Print Version of Deﬁcit Elimination Appeal Presentation
(Presented June 10, 2018 after worship services)
Our exterior restoration project is 2 years old! Many of us recall the lifts around the church for the roofing crew in the fall and winter of 2015. Particle board “windows” adorned our sanctuary during Lent of 2016. The project wrapped up that summer. The project for restoring the exterior of our church building cost about $500,000. To complete the project we borrowed just under $250,000 from Horicon Bank. Today, by God’s generous grace, we owe about $140,000 on that loan.
Since the interest rate on our loan was set for 4 years and those 4 years end this December, and the interest rate on reﬁnancing the loan would certainly increase, your Church Council suggests that now is the time to tackle the balance owed, and another issue that is related.
Since our regular offerings for our General Fund (“Current Expenses” on our offering envelopes), which support the day to day ministry work of our congregation, have remained “ﬂat” over the last 6 to 7 years, but certain expenses beyond our control, such as Health Insurance premium payments for our Teachers and Pastors, have increased substantially every year, our General Fund be consistently been in deﬁcit. We have had to borrow money to pay our regular expenses. It has been our practice, and that of many churches, to borrow from our own “Special Purpose” or “Dedicated” funds rather than borrow from a bank and pay interest on what is borrowed. At this point in time, our cash on hand for all funds has been reduced to about $40,000.
Since 2016 we have borrowed from our Special or Dedicated Funds approximately $110,000 to meet the day to day operating expenses paid through our General Fund. Add to this the $140,000 we still owe Horicon Bank on our Restoration loan, and we have a debt of $250,000; $110,000 of which we owe ourselves.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, now is the time to tackle this! Your Church Council proposes an ambitious but, we believe, under God’s blessing achievable plan. We propose that each of us maintain, or even slightly increase the regular offerings for General Fund Current Expenses we bring to our Savior God when we come to worship. We are also encouraging special gifts to reduce the $110,000 accumulated deﬁcits to payback our Dedicated Funds by the end of this year. Special Deﬁcit offering envelopes are available for such special gifts. And ﬁnally, we propose trying to eliminate the $140,000 balance on our restoration project loan. We know this is ambitious. We also know the grace and goodness of our God.
We propose this “plan of attack” under a guiding theme or motto which you have seen the last few weeks: LOOK AT WHAT WE HAVE!
Dear friends, from our God we have the Gospel of Jesus-the good news that for Jesus’ sake we are right with God and are promised eternal life in heaven. We have so much in this life to sustain us until Jesus takes us home to heaven. We have so much to use that supports proclaiming that Gospel to one another, to people of our community and of our world. We have so much as a congregation that supports this Gospel sharing—buildings and Bible education programs such as our School, Sunday School, Vacation Bible School and Bible classes. May each of us LOOK AT WHAT WE HAVE from our good and gracious God! May each of us use what we have for his glory and the mission he gives us as his people! Please pray about this. Please do what our God enables you to do, and there may be sources we each have that we’ve never thought of! (Employer charitable gift matching, stocks, IRA Required Minimum Distributions, etc.)
Fall-Winter-Spring Worship Schedule
Our Fall-Winter-Spring worship schedule resumes Sunday, September 9.
- Thursdays: 6:30pm.
- Sunday: 7:30, 9:00 & 10:30am.
- Sunday School: 9:00am.
First Friday Communion
The pastors often hear from our homebound members how they miss being with God’s people in God’s house. Some can still get out, but may not able to get to an early morning service or sit for a whole hour. We now have a brief (20-25 minutes) Communion Service on the first Friday afternoon of the month. Our First Friday Communions for the next months will be:
- Friday, September 7 at 1:30pm
- Friday, October 5 at 1:30pm
The ramp and elevator entrances will be open.
Christian Education Sunday – August 26
The focus of our worship will be the treasure of God’s truth that instructs us for life and for eternity. Children need to learn it. Adults need to review and remember it.
- Installation of Teachers – New teachers in our school, Mrs. Erin Krebs (6th Grade, upper grades Social Studies) and Mrs. Tiffany Vanderhoof (1st Grade) will be installed into their called positions. Returning Lutheran Elementary School teachers and Sunday School teachers will renew their promises to faithfully represent our God as they teach.
Guest Organist – Charles Bonow
Charles Bonow will be our guest organist on September 20 & 23. Charles presents his service-concerts at WELS and ELS churches across the country. He previously presented his concerts at St. Stephen’s in 2008 and 2013. A freewill offering will be taken to help with his expenses. For more information go to http://www.charlesbonow.com/
Christian Education Opportunities
Sunday School begins on September 9
Sunday School is the Christian Education program for children ages 4 years – 8th Classes meet 9:00 – 10:00am. No pre-registration is necessary, just bring your child to the school classroom for their grade level (rooms will have signs). This time for study of God’s Word is especially geared for our children not attending St. Stephen’s School, so that they receive a foundation in Bible truths. Children just under 4 years old who can be attentive for 10-15 minutes of a Bible lesson are also welcome in our Nursery/Pre-K class.
