Emmanuel Lutheran Church—York, Nebraska

Emmanuel Lutheran Church—York, Nebraska
Voters’ Assembly Meeting
Monday, April 20, 2015
The Voters’ Assembly of Emmanuel Lutheran Church met Monday, April 20, 2015. The meeting was called
to order by President Richard Kant at 7:15 p.m. with opening prayer by Pastor Neidow. Roll call was taken
by signing in at the door; quorum was met.
The meeting minutes of the January 19, 2015, Voters’ Assembly meeting were reviewed. Motion was made
by Dave Sjuts to approve the minutes as recorded, motion seconded by Charlie Moore. Motion was carried
by vote; minutes approved as presented.
Call was made by President Kant for previously approved voters to come forward and sign the Constitution;
Pastor Ben Kaiser and Krista Branz signed their names to the Constitution to be granted rights with full
voting membership privileges. A request for nominations for new voters to the assembly was made with the
nomination of Darrel Branz presented to the Assembly. Motion was made by Dave Sjuts, seconded by Greg
Wagner to accept the nomination of Mr. Branz. Motion carried by vote of the Assembly. Mr. Branz will be
eligible to sign the constitution at the September 2015 meeting to enjoy full voting rights in the Assembly.
The report from the Church Council was presented by Council Chair Arnie Otten. No business was required.
Committee reports will be presented by board representatives.
The Treasurer’s Report was presented by Jim Winchell. As of March 31, 2015, there was $297,353.30 cash
in the bank; the Designated Fund balance is $1,950,593.30; the Building Note is at $700,136.58. A gift of
$100,000 to the Emmanuel-Faith Lutheran School has been received from the estate of Eunice Troester and a
gift of $185,000 was received in memory of Luella Apetz in which $20,000 is designated to the Endowment
Fund and $165,000 to the operating note. General fund receipts for the first quarter of 2015 were $450,451,
including the $285,000 received in the aforementioned gifts. Discussion followed regarding the options of
borrowing money as an operating note from a bank versus borrowing from designated funds to meet
operating needs.
Gene Staehr delivered the Board of Elders’ report. Staehr reported 2015 membership changes of which a
gain of 22 members was realized in the form of 1 transfer in, 2 profession-of-faith, 5 adult confirmations
(including 8 children in their respective families), and 6 baptisms. 16 membership losses were reported with
5 transfers out of the congregation and 11 funerals, resulting in an overall gain of 6 members to this point in
2015. Transferring in to the congregation is Ron Tonniges from St. Peter’s of Gresham, entering
membership by profession of faith are Chelsa Andersen and Jeanne Yowell Huff, and baptized as holy
children of God included Leland Stuhr, Hudson Blum, Jackson Scamehorn, Wyatt Branz, Beckett Sorgenfrei,
and Gabriella Conard. Transferring from Emmanuel were Doug and Becky Koopman to Faith Lutheran of
Hastings, Christopher Critel to St. John’s Lutheran of Waco, and Trevor Bellows and Corban to Good
Shepherd Lutheran in Lincoln. Transferring to the Lord’s holy kingdom of Heaven from the congregation
were Margaret Burger, Lowell Heiden, Robert Staehr, Mickey Edmunds, Edith Gloystein, Orletha Snyder,
Willis Driewer, Beverly Kramer, Vera McLain, and Kenneth Troester. This year’s Confirmation banquet
and witness ceremony will take place Wednesday, April 29, 2015, and Confirmation will be held Sunday,
May 3rd, 2015, at 10:00 a.m. 19 candidates will be presented as junior confirmands. Staehr also reported that
the Elders will undergo a training series to learn strategies for visiting inactive members. The six week
course is scheduled to begin May 6th and will be open to the congregation (of note from discussion, the
starting date of the course may be changed to May 27.)
Principal John Seim delivered the report of the School Board, sharing clarification of housing allowances for
teachers at Emmanuel-Faith Lutheran School. Mr. Seim stated that rostered, called teachers are considered
self-employed by federal tax guidelines and that a portion of the called church worker’s salary is designated
as housing allowance to relieve tax burden as self-employed individuals. Non-rostered teachers are
considered as employees of the congregation under tax code and subsequently receive a straight salary.
