15 Jul

LESA Volunteer Spotlight: Ken Horvath

LESA Volunteer Spotlight: Ken Horvath

Retired teacher Ken Horvath has been sharing his time and talents with Lutheran school students for 40 years, first as a teacher and now as a volunteer for LESA. Ken and his wife Gail are also creating a lasting legacy for Lutheran education through planned giving.

Read on to learn more about Ken’s commitment to LESA and our member schools.   

How & why do you volunteer for LESA?  

When called upon, I help sort, organize and inventory the Lego Education WeDo 2.0 and Mindstorm EV3 robotics sets after they come back from use at one of our Lutheran schools. 

I taught at Green Park Lutheran School for 30 years ending in 2010 before I took a call to serve in Vietnam at Concordia International School Hanoi before I retired in 2016.  For ten years at Green Park I helped with an after-school First Lego League robotics team.  Managing, organizing, purchasing parts and obtaining funds was part of that.  Using that experience to help LESA inventory their sets seemed like a good way to continue to help serve kids in our Lutheran schools in a small way.

(Click here for news coverage of Ken’s time at Concordia International School Hanoi.)

How did you become involved with LESA and Lutheran education? 

Both my wife and I are graduates of Concordia University Nebraska and have been Lutheran Elementary educators all our lives. Coming to St. Louis introduced us to LESA and their workshops for teachers.  My wife, Gail, served with LESA’s Educational Resources director Laura Montgomery at Abiding Savior Lutheran School. With those relationships it was easy to say “yes” to volunteer some time.  I like the saying, “Many hands make a burden light.”

Why is Lutheran education important? 

It is vital that families nurture their children with the Word of God in their homes, worship life in church, and in their formal education.  This provides continuous exposure to the work of the Holy Spirit as He brings His message of salvation.  Children are receiving the same message and values from home, church and school. Along with that and motivated by God’s love, Lutheran schools strive to provide the best possible education.  

You recently decided to support LESA through planned giving. Why? 

Yes, as part of our estate planning we have included LESA through The LCMS Foundation that will provide ongoing support. This was an easy decision to help support Lutheran schools locally so that the Gospel will continue to be proclaimed to children for generations to come. Gail and I understand the financial struggle to send children to a Lutheran school and – as Lutheran teachers – making each school dollar stretch and going without. By supporting Lutheran schools financially, we hope to ease that burden a bit, making it easier for families to decide to send their kids to a Lutheran school. 

What do you do when you’re not volunteering for LESA?

Currently we are members of Historic Trinity Lutheran Church in the Soulard area.  I enjoy helping to upkeep the grounds and do some painting around church.  Gail enjoys singing in the choir.  We help take care of our grandsons two days a week and like to travel. 

Hobbies or interests, in addition to LESA?  

Gardening, traveling, family history, science.

Favorite Scripture Quote?

1 Corinthians 1:18-25, at the moment – I guess particularly verse 25: 

“For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.”

But the whole thing is quite good especially in giving us a point of view as we teach the knowledge of men and the good news of salvation in our Lutheran schools. God’s Word comes first.

Thank you, Ken, for supporting LESA and Lutheran schools! 

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09 Jul

LESA Lutheran Schools Prepare Back-to-School Plans

LESA Lutheran Schools Prepare Back-to-School Plans

Updated 7/21/20 – As parents throughout the St. Louis area navigate changing information for schools and childcare in the age of Covid-19, LESA’s 34 member Lutheran schools are planning carefully for fall. Since LESA member schools serve a wide range of communities – from suburban to urban to rural – schools are facing different guidelines according to their locations.
Here’s a look at what some of our member schools are doing to share the blessings of Lutheran education in-person this fall.

Abiding Savior Lutheran – St. Louis County (South)
“When our interaction with our students is limited to computer screens and shortened periods of time, it interferes with our ability to invest in them at a personal level and even at the spiritual and academic levels. To that end, it is our fervent desire that we be able to open our campus to in-person schooling this fall on August 12. Guidelines and requirements from the CDC, St. Louis County Executive and Health Department will influence or determine the manner in which we deliver school, and the processes and procedures we will use.”
Megan Arnold, Director of Admissions

Child of God Lutheran – St. Charles County (St. Peters)
“The St. Charles administrators meet weekly to discuss and talk through health and safety protocols. We are all planning on opening as scheduled in August. Child of God opened June 1 for summer camp and we’ve been using it as a pilot for fall. So far so good.”
Dr. Melissa Sandfort, Principal

