7800 West County Road 42
Apple Valley, Minnesota

Mortgage Reduction Appeal

Mortgage Reduction Appeal, Year 3 Benevolence

We are now in the third year of our Mortgage Reduction Appeal, and as part of that appeal, we promised to give 10 percent of our pledged dollars, or $25,000 a year, to a different wonderful cause every year. The first year we gave this money to our ILAG partner church in Santa Elena and helped them build that wonderful new church, which is a great worship house and meeting place for their community. The second year we gave this money to Luther Seminary to help with the continuing increasing costs of education for new and future clergy across our Synod and beyond. For year 3 we had committed this money to the Clown Ministry in India; however, that ministry has changed since we made this commitment. The Congregation Council has altered this plan for our Benevolence money for year 3 of the appeal. We are still partnering with the Clown Ministry of India by committing $10,000 to cover several seasons of their ever-growing vacation Bible school and other expenses. We are excited to see where this ministry is headed in the future, and it continues to be a blessing for Grace to be a part of. That left us with $15,000. We decided to choose three causes or organizations and give them $5,000 each to make a truly significant impact for them. The attendees at the Congregation Council meeting, including the Pastors, council members, and Laurel Jacobson, presented and listened to many wonderful ideas. We then voted on the top three, and each of these ministries will be given $5,000 from Grace. The three important causes chosen are:

International Women Leaders, an ELCA campaign to promote women leaders around the globe. Women account for 70% of the world’s population that live in poverty, and many don’t have access to education and training. The ELCA believes the time has come for a strong, strategic emphasis on supporting and empowering international women leaders in the life and development of the church and society. As part of “Always Being Made New: The Campaign for the ELCA,” we are boldly investing in established and emerging women leaders from our global companion churches. Your gifts will help support the education of 200 additional international women through the educational seminars, south-to-south exchanges, in-country study programs, and degree programs at ELCA colleges and universities.

Crescent Cove, a children’s respite and hospice home. “Most pediatric hospice patients receive services from agencies typically oriented to adults, but kids in hospice die from different diseases than adults do, so their needs are different,” quoted from a Star Tribune article. There are only two facilities in the United States devoted to children and their families. Crescent Cove will be opening a children’s hospice facility right here in Brooklyn Center in October of this year. One mom quoted from the Star Tribune article says, “In those last precious moments, I’d like to stop being the lead nurse, doctor, therapist and just go back to being Mom.”

Feed My Starving Children, called to feed God’s starving children, hungry in body and spirit. Through a volunteer network that packs meals for malnourished children throughout the world, they make a difference, one child at a time. “Hunger is the world’s biggest solvable problem.” We believe that food is the foundation for all other progress. To a starving child, hope can only truly begin once a reliable source of nutritious food has been established. FMSC produces three special MannaPack meal formulas, developed by food scientists to specifically stop malnutrition. There always seem to be food crises in the world, and recently news about Africa, the South Sudan and Haiti are all on top of the list.

These are all great organizations that truly do represent a great deal of what we do here at Grace through empowering, praying, listening, and caring for others. We will always strive to find even more ways to support these programs with the help of God. As we complete another successful appeal to help the financial health of this church, we should feel great as a congregation that we have not only made a significant impact to the causes we have given to, and also will make to the wonderful ones we have chosen for this year. Thanks again to the congregation for these donations.

Michael Oja
Congregation Council President

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