Augustana Ministerium — An Urgent Request

14 November 2012

Every sentence I write falls short. I will, therefore, try to be as brief as possible, since all attempted eloquence fails:

The Rev. Dan Chambers was joyfully serving the Lord at this time last year, shepherding the Lambs and Sheep of Christ as the Holy Spirit had set him in place to do. After Christmas, he went to Texas to visit family.

Had he not ended up in the hospital, that would seem like a very ordinary story about a pastor.

Had he, perhaps, broken his leg or had a heart attack and some bypasses, it would seem pretty normal.

Instead, Pr. Chambers ended up in the hospital ALL YEAR. For a good portion of it, he was minimally responsive. TO THIS DAY, he cannot stand on his own or walk AT ALL.

The parish he served no longer waits for him; he was ‘let go’ for being unable to perform his duties. Needless to say, with his inability to walk at this point, neither Calls nor other employment will be immediately forthcoming.

His experience with Concordia Health Plan/Blue Cross—Blue Shield has been less than exemplary: they have threatened to kick him out of rehab several times, since he was not progressing ‘fast enough’. Now, there is a hard and fast date of 17 December 2012 fixed when he will have exceeded all the physical therapy his insurance will cover. Will that be enough time for him to be able to walk and go home? Only our Lord knows. What if he needs another week or two? What if ten more days would make the difference between recovering and not recovering? The doctors fully expect him to regain this ability, but it’s a matter of when?

At the same time, when will he be able to work again? Again, how will his family’s needs be met in the mean time?

The Augustana Ministerium has disbursed well over $100,000 of funds during its short existence to help pastors in need…but we don’t have the sort of resources necessary to make Pr. Chambers any promises. For that reason, we come imploring all of you for help. If you consider it a good thing to help this pastor who will be cast out of his hospital the week before Christmas whether he can walk or not, much less work or not, we wish to provide you the means for doing so. And PLEASE NOTE: none of us from The Augustana Ministerium get a salary, etc., for doing this and there will be NO administrative fees (other than, perhaps, a stamp to send Pr. Chambers a check…and that will come out of our regular account, not out of your gift; if you donate by credit card, of course, the bank will take its fee…but whatever comes into our account goes directly and ONLY to the aiding of pastors).

Here’s how it works:

  1. If you use PayPal, send a donation to [email protected] and include a memo that it is for Pr. Chambers (or click on Donate below).
  2. If you want to use a debit or credit card, go to http://augustanaministerium.org and click on a ‘Donate’ button (or below). This will take you to a PayPal page, where they will offer to set up a PayPal account, etc., but you don’t have to do so: just enter your card info on their secure site, make sure a memo is there saying it is for Pr. Chambers, and you’re all set.

     

     

  3. To send a check, put “Pr. Chambers” in the memo line, “TAM” in the pay to line, and send it to:

    The Augustana Ministerium
    c/o The Rev. Gregory J. Schultz, Bursar
    721 Payne Avenue
    North Tonawanda, NY 14120

A COUPLE OF THINGS TO CONSIDER

  1. Now would also be a great time to make a general contribution to the work of the Ministerium and to add it to your congregation’s budget for 2013.
  2. Pastor Chambers’s expenses for therapy alone are over $200 per day. That being the case, we would like to provide him with at least another month’s worth of rehab and a gift for other expenses by the time his insurance runs out. Even if our Lord were to grant him to walk on 16 December, it would be a gift well-given: a year in the hospital is expensive even if the hospitalization part were paid for in full. If we are blessed to send him a check next month, we will report to you what the next month’s needs look like, as well.

Thank you for your consideration of this request and for your prayers and any other aid you are able to provide this pastor and his family!

[Please distribute this message ‘everywhere’ and *please* do so with the above date intact.]

Rev. Eric J. Stefanski
Dean of Communications, The Augustana Ministerium
hattp://augustanaministerium.org

Holy Trinity Evangelical-Lutheran Church (UAC)
P.O. Box 2612
Harrison, Arkansas 72602-2612
http://HolyTrinityLC.com


Comments

Augustana Ministerium — An Urgent Request — 11 Comments

  1. @Pastor Joshua Scheer #3
    How about putting congregational thanksgiving offerings towards helping him?

    I’ll forward the suggestion; I have already forwarded the post from Rev. Stefanski. I think one of my Pastors must have been at CTS with Chambers.

  2. @Paul of Alexandria #5
    [From a post by Rev. Stefanski] Nov. 15
    Pastor Chambers’ condition was caused by the failure of a surgical implant from a previous surgery that ended up causing a drastic infection. He did not stand *even with assistance* for over seven months, and when they first brought him to vertical, they had him strapped upright, as he was not only weak, but his feet were not responsive at all at that point. Thus, in the past two months he has made extraordinary progress…it’s just that there is a lot of progress left to make and that it might not be made before the insurance stops paying.