Mr. Seim also presented the Principal’s Report, noting that the school presented its annual spring operetta
Friday, April 17th, presented by the third, fourth, and fifth grades. 310 people attended the two performances.
Mr. Seim commended the students and teachers for their outstanding efforts and sharing of biblical truth
through the performances. Mrs. Nebraska spoke to the student body during Lutheran Schools Week,
informing the students about her project fighting juvenile cancer. The third through eighth grade students
raised $400 during the week through their “Coins for Cancer” drive that was presented for the project. The
students also brought in 200 pounds of food for the Blue Valley Food Pantry. The basketball teams
completed their seasons in the C-Club tournament in Seward. The 7th and 8th grade students will travel to
Hastings for the annual slow-pitch co-ed softball tournament. Students wishing to participate in track are
participating with St. Joseph’s Catholic School. The school is continuing to create a safe environment by
installing a system that will keep all outer doors locked. A video-audio system will allow the church and
school secretaries to remotely unlock the doors after viewing visitors on a monitor. Spring MAP testing is
currently under way. The State-mandated academic progress testing is performed on-line through a three
week series for 2nd through 8th grade students. Mr. Seim reported that the last day of school will be
Thursday, May 14 with closing service at 7:00 p.m. that evening.
The Board of Trustees report was presented by Kolby Mason, reporting that the proceeds from the school’s
fall fund-raiser will cover nearly the entire project of replacing the windows in the school and erection of an
outdoor shelter at Little Blessings. The estimate for the window replacement project was $38,000, $9,000
more than was raised with the fund-raiser.
The report of the Stewardship Board was presented by Garold Leggott, representing the Board in the absence
of Rich Hankel. The Stewardship Board will be mailing letters in the next month to the congregation to
inform everyone of the financial status of the congregation and the importance of continued faithful giving.
Mr. Leggott noted that a similar letter sent out in 2014 regarding continued giving through Forward in Faith
generated a response of $60,000. The Stewardship Board is also examining alternative on-line methods for
giving—such as PayPal or BillPay—as well as authorized automatic electronic account withdrawals for
convenient weekly or monthly giving.
Mr. Leggott also presented the Endowment Committee report, noting that approximately $360,000 was in the
endowment fund at the close of 2014. The by-laws of the endowment fund state that only interest earnings
will be disbursed for fund balances below $500,000. Disbursements may be made directly from the fund for
monies over $500,000. After the recently received gifts and anticipation of upcoming charitable gifts, the
fund will exceed the $500,000 threshold. The committee will be looking at various investment opportunities
to help generate optimal returns for the gifts received.
Greg Wagner reported that the current members of the Board of Evangelism have been very energetic and
have come up with several good ideas. The Board is looking at ways to implement these ideas into practical
missional outreach. Mr. Wagner asked for the support of the entire congregation in putting these plans in
place. The Board will be working to identify what the identity of the congregation is, where it is in terms of
reaching ministry goals, what it does well, and what it would like to do or be. From this, direction can be
made to get from where the church is to where it wants to be. Also to help accomplish this goal, the Board
will be examining needs in the community and conducting time and talent surveys in the congregation.
Pastor Ben Kaiser presented the report of the Board of Youth in the absence of Board chair, Tammy Wagner.
Pastor Kaiser reported that the weekly meetings for ELY for 2014-15 will conclude May 6th with the youth
mulching the playground. Pastor Kaiser reported that Cami Bolte has been leading the group in the “Teens
Stand Strong” sessions that she participated in at the Synod’s Teen Leadership Initiative in St. Louis. Miss
Bolte will also be representing Emmanuel at the LCMS National Youth Workers conference in New Orleans
this July that will help prepare the way for the National Youth Gathering in 2016. The Board will be
planning summer activities at its upcoming meeting and prioritizing a Top 10 list of good practices.
There was no report from the Board of Christian Nurture.
Deborah Dahlke presented the Women’s Ministry, Health and Wellness Team, and Parish Nurse report. Ms.