Christ Community Lutheran School – St. Louis County (West)
“CCLS will begin the 2020-21 school year on its four campuses August 19. We have developed a Back to School 2020-2021 Plan for reopening that provides a tiered approach with actionable steps that will be taken before students and employees return to school buildings, along with school actions that will be taken given the possibility of varied levels of community spread of COVID-19 throughout the school year. As a People-Focused school, the health and safety of our students and staff is of utmost importance. We look forward to being together in person after many months of separation.”
CCLS Charger Newsletter

Grace Chapel Lutheran – St. Louis County (North)
“At this time we are planning to start “regular” school August 24. We will be taking precautions such as taking temperatures as students/staff enter the building, streaming chapel instead of gathering, as well as not rotating classes for middle school and elective courses. We will also follow any CDC or state regulations that come up as time goes on. We are prepared to have virtual learning again if that becomes a requirement.”
Irene Desmond, Director of Admissions

Holy Cross Lutheran – Illinois (Collinsville)
“At Holy Cross, we are asking parents to fill out a survey on an in-person or remote learning platform for this fall. In the meantime, we will continue working on a Final Live Document for how our schedules might look. Then, after gathering all of the necessary information, I will meet with my staff on August 3, 2020, to develop our final plan.”
Darrin Houck, Principal

Lutheran High School South – St. Louis County (South)
“At Lutheran South, we are eagerly looking forward to welcoming our students back to campus in August. We are planning for in-person, face-to-face learning experiences that begin August 13. Our school leadership team has worked with various members of our community and public health experts to develop the plan for a return this fall, including following all of the guidelines as described in St. Louis County’s “Return to School Guidance” document, published July 7, 2020. As we continue to study the best information to ensure health and wellness, we will update this plan and our communications with honesty, clarity and transparency.”
Jonathan Butterfield, Principal 

Messiah Lutheran – St. Charles County (Weldon Spring)
“We plan on returning to full-time in-person school on August 19. We put out two surveys (Early Childhood and K-8 families) that proved to be very useful in getting our fingers on the pulse of what parents are thinking and feel comfortable with. Overwhelmingly, parents just want to see their kids back in our building with as normal a school experience as possible. As far as plans and protocol, we are creating a plan to integrate and maintain educational best practices which promote student learning as well as social, emotional, and spiritual development in the safest manner we are able.”
Cat Van Hook, Director of Admissions

St. John’s Lutheran – Jefferson County (Arnold)
“We announced to our school parents in early June that we are planning on in-person school, five days per week … and this announcement was well-received! Along with the announcement, we reminded parents that there will be some “changes” and preventive measures … yet to be determined.”
David Florine, Principal

St. John School – St. Louis County (Ellisville/West)
“St. John School’s plan shows the three possible conditions for the next school year.       Our intention is to function within the yellow tier: “Campus Open with Accommodations.” This plan shows the actionable steps that will be taken before students and employees return to school buildings, along with appropriate actions that will be taken depending on the level of COVID-19 risk. While careful consideration has gone into the creation of this plan, we recognize that this plan must provide flexibility to allow us to respond to potential changes in local health regulations. In all of this planning, we blend the best of human wisdom with an ultimate reliance on the protection of God.”
St. John School: 2020-21 School Year Re-Entry Plan

St. Paul’s Lutheran – St. Louis County (Des Peres)
“Opening St. Paul’s Lutheran School to in-person instruction on August 19 is our main priority this summer. We pledge to review all mandated and suggested policies and guidelines from the CDC, pediatricians, and St. Louis County leaders while maintaining our Lutheran heritage, our St. Paul’s identity, and family culture. We will use our best judgment, seek best practices, use good-faith measures, and create reasonable and common-sense approaches to this health pandemic in our nation and world.”
Janet Profilet, Principal

Word of Life – St. Louis City (South)
“Word of Life’s plans for re-opening for the 2020-2021 school year are the in final stages and should be ready to release to our families in the upcoming week. Our goal, as we have worked through this, is to be open for parents that would like to return to the traditional 5-day in-school model with great care given to social distancing recommendations. But we also will have an option for parents who would like to continue with remote learning. We have indicated to families that this is the plan we are working on. Technology to accomplish this has already been ordered. We are now working out details as we think all of the options need to be fully prepared and shared so that families can make the best decision. These plans continue to be fluid, as they are for any school and district, based on the severity of the spread of Covid-19. An increase high enough to recommend schools in the entire area go to distance learning (as they did last spring) would have an effect on these plans. And should the spread and concern decrease, we can then start altering the plans for less restrictions when they are possible.”
Melissa Bergholt, Principal