    I’ve been reading about implant failures in various media over the last year.
    Chambers evidently was one victim of such a failure (which the surgeons have been reluctant to admit in some cases. So the problem is advanced before it’s attended to).
    But I don’t know any more details in this case than I have copied above.

    He will need help a while yet!
    The bill for a couple of days in hospital can be astonishing; he’s been there most of a year! And when he gets out and recuperates, he has no call….

    Lord, have mercy!

    (And his “brothers”, too!)

    P.S. Pr. Stefanski also noted that Concordia Plan has not cancelled Chambers’ insurance, but there is a maximum for rehab and he will have reached it in a couple of weeks. It is working, but that may not be enough time.

  3. Helen copied part of the update, but here’s the entire update:

    15 November 2012

    Pastor Joshua Scheer of Our Savior Lutheran Church in Cheyenne, WY (http://oursaviorcheyenne.org) graciously posted our “An Urgent Plea” email (sent yesterday; see below) on the Brothers of John the Steadfast (http://steadfastlutherans.org) web site and asked concerning sending aid to The Augustana Ministerium for Pr. Chambers, “How about putting congregational thanksgiving offerings towards helping him?”

    Thus, the first part of this update: We think this is a wonderful idea, and if your congregation hasn’t already designated your Thanksgiving offerings for something else, we hope that you will consider this as a possibility.

    The second is just to clarify that this is not a matter of Pr. Chambers losing his insurance, but of the insurance benefit for this sort of physical therapy being ‘maxed out’. Unfortunately, it is precisely this sort of PT that he has to have in order to regain the ability to walk; that’s why our primary goal is providing him with more PT, while, at the same time, also seeking to help his family, since, obviously, his loss of employment has a serious impact on them. Please note two things: 1) disability doesn’t typically bring you back to 100% of what you were making and 2) long term hospitalization (or even long term outpatient treatment) involves a LOT of expense that one would not normally have. (In my own family in 2010, 12 weeks of physical therapy involved several thousand dollars of ‘non-medical’ expenses and loss of income; these things take a toll very quickly.)

    Third: Pastor Chambers’ condition was caused by the failure of a surgical implant from a previous surgery that ended up causing a drastic infection. He did not stand *even with assistance* for over seven months, and when they first brought him to vertical, they had him strapped upright, as he was not only weak, but his feet were not responsive at all at that point. Thus, in the past two months he has made extraordinary progress…it’s just that there is a lot of progress left to make and that it might not be made before the insurance stops paying.

    Finally, THANK YOU to those who have already begun donating to The Augustana Ministerium–both sending checks specifically for Pastor Chambers’s care and for the rest of the pastors that need our continued support–and for asking the sorts of questions that show good stewardship of the Lord’s gifts to you, both the finances with which He has blessed you and the pastors you care for locally, which has translated so wonderfully into care for this faithful servant of the Lord that most of you have probably not met. (Let me tell you this: the guy is a championship-winning salsa maker and BBQ chef, and it is my fervent desire that we can ALL get together and support him by devouring what he brings to the table at a BBQ competition once he recovers. Believe me, when that day arrives, it WILL be broadcast far and wide so that everyone reading these updates can come and join that celebration!)

    POST-finally (!) the easiest way to donate to this cause is to head to our web site,

    http://augustanaministerium.org

    Rev. Eric Stefanski, Dean of Communications
    The Augustana Ministerium

  4. I brought this up at our elders meeting yesterday to ask that we contribute and our pastor sounded skeptical and stated that there must be more behind this — basically why isn’t the Concordia Disability Plan doing what it is supposed to do? We have Concordia Heath Plan & Disability Plan for our pastor and it costs our congregation over $20,000.00 a year.

    I also read online (via a neighboring congregation’s newsletter) that the congregation had a barbeque fundraiser for their pastor back in July. I’m glad to hear that the congregation did something because the article made it sound like they just threw the pastor out without any assistance. I know the Augustana Ministerium (to which I’ve contributed in the past) was established to help pastors who were unscripturally removed from their calls. Was this an unscriptural removal?

  5. @Tim Schenks #9
    Was this an unscriptural removal?

    You would have to ask someone on the scene. Technically, if he was in hospital for a year (and still is) he couldn’t fulfill the duties of his office. I’m glad to hear of any assistance provided, too.

    Pr. Stefanski, speaking for Augustana Ministerium (Please, see that topic.) was careful to say that Chambers had not been dropped by the insurance; they had a maximum they would pay for the kind of rehabilitation he needs and he’ll reach it in a couple of weeks. But he may need more. Also, a year in hospital must be fantastically expensive in co-pays, which in my experience with my plan are not less than 20%.

    There are levels of support in the Concordia Plans; if you pay more, you have better coverage, like any other insurance.

    Whether the removal was unScriptural or not won’t change the fact that there will be huge bills and his family has not got his income.

    I’m only commenting on the facts as presented by Pr. Stefanski; someone can contact him or Augustana Ministerium for more information. Perhaps an update will be provided.

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