National Lutheran News

LCMS mission program gets cyberhelp

Grass-roots effort is fund-raising via the Internet

A modest suggestion, shared in a letter to the editor of the national magazine of the LCMS, has led to a ground swell of response.

In the January issue of The Lutheran Witness, the Rev. Arthur Simon of Colmar Manor, Maryland, suggested one dollar from each of the 2.5 million baptized members in the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod would equal the current $2-3 million shortfall in World Mission.

Simon didn’t go so far as to suggest an actual appeal for such funds, but a church member from Omaha, Ne-braska, did. Paul Koehler sent an e-mail to fellow church members, urging them to send $1 to church headquarters in St. Louis for each member of their household, and to send the e-mail on to other LCMS members.

Koehler started the ball rolling by sending a copy of the e-mail, printed out, in an envelope with three one- dollar bills, to St. Louis.

By the end of February, $28,845 had been mailed in, with no sign the flow of cash would slow any time soon.

The Rev. Ronald Nelson directs World Mission Support for the LCMS. He told the church’s leadership newspaper, Reporter, “It’s really just the beginning, because I see stacks of mail four or five inches high with gifts for this effort.”

Nelson said he’s getting as many as 50 letters a day with contributions generated by Koehler’s e-mail campaign. Nelson explained the effort is unprecedented.

In December, the denomination had announced it was calling missionaries home due to lack of funds.