Zion Lutheran – Illinois (Belleville)
“We are planning in-person school with our first day of the year to be August 17. All public and non-public schools in Illinois serving Pre-K through 12th grade must follow the guidelines set forth by the Illinois State Board of Education in conjunction with the Illinois Department of Public Health. Face masks, wellness checks, social distancing as much as possible, and an increase in schoolwide cleaning and disinfecting will be part of our new daily routines. We have a task force in place that has been working diligently on reopening plans this summer, and more specific information will be given to our enrolled families in the coming weeks. We started our summer program on campus in June, so we have a lot of processes in place to keep kids safe and healthy. We look forward to having our students back in classrooms and on our campus very soon.”
Erica Stelling, Director of Admissions

Zion Lutheran – Illinois (Bethalto)
“Zion Lutheran School Bethalto is planning to open for Fall 2020 and has every intention to do so. The first day of school in our building for Kindergarten through Grade 8 students is scheduled for August 12. We are following the State of Illinois guidelines for reopening and making the necessary adaptations for our school.”
Laura Warfel, Director of Admissions

Click here to contact schools directly about enrollment or opening plans, or to find a Lutheran school near you.  And check back for updates to this story as schools finalize their plans.

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09 Jul

LESA Updates Communication Arts Curriculum

LESA Updates Communication Arts Curriculum

In June, a committee of 12 teachers from seven LESA member schools gathered at Glendale Lutheran Church (one of four CCLS Early Childhood campuses) to begin updating LESA’s Communication Arts Curriculum Guide. Their mission? To help students share their faith and the love of our Savior through Communication Arts.

The ability to read, comprehend, and construct the written word and language is essential to student success. Updating curriculum allows for continuing improvement of the educational programs offered at our schools and provides an opportunity for teachers to grow in their profession. As educators are better prepared to teach, children in prekindergarten – eighth grade are better equipped for the world in which they live and function. As a result, God’s Kingdom can flourish and His gospel can be more effectively spread to all. 

The aim of the Communication Arts Curriculum Guide is for teachers to instill in students:

  •         The ability to decode, comprehend, and process information
  •         A love of literature leading to lifelong appreciation of various genres
  •         The skills to be life-long independent readers and learners

In order to achieve these goals, the curriculum writing committee identified three major strands for instruction which include Reading, Language and Writing, and Speaking and Listening.

The committee reviews the current Missouri English Language Arts standards and Illinois standards, which are the Common Core State Standards, in formulating the LESA Communication Arts standards.   

The LESA Difference

How can our Lutheran faith be integrated into the teaching of Communication Arts?   The ultimate goal of Communication Arts is children fulfilling the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20), by sharing their faith and the love of our Savior with the world.  As “missionaries in training,” this includes reading and memorizing the Bible and Lutheran confessional texts and responding through written and spoken word.  As instructed in 1 Peter 3:15 (In your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.), we are training students to defend their faith through written works and scripture imprinted upon their hearts.

The updated Communication Arts Curriculum guide will be shared with member schools in August.

Thank you to the LESA educators from CCLS, Abiding Savior; St. John’s, Arnold; St. John, Ellisville; Word of Life; Child of God and St. Paul’s, Troy who are taking time away from their summer vacations to carry out this important work!

To learn more about the Educational Resources LESA provides to our member schools, click here.

Laura Montgomery, Director
Educational Resources

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01 Jul

LESA Statement: Supreme Court Ruling on State Aid to Religious Schools

LESA Statement: Supreme Court Ruling on State Aid to Religious Schools

(July 1, 2020) St. Louis, MO – “The Supreme Court’s decision is a victory for families who deserve the right to choose the best educational system for their children, and for the educators in faith-based schools who are committed to preparing children for whatever their futures may hold – academically, emotionally and spiritually. On behalf of the 34-member schools and 8,300 children we serve in the greater St. Louis area, the Lutheran Elementary School Association believes this ruling will have a positive impact on educational opportunities for children and families in our community.”

