IN THE CITY FOR GOOD: A CAPITAL CAMPAIGN FOR THE MISSION OF KOUNTZE MEMORIAL LUTHERAN CHURCH
A Letter From
Dr. Robert and Sandy Fonda,
and Rev. Dean Bard, Commitment Team
Rarely in life, or in the life of a congregation, do we have the opportunity to do something truly remarkable, which will contribute mightily to our future as God’s people. The members of Kountze Memorial Lutheran Church stand at the threshold of such a moment. We believe that God is calling us to seize an opportunity to acquire properties adjacent to our church and to prepare for an even more vigorous mission for many years to come. This is a large and complicated undertaking, as you can imagine. Committees and individuals have been exploring options and negotiating possible arrangements. Our congregation is blessed with a cadre of exceptional leaders, with an array of professional qualifications, who have carried on that work diligently for months. Their promising efforts have moved steadily toward concrete proposals, which we expect to be unveiled in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, they have been prevented from communicating many details up to this point because of legal constraints related to delicate negotiations. Please know that they are proceeding with the full knowledge, oversight and support of our pastor, church council and endowment board. Transparency is important to the members of Kountze Memorial. We also trust that you understand that those working on our behalf are doing so with the utmost integrity and professionalism. They will make a detailed presentation to us on the project at the Adult Forum on Sunday, Oct. 4.
This we know for sure: a new day is coming, and we need your prayers and support now in order to realize its tremendous potential. A capital campaign, authorized by the church council, is about to be launched. In the course of it, concrete details about goals and plans will become much clearer with a well prepared prospectus and presentations. But we now want to share what we can, details about the campaign itself, to give you a clearer sense of what is unfolding.
First, we must emphasize that our regular Fall stewardship effort and the capital campaign will be conducted together. Your steady, growing support for Christ’s ongoing mission here is an integral part of this campaign, and you will be urged to make your regular pledged commitment for 2016. In addition to that commitment, you will be urged to make a special pledge, to be given over the next three years, for the exceptional project that is before us.
Four campaign committees are preparing this effort: the Inspiration Team, the Information Team, the Special Events Team and the Commitment Team. The Inspiration Team prepares a devotional booklet, recruits visitors to take information to all of our homes, provides for inspiration, including guest speakers and temple talks, arranges for special commissioning and worship services; the Information Team prepares printed materials such as letters, bulletin inserts and articles for the newsletter; the Special Events Team prepares all-congregational rally events, which include meals free of charge, where information and the enthusiasm for this project will be shared; finally, the Commitment Team works to secure the commitments of our members both for our 2016 budget and for the special three-year campaign. Our goal is to personally reach out to every household in our congregation and engage your active participation.
Your prayers and generous support for this venture are requested by all of us preparing for the campaign and by all the leaders guiding these processes. May God go before us and richly bless us in this undertaking.
Robert and Sandy Fonda
Dean W. Bard
KOUNTZE MEMORIAL LUTHERAN CHURCH LAUNCHES CAPITAL CAMPAIGN
TO RE-DEVELOP KETV PROPERTY FOR ITS PANTRY, CLINIC
Kountze Memorial Lutheran Church has announced a capital campaign titled “In the City for Good” to help fund a proposed $5 million project to re-develop their newly acquired property at 27th and Douglas sts., where Omaha TV station KETV is currently located.
KETV, which is owned by Hearst Television, Inc., announced in 2013 it had purchased and would be renovating the historic Burlington Station at 1001 S 10th St. for its TV operations and would vacate the station at 2665 Douglas St. KETV has been located adjacent to the church since 1957.
Kountze Memorial Lutheran Church, an ELCA congregation founded in 1858, has been located at 2650 Farnam St. since 1906. They have purchased and expect to take possession of the KETV property in early 2016.
“After careful planning by our church leaders and members for more than a year, we are excited about the proposed plans for the KETV property,” said Senior Pastor Jeffery Alvestad. “Kountze has always been a ‘city-wide church with a world-wide mission,’ and this expansion will enable us to continue to serve Omaha through our growing pantry and clinic ministries and continue to serve in our role as an important anchor to our neighborhood.”
The church plans to demolish the TV station and build two connected 5,000 square foot buildings that would house a one-story medical clinic and the two-story Kountze Commons. The new buildings would also be connected to the original church building via a 2,600 square foot link that will look out to new green space. The plans also include new and renovated parking areas.
Kountze Memorial is in negotiations with a major local healthcare provider to lease the clinic space, which would also be used at least once a week by Kountze’s Healing Gift Free Clinic. Since opening the Healing Gift Free Clinic at the church five years ago, basic health care services have been provided to individuals per week, who would otherwise be unable to seek medical assistance. The clinic serves approximately 30-40 patients per week by appointment.
The Kountze Commons would allow for expansion of the church’s food pantry, which began more than 35 years ago. In 2014, the church’s pantry served 19,579 people, an average of 376 per week. The open-space area can also be used for other church functions, including meetings, receptions and youth activities.
Pauline Brager, a long-time member of Kountze who is serving as the honorary chair of the capital campaign, told members at the congregational meeting on Oct. 4, “KETV has been wonderful neighbors to us, but we are land-locked, and there are changes happening all around us. The Lord is going to work through us to make this happen. I’m just so excited about this project to expand the work we are doing.”
“These are exciting times for Kountze Memorial Lutheran Church,” said Dr. Robert Fonda, a member of Kountze and co-chair of the capital campaign. “Our clinic and pantry serve a critical role in this community, so this campaign will help us grow in our service to Omaha.”