“Remember the church in your estate plans,” they often heard their pastor encourage the congregation. Robert and Eleanor Clune did. And now the Mission Possible campaign is empowered by their estate gift of $150,000. Throughout his long ministry Pastor Timothy Nehls encouraged his congregation, wherever he served, to remember the church in their estate planning. The Clunes were but one of many during his ministry at Lutheran Church of the Palms, Palm Harbor that included the congregation and institutions of the Church in their estate planning. Robert Clune died in 2004; his wife Eleanor died in 2015. Their estate was distributed in 2017. Included in their estate plans was a percentage gift for “the new Lutheran camp in Florida”. That “new Lutheran camp” is now the thriving ministry we know as Luther Springs!
Robert Clune was a hard-working manufacturer’s representative for building materials. Eleanor was an elementary school teacher. Their son, Gary, now lives in the Palm Harbor home that they built in 1970, the home where he grew up. “Work was hard,” Gary remembers. “Even Saturday was a half day of work for me. Dad taught me business and the value of hard work. He was a true financial wizard, carefully saving and investing our family’s income.” Mother, Eleanor, was an elementary school teacher by day, a mom and Robert’s secretary for the family business by night. “If Dad taught me business,” Gary recalls, “Mom taught me compassion. She had a very big heart.” The Clunes were generous in their charitable giving in their lifetime. They were generous in charitable giving through their estate.
The NovusWay Board designated half of the Clune estate gift for construction costs of the new Atonement Chapel and Meeting Room soon to be built at Luther Springs. The other half of their estate gift will help reduce the debt remaining at Luther Springs. This estate gift pushed the Atonement Chapel project close enough to the 90% pledge requirement that the goal was reached at the October Synod Assembly, thanks to a challenge gift from Kent and Donna Richter and a generous response from others.
Mission Possible gifts and pledges directed to the Atonement Chapel and Meeting Room project now total nearly $360,000. The Fire Marshal requires some additional safety measures be undertaken, but the estimate is that $385,000 will be needed to fully fund construction of the Chapel and Meeting Room. A special fundraising effort, launched at the Women of the ELCA’s Fall Gathering, is directed toward the cost of furnishings for the Chapel and Meeting Room. To learn more about how you and your congregation can help with this special effort or to make a planned gift to benefit outdoor ministry, contact Pastor Jan Setzler, Mission Possible Campaign Director by phone at 864-942-2974 or email at email@example.com.
PHOTOS: GARY CLUNE WITH PR. TIMOTHY AND BEVERLY NEHLS