Church Announces Plan For Million Dollar Donation - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Church Announces Plan For Million Dollar Donation

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WHITEFISH - A Whitefish church lays out what they're going to do with a million dollar gift they got from a thrifty rail worker who passed away in February 2012.

The plan got the green light from the congregation about two weeks ago.

When Roger Wold passed away, no one could have guessed at his plans to give $1 million to Christ Lutheran Church, where his mom once taught Sunday school. In his seventies, he lived in a motor home just outside of Whitefish without running water.

The church took some time, 40 days, to pray and take this all in before they began putting together ways to spend the money.

"When we were first notified that the gift had come to us, we realized that this was both an honor, but it was also a test," said John Bent, a senior pastor at the church.

At a special meeting on April 27, they agreed on a few things. First, that $100,000 should go to Shepherd's Hand Clinic, a ministry run out of of the church on Monday nights that gives free medical and dental care to about 80 patients each week.

"When we opened up Shepherd's Hand Clinic we never imagined we would still be here, 18 years later," said Meg Erickson, the director of the clinic.

Second, they moved to give out $200,000 to local and international ministries. Small groups of people at the church will decide exactly which ones in the coming months.

The rest will all be put into the church.

Bent lists building a sanctuary, putting in more handicap accessibility, and a church shuttle service on his to-do list.

"I've already had other congregations, pastors who have said to me 'John, we're really interested in what you do because we think that this will be a model for us,'" said Bent.

Even though they have a plan, the money isn't going to be spent all at once. They're taking their time.

Erickson says two-thirds of the patients seen in the church's clinic have a chronic illness and depend on Shepherd's Hand for their primary care.

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