Sue Nahmensen, CEO
Lutheran Elementary School Association (LESA)

Related Coverage

Supreme Court lifts ban on state aid to religious schooling
By Mark Sherman, Associated Press

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09 Jun

LESA Volunteer Spotlight: Marilyn Brickler

LESA Volunteer Spotlight: Marilyn Brickler

The heart of our LESA Ministry lies in its supporters, volunteers and caring staff, which is why Marilyn Brickler, Chair of the LESA Board of Directors, is a true gift to the students, families and schools that we serve. Marilyn’s dedication to supporting and strengthening Lutheran Christian Education reminds us why our ministry matters.

Read on to learn more about Marilyn’s servant leadership for LESA.

How did you first become involved with LESA?

This is my sixth year on the Board, and my third year as Chair. I first became involved with LESA when Kit Auble, LESA’s Director of Fund Development and Marketing, asked me to attend a LESA Fund Development meeting. Kit and I previously had chaired the Green Park Lutheran School auction, so we knew each other well. I was then asked to be a Board member, and a year later Kit asked me to chair the Fund Development Committee.

In addition to LESA, I’ve been involved in many Lutheran service organizations. I served 12 years on Green Park Lutheran School’s Board (six as chair). I then “graduated” to the Lutheran High School Association Board where I served six years (one as chair). I then went on the Board of Lutheran Family and Children’s Services (three years as chair). An interesting side note for me is that one of my sons now serves as Vice Chair of Lutheran Family and Children’s Services, and later will succeed to the position of Chair. I also have served 15 years on the Board of the Arcadia Cottage Colony Association and nine years on the Board of Lutheran Camp Association.

Most of my involvement has been with educational organizations. My degree is in elementary education through Lindenwood College. I taught kindergarten in the Bayless School District for four years. When my husband, John, joined the Army Judge Advocate General’s Corp we moved to Charlottesville, Virginia, where I did some substitute teaching and our oldest son was born. We now have five sons, and, although they are all grown, elementary education is still important to me. We also have 10 grandchildren.

Why is LESA’s mission important to you?

Over the years I’ve seen Lutheran education evolve. Academically, it’s grown. The new K-8 STEM Program is so vital for kids going forward, and the schools are doing a much better job of marketing themselves. LESA has had an important part in that. LESA also plays an important role in curriculum development by reviewing every part of curriculum on a revolving basis every five years. LESA also is involved in professional development for teachers and administrators. So, basically, LESA’s mission is important to me because I feel very strongly about Lutheran Christian education. It goes back to the Bible verse: “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6.

If students get that foundational eight years of Lutheran Christian Education – where every course is taught from a Christian perspective and the love of Christ is ingrained in them – that’s just invaluable. I feel strongly about the good things happening in our schools and that LESA is supporting that in many ways.

Fundraising is important to sustain LESA’s mission. This year, because of COVID-19, LESA’s auction (its most important fundraiser) had to be virtual rather than live. That didn’t stop LESA supporters from raising a phenomenal total of $263,000. That is so important for providing scholarships. With many parents furloughed or out of work, the need for tuition support is larger than ever. The LESA Board and staff also have done a tremendous job, moving quickly to secure the Paycheck Protection Program loan to help protect the operating budget, and being proactive in arranging a short-term loan, if needed. LESA also has been blessed to receive a $50,000 Partner Stability Grant from Lutheran Foundation of St. Louis, as well as an increase for scholarships in a grant from the Wayne C. Kaufmann Charitable Foundation. LESA is succeeding because God has blessed it with great people.

What is your favorite part of what you do for LESA?

I like recruiting Board and committee members. I know many dedicated people that I’ve worked with on other boards. I also like the fund development aspect of it. I am not afraid of asking – that’s not everyone’s cup of tea. (WARNING: If “Brickler” appears on your caller ID, it’s likely Marilyn “Asking”). I really enjoy the people I work with – the LESA staff, Board members and other committee members. It is personally rewarding to share time and ideas with them.

What is your personal experience with Lutheran Schools?

I grew up in St. Louis and attended Ascension Lutheran School (now Word of Life Lutheran School) through the 4th grade, and then transferred to Mount Calvary Lutheran School (now part of CCLS). I went on to Lutheran High School South.

My husband and I joined Resurrection Lutheran Church in Sappington in 1973 where we are still members. Resurrection is one of four parishes that own and operate Green Park Lutheran School, and John serves on its Board. All five of our sons went to Green Park, and, until a year or so ago, we held the record for the family with the most kids continuously enrolled there.

