Search
Topics
Home  ·  Feedback  ·  Recommend Site  ·  Search  ·  Stories Archive  ·  Surveys  ·  Topics  
CHRIST LUTHERAN CHURCH'S FINANCIAL CONDITION CHALLENGED BY C.P.A.
Posted on Wednesday, April 13 @ 03:23:36 CDT by van

Religion Some time ago, I posted an article entitled, "Members of Christ Lutheran Church, Put Your Mouths Where Your Money Is." This is another chapter in a story which I believe may point to the possible financial demise of a congregation which, I'm told, has annual receipts of around $2 Million. How can this be you might ask? Let me suggest a combination of "Waaky" accounting, personal use of "The Lord's money" by church leaders, wasteful spending, diversion of restricted funds into the operating account and a staffing structure which would make Jesus weep!

Whether through overt stupidity or by devious design, the members of Christ Lutheran Church (CLC) of Lincoln, Nebraska have been kept from knowing the facts about the finances of their church. Around seven years ago, Rev. Luke Schnake, senior pastor, and attorney Paul Schudel, then president of the congregation's Voters' Assembly, engineered a total change in the organizational structure of the church. They destroyed the system of boards and committees which has served the congregation well for decades and plumbed in a "Lay Leadership Board" (LLB) which was made superior in power to the "Elders" which were scattered throughout the new church structure. Theretofore, the Board of Elders was the entity to which the "pastors" reported. After the "Schnake/Schudel scheme" was ram-rodded into place, even the regular meetings of the Voters' Assembly and associated reporting to the membership were abolished.

CLC had been growing year after year and was a financially secure and doctrinally sound congregation of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod. This was not by accident! Under the pastoral leadership of the Rev. Dr. Charles Reimnitz, the congregation expanded its ministry both in Lincoln and in Haiti. The highly respected business and civic leaders of Lincoln who were members of the congregation drew many others into the membership ranks. CLC thus became the church home of many active and retired high level executives, judges, and former governor Kay Orr and her husband Bill. Additionally, there was a growing number of solid Lutheran Christian folks from all walks of life.

There was no "fudging of financial figures" during Remnitz' watch Put more succinctly, the church accounting was not "B.S."- B.S. (Before Schnake) It's really hard to imagine how a few ego driven, power motivated "leaders" have been able to dupe so many people in CLC who have substantial business experience in the secular world. It is even more difficult to understand why Schnake et al. felt a need to hire Terry Waak as the congregation's "Business Manager", a "bookkeeper" who had been "downsized" by a major manufacturing company in the community and pay him a salary of $60,000 a year, when CLC had in its membership a number of retired executives any of which would have been honored to do the job, if asked, as a volunteer.

While Reimnitz was senior pastor there were only six or seven people on the church payroll. The "Schnake Empire" quickly grew to sixteen people on "staff" including his son-in-law. Schnake's daughter also, I'm told, is paid to be a church organist. During this time, S.T. Williams accepted a call to become "associate pastor" and when he arrived, he wasted no time getting his hand into the "congregational cookie jar." The "Wandering of Williams" and his "ministerial misconduct" will be covered in future installments.

On 8 March 2003 (NOW OVER TWO YEARS AGO), Del Lienemann, Sr., one of the charter members of CLC, wrote to Waak a letter stating in part, "It was nice to receive the Annual Financial Report -- But who do you think understands it?" "Not even a CPA can tell you what is happening with their donations." "Even the small print makes it impossible." He went on to say, "A financial report should let the congregation know how the money is spent." "That can only be done when you list items of expenses." "When you see $1,438,207.70 in General Fund Expenditures, you should let the members know what that is about."

Lienemann laid out for Waak a simple matrix listing the names of the pastors and staff down the left side of the page and categories of expenditures (Salary, Housing, Car Allowance, Pension, Other and Total) across the top. This would allow those who donate the money to see what the "Schnake staffing scheme" actually cost the congregation, person by person.

The Lienemann letter also listed twenty-five categories of expenditures to be "broken out" and reported separately which, when combined with the "Payroll" would make up the entire "General Fund Expenses" in a clearly understandable format.

It was further suggested that "...Building Fund expenditures should be broken out, as well as Capital Campaign expenditures, so members know where these funds went." Lienemann went on to admonish Waak by stating, "I want to remind you again as I did last year --- you must be careful about restricted and unrestricted funds."

"Restricted Funds" involve money donated for specific purposes such as "memorials" or for "building debt retirement." Such should only be disbursed for the purposes the donors specified. According to Del Lienemann, Sr., his son, Del Lienemann, Jr. (also a C.P.A.) who is the one who is charged with making the payments on the church mortgage(s), told him that "Waak has not remitted to him any of the "Restricted Funds" for the last three months period ending March 2005." Lienemann, Sr. stated such funds have been transferred into the "Operating Account" and used to cover the horrendous payroll. It is rumored around $50,000 have been improperly diverted away from the purposes for which such were donated.

