A Lutheran Church in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with an active ministry to the neighborhood but without a lot of money raised money for a new boiler through crowd-sourcing.
In a poorer parish, where just keeping the lights on can be a challenge, a blown boiler as those crisp fall days give way to wild winds of winter can be enough to close down.
Redeemer Lutheran Church, at 631 N. 19th St., confronted that grim reality last month when its ancient boiler all but heaved its final breath. Now, workers are installing its replacement thanks to an online fundraising campaign that has drawn generous donors from around the world.
The campaign started with a $5 donation from a homeless man.
“It’s been absolutely amazing,” said the Rev. Lisa Bates-Froiland, who launched the campaign on the crowdfunding site gofundme.com at the suggestion of a friend.
It has raised more than $44,000 of the $60,000 goal — from church members, old friends and strangers, from nonprofits, and people of many faiths, or none.
“That just says to me that people’s hearts tend to be compassionate,” said Bates-Froiland, whose small congregation near Marquette University draws for the most part a membership that is low-income, elderly and homeless.
“And once they connect with the kind of ministry that happens here, they open their hearts and their wallets,” she said.