Dahlke shared her concern for the dwindling numbers of women involved in women’s ministries, sharing
that she welcomes ideas for recommendations on achieving the mission of the ministry. Ms. Dahlke
reminded everyone that the Health and Wellness/Parish Nurse Ministry meets monthly on the second
Monday of the month. It was reported that the Team hosted a booth at the Spring Home and Garden Show in
February, providing blood pressure checks and consulation about participant’s medications. The Team
sponsored the 2nd Annual “Walk To Jerusalem” activity during the 2015 Lenten season. The Team is looking
at continuing the healthy activity with a “Walk to Emmaus” program to continue promoting healthy activity.
LWML hosted the Lutheran Church Charity’ Comfort Dogs ministry Sunday, April 19th. The Team
encourages everyone to participate in the National Day of Prayer on Thursday, May 7th.
Pastor Ben Kaiser shared his Pastor’s report, reporting the blessings realized by the Church in the form of
charitable financial gifts, membership gains, and the unique gifts brought to the congregation through these
individuals. He warnded of the danger of looking at these blessings and becming complacent with where we
are as a congregation, reminding everyone that we must continue carrying out the mission of Christ. Pastor
Kaiser shared more information about the course that the Board of Elders will be conducting on reaching
inactive members and invited all to attend. Emmanuel will be hosting Joel Biermann for a two night seminar
in August about his book, “The Case for Christian Character” on August 5th and 6th. All are welcome and
encouraged to attend this presentation.
Pastor Mike Neidow commended Jessica Wagner and the Emmanuel-Faith Senior Choir for sharing their
musical talents. Pastor Neidow indicated that Nebraska District President Russ Sommerfeld was very
impressed with their performance at the installation service of Pastor Trampe at Faith. Pastor Neidow shared
that the Middle School youth program is drawing 30 – 40 youth for weekly activities. He is encouraged by
the outreach that it has provided since a large number of the youth that attend are unchurched or come from
unstable homes. With the recent increase in the number of funerals, Pastor Mike reported of the
opportunities to present the gospel to comfort those who are grieving and also tell the good news of salvation
to those who do not yet know Christ.
Pastor Neidow shared his policy proposal to the Voters, resolving that any monies received by Emmanuel
Lutheran Church from a person’s will or trust which is undesignated as to how it is to be used will be tithed
on, with a suggested 10% going to missionaries and mission work with the remaining 90% to be used as the
voters of Emmanuel decide. Funds designated by the wishes of the gift-giver will be used at 100% to fulfill
the giver’s expressed desire. Clarence Hoffman made a motion to adopt the policy, motion seconded by
Connie Bolte. Discussion followed asking whether the proposal should become an amendment to the
constitution. It was indicated that it would be an assurance that at least 10% of the gift would be tithed.
Motion was brought to a vote with a majority of the Assembly in favor of adopting the policy; one dissenting
vote was cast. Motion carried.
Other items of old and unfinished business were requested with none presented.
Request for new business was made. Larry Kohtz complimented the pastors of our congregation for their
ministry at funerals, stating that he has heard numerous compliments from people who have attended
funerals recently at Emmanuel.
Another issue of new business was presented by Kolby Mason on behalf of the Board of Trustees, raising
concern for the condition of the youth facility (Annex). He indicated that the Board recommends
demolishion of the facility. Discussion followed with concerns voiced in favor of the proposal and against
the proposal including concerns voiced from other entities that use the facility as Emmanuel-chartered
organizations. It was determined that the parties involved must get together to develop a plan on how to
proceed with the future of the youth facility so that a safer, functional environment can be created for the
youth ministry and other chartered organizations without being a detriment to these groups and without
incuring additional debt for the congregation.
Motion was made by Charlie Moore to adjourn the meeting; motion seconded by Kolby Mason. Motion
carried by unanimous vote of the Assembly.
Pastor Ben Kaiser closed the meeting with prayer.
Meeting was adjourned at 8:28 p.m.
The next meeting of the Voters’ Assembly will convene Monday, September 21, 2015, at 7:00 p.m. in the
Emmanuel Lutheran Fellowship Hall.
Respectfully Submitted,
Bill Bolte,
Council Secretary