Ron and Jean Peterson have been attending Bygland Church in Fisher, Minn., for generations. It's the only church Ron has ever known, and Jean has attended since the couple married nearly 52 years ago.
They've seen Bygland through many changes over the years, including the construction of a new building. Before the old church was razed, the congregation removed the original stained glass and carefully incorporated it into the design of the new building. The windows honor the past while at the same time looking to the future.
The Petersons do the same by giving to Luther Seminary.
"The church has been an integral part of our lives since day one. We're both from families who were heavily involved in the church, and it stuck with us," Ron says.
They've passed that dedication down to their four daughters, all of whom are still involved in the church. "That to us is a real blessing," Jean says.
But the Petersons don't just give out of a sense of tradition. They've been blessed with consistently strong church leadership and recognize Luther Seminary's role in creating future pastors.
"If you're going to have a continuing church you need a continuing supply of pastors," says Ron.
To ensure strong church leadership for years to come, the Petersons have created an endowed scholarship in their names. They appreciate knowing that individual students will receive the benefit of their stewardship.
"When you get involved in being a donor, it gives you a different outlook on life," says Ron. "You can contribute to someone else's life and do something that perhaps will make the world go round."