CHICAGO -- Sixty-three Mission Builders of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in American (ELCA) have signed up to work on construction projects with nine congregations in 2003. "There are several projects that could be ready to build by fall, so hopefully more Mission Builders can be involved," said Dean Hiner, North Platte, Neb., program director.
Mission Builders is a program of the ELCA Division for Outreach. Builders work alongside members of the building congregation and subcontractors. Builders have also worked on several Lutheran Disaster Response projects following hurricanes, floods and other natural disasters.
Mission Builders are Christians with considerable construction skills and other "handy" folks helping congregations, schools and camps of the ELCA build their facilities. Most are retired, but others take an extended vacation with their families, willing to share their skills and faith and to work for minimum wage.
Mission Builders plan to help build three mission churches and additions to six churches in 2003:
+ Cross of Grace Lutheran Church, New Palestine, Ind.
+ Trinity Lutheran Church, Hillsdale, Mich.
+ Kent Memorial Lutheran Church, Sunrise Beach, Mo.
+ Bethany Lutheran Church, Warren, Ore.
+ Springs of Grace Lutheran Church, Boiling Springs (Spartanburg), S.C.
+ Mision Luterana San Pablo, Weslaco, Texas
+ Galilean Lutheran Church, Ocean Shores, Wash.
+ Bethesda Lutheran Church, Bayfield, Wis.
+ Christ Community Lutheran Church, Green Bay, Wis.
Hiner said there are currently 117 Mission Builders. Together, they have been involved in 415 construction projects. Ninety-six of the 117 have worked on more than one project, with one person having worked on 14 projects. The average Mission Builder has worked on more than four projects.
Hiner said Mission Builders worked with nine congregations in 2002:
+ Christ the King Lutheran Church, Cumming, Ga.
+ Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Chesterton, Ind.
+ Bethany Lutheran Church, Deer River, Minn.
+ Bethel Lutheran Church, Little Falls, Minn.
+ Trinity Lutheran Church, Hermiston, Ore.
+ Immanuel Lutheran Church, Elk Point, S.D.
+ St. John's Lutheran Church, Chehalis, Wash.
+ Hainesville Lutheran Church, Sturgeon Bay, Wis.
+ Trinity Lutheran Church, Washington Island, Wis.
Seventy-eight Mission Builders were involved in those projects, which makes a total of 705 Mission Builders who have been involved in helping 112 congregations since Mission Builders started in 1986, said Hiner.
"We always need more Mission Builders," said Hiner, "but you can see from these figures that Mission Builders love what they are doing, or they wouldn't keep doing it."
By Albert H. Lee