In January, 2013, ten members of St. Luke's Lutheran Church
traveled to Catano, Puerto Rico, a western suburb of San Juan,
on a mission trip to meet with members of Inglesia Evangelica
Luterana Divino Salvador. This group met with members of this
280 member ELCA congregation, who has been doing Christ's
work for 110 years on this Caribbean island. This initial meeting
was to begin a partnership with them.
Divino Salvador has a facility that is over 50 years old. When our group approached them with possible ways in which we could assist, they mentioned that one of their members, Sandra Cosme-Berberena, is attending seminary and could benefit from financial assistance. St. Luke's made a financial commitment to assist with Sandra's tuition. St. Luke's also agreed to provide new front doors to their church.
In September, 2013, Pastor Carmelo Nieves, Ines Colon, Julio Cruz and Elba Natal, members of Divino Salavador, spent a week at St. Luke's getting to know many of our members including, confirmation students, senior citizens, members of the church council and the bishop. They also spent an evening with Evangelical Lutheran in Mt. Horeb, which is a South Central Synod sister congregation of theirs.
Committee members include: chair Jerry and Mary Schwoch, Peg Alt, Pastor Roger and Carolyn Eigenfeld, Pastor Heather (Lampert) Hayward, Joan Lampert,Carolyn and Dennis Turke and Rhonda Stauske.
With St. Luke's financial help, Divine Savior was able to replace their old tables, made out of coffin lids, with new ones.
Thanks to on-going financial assistance from St. Luke's Sondra Cosme Berberena was able to graduate from seminary in May of 2015. Sondra is currently doing her internship.
After months of careful planning and production, the new church doors arrived at Divine Savior. These pictures chronicle the process of the installation and the end result is spectacular. Kudos to the entire team, especially the commitment to excellence from St. Luke's members Jerry Schwoch and Mark Larson.
This past March, two of St. Luke's members, Jerry and Mary Schwoch flew to Puerto Rico and met with Pastor Carmelo and members of Divine Savior in Catano, Puerto Rico. This was a social visit and somewhat of a fact-finding mission. First on the agenda was to inspect the doors that we sent, and Jerry was pleased with the installation, and the members of Divine Savior are still very appreciative of this.
The Schwoch's met with members of the church council and discussed including Divine Savior along with St. Luke's for the tree at Luthergarten, which will commemorate 500 years since the Reformation.
Jerry and Mary also worked with members of Divine Savior to purchase a new computer and monitor, and also mentioned that St. Luke's could assist in having a web site developed for them (this would increase the awareness of Divine Savior to those in Puerto Rico that might be seeking a new church home).
Jerry also asked the church council how we might continue to assist with the ministry efforts of Divine Savior, and their council selected a project where we would supply them with tables and chairs for their fellowship areas.This will be discussed later this year.
Everyone at Divine Savior was extremely appreciative of the wonderful relationship that St. Luke's has established with them.