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The Way Things Look From Here – October 2019

These are exciting times at Zumbro. With all that’s going on, you might be finding it hard to keep up with the details. Let me try to be of help.

On October 6 we are launching the Our Church, Our Future campaign. This campaign will provide support to keep Zumbro a vibrant and growing presence in our community. As we get started, we first and foremost invite you to make a commitment to our annual stewardship appeal for 2020. These are funds that enable us to keep the lights on, support the staff, and engage in ministry and mission in Rochester and beyond. This is a one-year commitment, much like we’ve been doing for the past several years.

A second part of the Our Church, Our Future campaign involves a building renovation project.  We are inviting you to make a commitment to this too. This giving is over and above our regular giving to Zumbro. It’s normally spaced out over three years. We see these as once-in-a-generation gifts, shoring up our platform for ministry and mission in this generation and the next.

Commitment Sunday and Wednesday are October 27 and 30. To keep it simple, there are two sides to this year’s commitment card, one for the annual appeal and one for the capital appeal.  Thanks in advance for your prayerful and generous support of this campaign.

The building renovation is an ambitious project totaling $4.4 million. We hope to raise $3 million during this campaign. Over half of the project is deferred maintenance (pipe organ restoration, a new roof, HVAC upgrades, and resurfacing the parking lot). The fact of the matter is, we have a 50-year-old building.  If we want to remain a vibrant force for good in our community, we need to take care of it.

In addition to our infrastructure concerns – and after carefully listening to the congregation – we have identified three primary reasons for refurbishing our facility: 1) enhancing worship, 2) extending hospitality, and 3) expanding mission.

What are these reasons and what will they mean for our future?

 Enhancing Worship

  • As we position an elevator at the front of the building, we will make it easier for people to get to whichever level they want to go, including the sanctuary.
  • As we construct a new glass wall at the entrance to the sanctuary, we will give people an opportunity to peek inside, and maybe even to stop for prayer on a busy day.
  • As we install a hearing loop under the new tile floor, those of us with hearing devices are going to hear more clearly.
  • As we add a step to our chancel area and move the chancel closer to the people, we will more readily see the worship leaders.
  • As we get new cameras, we plan to put baptisms, Story Time, and other key events up on the screen so worshippers will be more engaged. The new cameras will also greatly improve our streaming service to those worshipping online.
  • As we replace our aging pews with shorter ones, we will have greater flexibility for smaller, more intimate worship services, including funerals, weddings, and Wednesday worship.
  • As we raise up the cross and follow the River of Life down the center aisle and out to our new baptismal font, we will be reminded of Jesus as the source of our life together.

Extending Hospitality

  • As we take down the wall to the lounge, we will open up space for people to connect. Newcomers especially will have an easier time joining in.
  • As we add a sliding wall to the outside half of the lounge, we will have the flexibility of closing off a quieter meeting space.
  • As we finish up the HVAC project, there will be better air flow and more comfortable temperature control throughout the building.
  • As we move the library to the main traffic area, increased visibility and new seating arrangements will enhance our readership.
  • As we arrange comfortable seating in the area where the library used to be, we will open up space for smaller, more informal gatherings.
  • As we create a new resource center, we will provide important information about our church and its programs for members and guests.
  • As we clean up the clutter on the second and third levels of the building, and add fresh coats of paint and new artwork – which are also goals of the annual appeal – we will renew our sense of hospitality and welcome for all who use our space.

Expanding Mission

  • As we commit to tithe all monies given to the capital campaign, we will continue to be a congregation that is deeply engaged in mission for the sake of the world.
  • As we expand our Open Table ministry in Rochester, our big yellow truck will be heading out on some Wednesdays, in addition to Thursdays, and we will consider expanding to offer some personal items for guests.
  • As we more fully live into our location in downtown Rochester, we plan to partner with Lutheran Social Service to create a drop-in center for youth who are at risk of homelessness.
  • As we strive to deepen our ties to Luther College which is already within our building, and to UMR just down the block, we will explore new ways to care for college students.
  • As we strengthen our partnership with Iambi Hospital in Tanzania, we look to provide essential medical equipment and to help develop a farm to support the hospital and its staff.

This is our vision for the future. It’s why we are engaged in this capital campaign. As I said at the outset, it’s an ambitious project. We’re going to need God’s help and yours to get it done. In a book about fundraising, Henri Nowen challenges us: “We have a vision that is amazing and exciting. We are inviting you to invest yourself through the resources God has given you – your energy, your prayers, and your money – in this work to which God has called us.”

Whether you are able to give a little or a lot, please know that every gift counts. Together we are    investing in our church and our future. And we will continue to build bridges of understanding and peace, reach out with compassion, and share the hope of Jesus.

Pastor Vern