. Heinlein praised the Laborers’ spouses who also are helping strengthen ministry. Along with volunteering at the Peace-Full Gathering Meals, the wives – who also include Marsha Fulton, Debbie Howard and Lois Luedtke – lent a hand with vacation Bible school and are making quilts for Lutheran World Relief and taking part in a women’s Bible study. Evie Fandrich also shared her gift for gardening, planting flowers around the church’s front entrance.  

Enthusiasm in High Gear
Enthusiasm for the new addition is in high gear at Peace Lutheran, where a steady supply of volunteers works alongside Laborers. “If we would run short [of volunteers], all I need to do is spread the word,” said an appreciative Rich Wolfgang,  who became a  Laborer after his home congregation, Zion Lutheran Church, in Wabash, Indiana, participated in Laborers For Christ to build a new sanctuary in 1999 with the help of LCEF loan support. Back then, Wolfgang served as the congregation’s building chairman. In June, Zion held a mortgage-burning ceremony in Wabash. 

Rich expects Laborers’ portion of the Peace construction project to be complete in September 2015. In the meantime, Arlene says she and the Laborers’ spouses will continue to assist beyond the construction site, including at upcoming Peace-Full Gathering Meals. 
“It’s quite a project–so well organized,” said Arlene, noting that each dinner begins with a welcome prayer and that the food is served “family style” so guests don’t have to stand in line. “We’re glad we can help.”