What do you do when you’re not volunteering for LESA?

We go to Michigan every summer, usually from the first of June until early October, where we have a summer home connected to Camp Arcadia Lutheran Summer Camp. I’ve been going there since I was three years old. It is a beautiful place of faith and fellowship, and I spend time with friends I have grown up with. We play bridge and do dinners. My other hobby is collecting recipes. I subscribe to 26 cooking magazines and I collect and catalogue recipes by veggies, meats, desserts and the like. I love to cook, especially creative everyday recipes. These last few months have been great for that. I love to experiment and to host dinner parties.

What are your hopes for the future of Lutheran Education and LESA?

I really believe it is important to involve our congregations more and to reach out to parents and grandparents who can help support LESA. We look for help with fundraising activities such as Brew in the Lou or our annual Cooking for Kids Tribute Dinner-Auction at whatever level of involvement they can do. I think many of our families don’t really realize what we all do at LESA, and I think that is an area where we can improve. We’re still kind of the new kid on the block. God has blessed LESA this year in terms of donors and large gifts, and we’ve even picked up some new donors from the online auction.

People really do value Lutheran Christian education for their children and grandchildren and I believe that they want to see it continue and thrive. For many that will require some level of financial assistance. I also believe that if a Christian foundation is laid – train up a child in the way he should go – with Lutheran education through confirmation, that will form the basis for a Christ-centered life.

Another plus is the way the academics have improved over the years, and my hope is that they will continue to improve. As we look to the future, I know that God will bless us.

Thank you Marilyn for being a blessing to LESA and our Lutheran Schools!

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04 Jun

The Lutheran Difference: LESA Co-Hosts 2020 “Virtual” LuthEdCampSTL

The Lutheran Difference: LESA Co-Hosts 2020 "Virtual" LuthEdCampSTL

LuthEdCampSTL 2020: Teachers’ turn to learn virtually

At the end of each school year, LESA teachers typically have had the chance to close out the year with a professional development event, LuthEdCampSTL. They would gather for breakfast, have a devotion, brainstorm topics for discussion, then break out into 12 or so classrooms and, over three sessions, converse in small groups covering a plethora of education-related topics and celebrate the end of the year together.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, on May 28, 2020, the learning event continued in virtual format. Members of the planning team, comprised of teachers from LESA schools, LCMS School Ministry staff, and Laura Montgomery, LESA’s Director of Educational Resources, thought it was still important to continue this year’s LuthEdCampSTL and ventured to move the event online using Zoom.

The result was an amazing online learning event in which nearly 200 educators registered. The day was expanded to a full day with five themed sessions, each session hosting fourteen online discussion rooms, for a total of 70 sessions.

“It’s been a tough spring for our teachers and we wanted to support them by giving them a chance to reflect and discuss experiences from this school year, share best practices and resources, and be thinking ahead for next school year,” said Laura Montgomery, LESA’s Director of Educational Resources

The spiritual component of the day was provided by a video devotion led by Rev. Will Hanke of Mt. Calvary Lutheran Church and members of the Missouri District Churchworker Care Team were also available to address spiritual/emotional needs of the participating educators.

Based on the early survey comments from attendees, it’s clear that those efforts and the day’s events were appreciated:

“Truly, thank you for an awesome Professional Development that left me feeling energized and encouraged!”

“I always look forward to LuthEdCamp as my favorite professional development each year, and this year was as amazing as ever!!!”

“The LuthEdCamp was extremely well done! Kudos to everyone involved as it shows how a really good electronic conference can be done.”

On behalf of LESA and the LuthEdCampSTL team, thank you to all who attended. We hope to see you in person next year!

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04 Jun

LESA to Award Record $505,000 in Scholarships for 2020-21 School Year 

LESA to Award Record $505,000 in Scholarships for 2020-21 School Year

Donations from supporters, online auction will help fund a 49 percent increase in scholarship applications due to COVID-19 

(ST. LOUIS, MO) June 9, 2020 – The St. Louis-based Lutheran Elementary School Association (LESA) will award a record $505,000 for need-based scholarships to help fund a 49 percent increase in qualified applications due in part to the COVID-19 crisis. The increased need and funding amount mean LESA will award scholarships to 624 students of all faiths this year during the first round of awards, compared to 371 in 2019-20.

