by LuAnn Ferguson
I love visiting the congregations of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). I am blessed to be able to do this almost on a daily basis. As regional manager for the Mission Investment Fund (MIF), I call on congregations throughout Minnesota.
MIF is the ELCA’s lending ministry. We make loans to congregations and ELCA-related ministries for building projects. Our loans help build and renovate new sanctuaries, classrooms, food pantries and soup kitchens, and affordable housing units. MIF funds these loans with the investments we offer for ELCA members and congregations to purchase.
[bctt tweet=”Our loans help build and renovate new sanctuaries, affordable housing, and more.” username=”womenoftheelca”]
Women of the ELCA participants are in the heart of my territory during this year’s Tenth Triennial Gathering, July 13-16. Minneapolis is home to such a vibrant Lutheran community. Members take an active role in worship as well as outreach to their neighbors in the community and around the world. Congregations here are thoughtfully considering their future directions.
Normandale Lutheran, Edina
Normandale Lutheran Church in Edina, a near suburb of Minneapolis, stands as a model for strategic thinking. This congregation undertook a strategic visioning process that they named “All Together in One Place.” Congregation members and leaders considered plans for the church building, current outreach activities and a vision for important ministry work to come.
Out of this strategic planning process came a two-phase renovation project, and Normandale Lutheran Church turned to the Mission Investment Fund for a loan to help fund the work. Phase 1, now completed, focused on enhancing the church’s fellowship hall and Fireside Room. Now a dramatic vaulted ceiling and immense windows bring in light and offer spectacular sunset views. Phase 2 of the project is currently under way, with plans for a new chapel and physical activity spaces.
When my son, Connor, was a few years younger, I often brought him along on my visits to churches like Normandale. My husband and I established a special MIF4KIDZ investment account for Connor. This account will mature when Connor turns 18—that’s only four years away and it will be just in time to help pay for college tuition, books, and room and board.
I’ve always explained to my son that his MIF4KIDZ investment helps fund MIF’s loans that help build churches. He would see this work first-hand as he toured revitalized churches with me. He loved the connection between his investment and the good work these churches are doing.
I’d love to share with you more stories of the churches that are able to expand their ministry work because they have refurbished spaces. Perhaps your church has a particular vision that includes a building project? Perhaps you, like my son, Connor, see the value in investing in MIF?
I will be at the Women of the ELCA’s Gathering this week in Minneapolis, along with other representatives of the Mission Investment Fund. Find us out as you visit The Ra’ah Village exhibit area. We’d love to meet you!
(Editor’s note: The Mission Investment Fund is a generous sponsor of the Tenth Triennial Gathering in Minneapolis, Minn., July 13-16. If you’re attending the gathering, visit them in their booth in The Ra’ah Village exhibit area .)
LuAnn Ferguson is regional manager for the Mission Advancement Fund for Minnesota. Learn more about the Mission Investment Fund, a ministry of the ELCA, here.
Photo of Normandale Lutheran’s new sanctuary.