Now add to the situation all of the alleged times "Church Money" was spent for booze and on luxurious excursions taken by S.T. Williams as well as the lavish office construction costs and property acquisitions brought on by Schnake and perhaps the picture might start to take shape.

I really believe if the Internal Revenue Service was to send in its auditors and perhaps even a criminal investigator to review the books and financial records of CLC for all the years back to and including 1998, the congregation might loose its "501 (c.) 3 tax exempt status." I also believe any member of the CLC congregation, if motivated to do so, could initiate an action in U.S. District Court requesting the I.R.S. be forced to suspend the church tax privilege until such time as it would be s shown all tax exempt funds donated were spent or disbursed in accordance with the rigid guidelines of the applicable sections of the Internal Revenue Code.

If the members of CLC want to "turn up the heat" and force an honest audit, all they would have to do is stop making contributions to the church until an audit is completed and copies of a financial statement clearly showing assets and liabilities of the congregation together with a copy of an honest cash flow statement is furnished to ever member of the congregation.

For the CLC members who might be "computer savvy," let me suggest you do a bit of "discovery" and see if you can find the names of Luke Schnake and S.T. Williams on any possible call lists for one or more congregations. Hint.....Illinois and Texas.

VansOpinion
Home
Feedback
Recommend Site
Search
Stories Archive
Surveys
Topics
About Van
Van's Links
Downloads

Search



Old Articles
Thursday, June 18
· PASTORS GET LITTLE SUPPORT FROM THE LUTHERAN CHURCH MISSOURI SYNOD
Friday, November 28
· PROCLAMATIONS OF THANKSGIVING BY PRESIDENT ABRAHAM LINCOLN
Sunday, May 11
· IT'S A GOOD TIME TO SAY, "I LOVE YOU MOM"
Saturday, January 26
· ONE NATION UNDER GOD - LAUS DEO
Saturday, December 29
· KIDS WHO SURVIVED THE 1930's 40's, 50's, 60's AND 70's
Saturday, December 15
· A MIDDLE EAST IMPERATIVE
Friday, December 14
· A DAY WITHOUT AN ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT
Wednesday, December 12
· THE SECRET SERVICE VIEWS OF PAST PRESIDENTS
Friday, November 23
· NOW THANK WE ALL OUR GOD
Sunday, September 09
· GOD DOES INDEED ANSWERS PRAYER
Monday, July 16
· CONSCIENCE AND THE CRAFT
· JESUS NEVER SAID "STOP AT THE LODGE ROOM DOOR"
Monday, April 23
· NEVER BRING PLANTS INTO THE HOUSE
Saturday, March 31
· WILL LINCOLN AREA LUTHERANS BECOME APRIL FOOLED
Thursday, June 01
· REV. RUSSELL SOMMERFELD SHOULD STEP DOWN
Thursday, March 30
· KATHY TAYLOR WILL BE THE NEXT MAYOR OF TULSA
Wednesday, March 29
· MORAL POVERTY COST BLACKS IN NEW ORLEANS
Friday, December 23
· HAVE A SAFE AND MERRY CHRISTMAS
Sunday, November 20
· IT'S A GOOD TIME FOR ME TO BE THANKFUL
Tuesday, November 01
· OUR POLITICAL PARTIES NEED A FEW WITH MARTIN LUTHER'S SPIRIT
Thursday, October 27
· SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT
Thursday, October 13
· HELP WANTED - MAYOR OF TULSA, OKLAHOMA
Thursday, October 06
· CONGRESS SHOULD VOTE NO ON A MEGA-REFINERY AT CUSHING, OKLAHOMA
Wednesday, October 05
· WHY I CONTINUE TO WORK TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE
Monday, September 26
· LINCOLN LUTHERAN HIGH SCHOOL OFFICIALS COVER-UP SCANDAL
Sunday, September 25
· IT'S NOW TIME TO DO A BIT OF FINGER POINTING
· A LETTER FROM A VERY UPSET MISSISSIPPI DOCTOR
Tuesday, September 20
· RELIGIOUS HUMOR THAT'S NON-DENOMINATIONAL
· COUNCIL SHOULD SAY NO TO ANOTHER MULTI-PLEX
Monday, September 19
· STOP BEATING AROUND THE BUSH

Older Articles



Content copyright © 2018 Van Valkenburg & Associates, Inc.
Admin - Stats

PHP-Nuke Copyright © 2005 by Francisco Burzi. This is free software, and you may redistribute it under the GPL. PHP-Nuke comes with absolutely no warranty, for details, see the license.