The additional funds were made possible by endowment earnings, extraordinary gifts from LESA’s donors, and the unprecedented success of its first-ever Cooking for Kids Online Auction, which raised a record $263,000 (a 25 percent increase over last year) to support scholarships and services for LESA member schools. In addition, a generous family redirected their $50,000 annual endowment gift to be applied exclusively to scholarships due to the pandemic.

“Historically, 36 percent of LESA Lutheran school scholarship recipients live at or below the Federal Poverty Level, so we knew right away that the financial impact of COVID-19 would be severe,” said Sue Nahmensen, LESA’s CEO. “Thanks to the generous and overwhelming support of the St. Louis community, we are now in a much stronger position to support those families than when this pandemic began.”

To answer that need, LESA extended its 2020-21 application deadlines and asked families to specify if they had experienced job loss or underemployment. As a result, 82 families reported a loss of employment or reduced work hours, compared to eight families last year.

Currently, 1 in 10 Lutheran elementary school students in the St. Louis Metro Area receives need-based tuition assistance from LESA. Of those students, 47% are of non-white ethnicity, 36% attend urban ministry schools and 48% are non-Lutheran.

In late March, LESA made the difficult but necessary decision to cancel its largest and most important fundraiser – its 16th Annual Cooking for Kids Tribute Dinner-Auction, which had been scheduled for April 18 – and convert it to an online auction.

“Event tickets had been sold and sponsorships had been secured, and we just couldn’t afford to lose those funds for our schools and families,” said Nahmensen. “Fortunately, when we contacted those supporters, nearly every sponsor, donor and event guest made it clear, beyond any doubt, that they were with us, and that made it possible for us to succeed with our online event.”

In May, LESA received additional good news from Lutheran Foundation of St. Louis when announced it would award a $50,000 Partner Stability Grant ​to help LESA continue to provide services to students and member schools.

Since 2004, LESA has awarded more than $6.1 million in financial assistance through its Building Blocks Scholarship Fund to children of all faiths enrolled in Lutheran elementary schools. Scholarships are funded annually through the generosity of LESA donors, special events and endowment growth. (To learn more about donating to LESA, or setting up special endowment gifts, contact Katherine “Kit” Auble at 314-200-0797, or

More than 8,300 students attend LESA member Lutheran schools in the St. Louis Metro Area, making it the second largest private school system in the Bi-State Region. A Recognized Service Organization of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, LESA represents 34 elementary and high schools. For information on our members schools and enrollment, visit


Katherine (Kit) Auble
Director, Fund Development and Marketing
314-200-0797 – voicemail

Brenda Kimberlin
Communications & Outreach Coordinator
314-496-1799 – cell

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18 May

Thank You!

Thank You!

A Message to our Supporters

Even as we write this, we can hardly believe it. Once again, your generosity has humbled us and shown us the magnitude of the Lord’s grace.

When we made the difficult but necessary decision to cancel our 16th Annual Cooking for Kids Tribute Dinner-Auction fundraiser, we knew it was the right thing to do for our community and our supporters. But, like you, we were worried about the families and schools that we serve.

Cooking for Kids is our largest and most critical fundraiser. Each year, we rely on it to fulfill our mission to make Lutheran Christian education affordable for every family, regardless of income. We also knew that the financial impact of the pandemic would make that need even more urgent for the families we serve.

So we tried something new. We converted our in-person event to an online auction – new territory for us – and we turned to you, our faithful and generous supporters, for help. And once again, you not only answered that call, you humbled us with your response. Nearly every sponsor, donor and supporter made it clear, beyond any doubt, that they were with us.

Then, when our auction opened April 18 – the same day that we would have gathered to celebrate – we saw that support grow from both new friends and faithful donors. In fact, the gifts are still coming in!

In total, we raised over $263,000, a 25% increase from 2019 and our highest ever!

We shouldn’t have been surprised. For 15 years, you have faithfully supported LESA’s mission to sustain the future of Lutheran education in St. Louis.

This month we began the process of awarding tuition assistance for the 2020/21 school year. Since this pandemic began, we’ve seen a 49 percent increase in qualified scholarship applications from last year. We are still concerned for those families, but we know that the Lord will always provide the guidance and resources needed.  And He did, as He worked though your generosity – so, we praise Him and share our heartfelt thanks with you!

“And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19

On behalf of the 8,300 students, 500 educators and 34 member schools that we serve, thank you for making this possible.