Catechism / Confirmation Classes Begin
- 7th & 8th Grade Public School Catechism Classes will be conducted together with Good Shepherd. They will meet Wednesdays only, 3:30-4:45pm. Classes begin Wednesday, September 5. Parents will be contacted with details.
- Public School 6th Grade Catechism classes will begin September 12 at 3:30pm.
- Questions? Call Pastors Dorn, Heyer or Stratman.
- Special programs can be worked out for special needs student who may need specialized instruction. Parents may contact one of the pastors.
For all adults…
September 10 and 12 we will begin a Bible study Lord, Teach Us to Pray, which will begin with a review of the Lord’s Prayer, we will also look at what the Bible teaches about prayer and the practice of prayer. We will meet Mondays at 7:00pm and Wednesdays at 11:00pm.
The Women’s Bible Study group meets Wednesdays 6:00-7:15pm in the room above the church office. (We will not meet September 6 but on all Wednesdays after.) It’s open to all women of the congregation. We will be completing Our Bible Sisters series with “Deborah- Responding to God’s Call” in the month of August. This series highlights God’s faithfulness, with applications to the lives of all Christian women today. In late August and into September our new study will be “The Beatitudes – A Study of Matthew 5:1-16.” This is a study of the message of the Beatitudes as it applies to the 21st century. It is written to elicit discussion to enhance the understanding of the precious words of Jesus. Both of these studies are provided by the WELS Women’s Ministry. Questions about the group or the study may be directed to Ranee Welch at 887-1624.
The Men’s Bible Study meets Sunday evenings, 6:30-7:30pm. We will meet in the room above the church office. Last year we worked through the book of Romans. We will take a break for the month of August, and resume our study September 9 with a discussion of future topics.
Our Bible Information Class (BIC) is geared toward people who are not members of our congregation but who are seeking to know what the Bible teaches, and what we teach. It’s also open to any St. Stephen’s member who wishes to take a refresher course on basic biblical teachings. If you know someone who might be seeking to know what God has to say to them, please invite them and give their name to one of the Pastors. We schedule classes for Thursdays at 11:00 am, repeated at 7:30pm (after the Thursday worship service). We are very flexible and happy to accommodate anyone’s schedule. The course, entitled The Wonders of God has 20 lessons that we cover in 12-14 weeks.
Joint Church Picnic – August 26
At 11:30am we will join our brothers and sisters in Christ from Good Shepherd for the picnic at Lakeview Park (eat at noon). It will also provide a chance to meet and welcome Mrs. Krebs and Mrs. Vanderhoof. Everyone is asked to bring a side dish, salad, or dessert. Brats, hot dogs and drinks will be provided by our coordinating groups – Lutheran Teens, Lutheran Explorers, and Parent-Teacher Society. A free-will offering will be received to defray some of the food expenses. Various games will follow the meal. In case of bad weather, we’ll use the school gymnasium.
Explorers is for children from Pre-K – 6th Grade. Although we are no longer affiliated with the national Pioneer groups, we continue to have the same purpose.
- To promote Christian fellowship among the children of our congregation.
- To promote Christian citizenship as our children live as salt and light in the world.
- To learn useful life skills to glorify God and serve our neighbor.
Our first meeting will be Tuesday, September 12th, at 6:00pm at St. Stephen’s. We will register the children and have games at this first meeting. Please enter by the church office (entrance S1) and come to the basement.
St. Stephen’s OWLS
St. Stephen’s OWLS (Organization of Wisconsin Lutheran Seniors) attempts to fulfill our motto: “Caring for Others.” Presentations keep us informed of the work carried on by our Synod and about interesting activity in our community
The 2018 OWLS Convention will be October 10-12 at the Osthoff Resort in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. It’s open to all WELS and ELS retired seniors. You need not be an OWLS member. Details and other promotional materials are available at csm.welsrc.net/owls-convention-2018.
The next OWLS meeting at St. Stephen’s will be on Tuesday September 11th. A student from Ukraine who is attending our seminary will talk about our sister Lutheran church in Ukraine and its work. Please join us for the noon potluck in the church basement. The presentation will follow. Everyone is welcome to join in this fellowship.
Lutheran Teens exists for our young people grades 7-12. Their gatherings aren’t formal Bible Classes. Rather, they are activities in which our Christian teens can encourage each other in their faith through some Bible study and other fun activities. Our big activity this summer was the annual trip with teens form our sister WELS churches to Six Flags Great America. Watch our Facebook page for announcements for fall activities.
