The Rev. Dr. Cathi Braasch, a member of the North American Lutheran Seminary (NALS) Board of Regents, graciously donated $10,000 to the NALS in honor of her late husband Leroy R.T. “Red” Braasch and in honor of the Rev. Dr. Amy Schifrin, president of the NALS, and Dr. Roy Schwarz, chair of the NALS Board of Regents.
The Board matched Pastor Braasch’s $10,000 gift by making 11 combined gifts for $12,045, for a grand total of $22,045. The donation came with this encouragement to her fellow Regents: To support the NALS with our prayers, our leadership practices, and our pocketbooks. “It’s no small thing to give birth to a seminary,” Pastor Braasch said. “President Schifrin, Chair Schwarz, and past and present Regents have midwifed this birth. Now it’s time to step up and do all we can to support and fulfill the seminary’s mission.”
The timing of the gift came during the settlement of her late husband’s estate in November 2017. Red died suddenly on August 31, 20 16, just three months short of their 50th wedding anniversary. Their only child, Sara Braasch Schmidt, passed away in June of the same year. The Braasch family was centered around their confessional Christian faith, and the gift gives thanks to God for all His goodness throughout their lives. “There’s no better way to remember God’s gift of a good Christian husband and family than by raising up more confessional pastors like those who formed our faith,” Pastor Braasch said.
The gift was initially for $5,000. During the November 2017 Regents meeting, Pastor Braasch reconsidered the needs and opportunities that the Seminary had during these early, formative years and decided to double the gift.
Pastor Braasch became involved with the NALS because of her passion for guiding the spiritual formation and direction of church leaders. She was elected to the Board of Regents at the 2016 Convocation of the North American Lutheran Church. She was nominated by Trinity Lutheran Church in Gothenburg, Nebraska, a congregation she helped form. She currently resides in Jackson Center, Ohio, where she is serving an extended interim call.
Originally from California, Pastor Braasch and her family lived in seven different states, following her husband’s work in cattle ranch management and her own full-time ministries. From studying agribusiness management and animal science in California, receiving her undergraduate degree in Wisconsin, an M.A. in Washington, her M.Div. from the Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago, then her D.Min. from the Graduate Theological Foundation in Indiana, Pastor Braasch remains rooted in rural ministry, Christian spiritual formation, and ministry leadership development.
The Board of Regents will decide how the donation will be best used, but it will be in the area of growth and development for the Seminary. “We cannot ask others to do what we won’t do ourselves,” said Pastor Braasch. “Regardless of dollar amount or reasons, if God has connected you to an opportunity, shaped your interest, and has given you the time, talent, treasure, and testimony, why not be as generous as we are able?”