God’s Blessings,

The LESA Team

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30 Apr

LESA Secures CARES Act Funding to Protect Scholarships, Services during COVID-19

LESA Secures CARES Act Funding to Protect Scholarships, Services during COVID-19

As we navigate the new reality of this pandemic, our worries and concerns are for the students and schools that we serve. Although much remains unknown about this virus, one thing is certain – the financial impact of this crisis on the families we serve will be severe. Over the last 15 years, LESA has awarded more than $5.5 million in financial assistance to children of all faiths enrolled in our 31 member Lutheran elementary schools. But as this crisis continues, we know that many more students will need our help.

Under the careful and continued guidance of our LESA Board of Directors, we are doing everything we can to prepare for and meet that need. When Congress passed the CARES Act in March, which authorized funding for the Paycheck Protection Program, we moved quickly to apply for and receive assistance to cover payroll, rent and utilities. The program, administered by the Small Business Administration, is designed to help non-profits and small businesses keep their workers employed. For LESA, this emergency funding means we can continue to serve our schools during this time of need. In addition to that action, we recently secured an emergency line of credit to provide an added level of protection during these uncertain times. We are thankful for our ministry partners and donors who continue to support our mission through sponsorships, endowments, online donations and participation in our major fundraisers, our annual Cooking for Kids Dinner-Auction and Brew in the Lou (pending – Oct. 10, 2020).

So it is with hopeful hearts that we move forward with our mission to make Lutheran education available to every child, regardless of circumstances. Our LESA Scholarship Awards Committee is making tentative plans to meet in June to review applications for the 2020-21 school year. So far, we have seen a 48 percent increase in qualified applications compared to last year. Nevertheless, we are asking our member schools to encourage all eligible families to apply for assistance, including new students. We are also asking schools to alert us to families whose employment has been affected by the Covid-19 crisis. We know that for many families, this will be the first time they have had to ask for help. We know that with the Lord’s guidance and your continued support, we will be here to provide it.

To find out how our schools are teaching and connecting through this crisis, click here.

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30 Apr

LESA Welcomes New Board Members

LESA Welcomes New Board Members

Please join us in welcoming Alan Vogt and Rev. Alan M. Erdman to our LESA Board of Directors. Both are longtime advocates and supporters of the LESA Ministry and Lutheran schools. We look forward to benefiting from their insight and dedication as we work to sustain the future of Lutheran education. Read on to learn more about their expertise and backgrounds. 

Alan Vogt

Alan and his wife Linda have been active LESA ministry partners for 15 years. In addition to establishing an endowment to fund LESA scholarships and educational programs, Alan is a member of the LESA Fund Development Committee. The Vogts are members of Concordia Lutheran Church in Kirkwood.


  • St Luke’s Lutheran Elementary School in south St. Louis (Class of 1961)
  • Lutheran South (Class of 1965)
  • St. Louis University (Class of 1969) – B.S., Commerce and Finance


  • Stifel Nicolaus – Vice President of Taxable Fixed Income Trading (1969-85)
  • The Heitner Corp. – Vice President of Fixed Income Trading (1985-90)
  • J.A. Glynn & JAG Capital Management (1990-present) – Vice President and Director of Fixed Income Trading
    • Alan is one of four shareholders and a member of JAG’s management committee. JAG manages Equity and Fixed Income Portfolios for individuals and religious institutions around the country.

Rev. Alan M. Erdman

Alan and his wife Lucy have been longtime partners in the LESA Ministry and Lutheran causes. In addition to serving on the LESA Fund Development Committee, Alan is a past Board Member of Lutheran Charities Foundation, St. Louis, and Lutheran Services in America (LSA), headquartered in Washington D.C. Lucy is the Director of Special Services for Westminster Christian Academy. The Erdmans have four grown children and are members of King of Kings Lutheran Church in Chesterfield. (And did we mention that Alan is an avid Green Bay Packers fan?!)


  • University of Utah – B.S., Philosophy (Class of 1974)
  • Christ Seminary Seminex, St. Louis – MDiv, Theology (Class of 1979)
  • Concordia Seminary, St. Louis – S.T.M., Pastoral Counseling (1983)


  • Lutheran Church of the Resurrection, Sappington – Associate Pastor (1979-84) and Senior Pastor (1984-92)
  • Lutheran Family and Children’s Services of Missouri (LFCS) – CEO/President (1992-2016 – retired)
  • St. Louis University, Adjunct Faculty – School of Social Work (2007-16)


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