The mission of St. Stephen’s Ladies’ Aid Society is to assist the congregation in maintaining and furthering the program of the Kingdom of our Lord. We meet the first Thursday of every moth except July and August at 1:30pm in the church basement. Come, enjoy a 30-minute Bible study by one of our pastors, a business meeting followed by fellowship and a light snack. For more information please call Bonnie Wagner at 326-5872 or Bev Haas at 382-7680.
Annual Ushers’ Meeting
Our Annual Ushers’ Meeting will be held on Wednesday, September 12th, at 6:30pm in the church proper. We will review the ushering duties, emergency procedures, and anything else that involves our ushers. If any of our confirmed men are interested in serving the Lord in this special way, please contact the head of our ushering program, Del Winning, at 887-1411.
Join the Handbell Choir!!
The Handbell Choir will resume practices on Wednesday, September 19th. Practices are Wednesdays at 7:15pm in the church balcony each Wednesday. We play in church the last Sunday of the month, at Advent by Candlelight and occasionally for other functions and special services. You do not need to have experience with handbells. Please call Ranee Welch at 887-1624 and leave a message if you are interested or have any questions.
Lift Up Your Voice with the Senior Choir
Senior Choir begins rehearsal on Thursday, August 23rd, at 7:30pm after the worship service. We meet in the band/choir room of the school. During September and October we will work on music for Reformation and Thanksgiving. If you are a confirmed member and love to serve your Savior through song, we would be happy to see you join us. Bring a friend and come to the first practice to learn more about what’s happening this year. If you would like more information about Senior Choir, contact Mr. David Schulz at 920-344-9435.
St. Stephen’s Radio Service
Since 1973 St. Stephen’s has provided a half-hour radio worship service primarily for our members who are homebound and in nursing homes, but also as a tool to share God’s Word with many others. This service provides the opportunity to hear God’s precious word and to sing with fellow Christians the hymns of the faith. It airs every Sunday at 9:30am on WBEV (1430 AM).
These services involve many people – our pastors, organist, and very importantly a volunteer congregation. We record two half-hour services on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month (September – May). We start at 7:00pm and finish around 8:10. It’s a simple and pleasant way to serve Jesus and his people. Our first recording session will be Tuesday, September 11. We record in the church. The Maple Ave, church office and ramp entrances will be open. Please join us! Another way to support this ministry, if you can’t participate, is with an offering. Each half-hour Sunday service on WBEV costs about $65.
You can listen to our radio services over the internet. Go to our Radio Service Page and listen by streaming audio.
All Parents with Elementary School Age Children…
St. Stephen’s Lutheran School is an affordable, quality, Christian education for all of your children. There is no tuition charge. We have a book fee of only $650.00 per child, per year to cover technology and consumable materials.
If you have not enrolled your children in the past because you felt the cost would be too much, please reconsider. A quality, Christian education is affordable for about $3.60 a day. Members of our congregation generously support the church and school so that the children can be taught the precious message of Jesus each day.
For more information about the school please check out the Web-site at http://www.saintstephen.org/school. You can also call the school office at 885-6484 and we will gladly discuss the school with you.
Also check out Good Shepherd Preschool for your K3 and K4 children.
It’s that time again! – Back to School
Vacation Bible School is over, and our teachers are now busy making their classrooms ready in preparation for the coming school year. What a blessing we have that we are able to share Jesus each day with the children.
Registration Packets are being delivered as teachers make their home visits. Be sure to examine all the information and bring the completed forms when you register. If you’ve lost yours, or if you have any questions, please contact Mr. Schulz (885-6484 or [email protected]org). Registration dates are August 15-16, 5:00-7:00pm and August 17-18, 9:00-11:00am. If you cannot make one of these days, please contact us.
The complete school calendar is on the school website: www.saintstephen.org/school Please note two changes to the calendar:
- PTS Chili Cookoff on Tuesday October 16
- PTS Awards Night on Monday May 13
Classrooms will be open and teachers available August 29 and 30, 5:00-7:00pm for parents and children to bring in school supplies and talk to the teachers.
Tuesday, September 4th at 8:00am. Our year will begin with a brief worship service at 8:30am in the church.
Help Our School by Saving Labels and Boxtops
- Boxtops for Education
- Milk Moola bottle caps or bags (Kwik Trip)
- Our Family UPC (proof of purchase labels). Please cut off the proof of purchase bar code and place it in the slot for St. Stephen’s at Recheck’s Food Pride or bring them directly to the school. The bar code # should key in with the #70253. Only Our Family Bar codes can be accepted.
- There are containers in the church basement for these items or send them to school with your children. Thank you for your help!
- Reminder: We no longer collect Piggly Wiggly or Kemps receipts, Campbell Soup Labels, postage stamps greeting cards or ink jet cartridges.
From the Church Office
Update Your Information for Our Records
Has your address, phone, or email changed? Help us update our records by filling out our online form at https://goo.gl/mUoZnX, or ask one of the pastors for a paper form.