EASTERN DISTRICT STAFF
OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT
Rev. Dr. Chris Wicher, President
(716.634.5111, ext. 12)
Rev. Dr. Chris Wicher is serving his third term as President of the Eastern District of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod.
Before becoming Eastern District president, Rev. Wicher was pastor of St. Luke Lutheran Church in Cheektowaga, New York for eleven years. He served the Eastern District for one term as Vice President representing the Buffalo Region and three terms total as Circuit Counselor for Buffalo North and Niagara East Circuits.
Pastor Wicher also served congregations in Newfane, New York and in Goderich, Ontario, Canada. Chris has extensive training in Family Systems Theory, Healthy Congregations, and Bridge Building assistance.
Chris is a 1982 Graduate of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, where he stayed until 1983 to earn his Masters in Sacred Theology. Chris holds a Doctor of Ministry degree from Lutheran School of Theology, Chicago.
Mr. Robert Foerster, Assistant to the President, Minister of Communications and Networking
(716.634.5111, ext. 10)
Robert Foerster has been blessed to be able to serve children, families and congregations in Wisconsin, Maryland, North Carolina and, since early 1999, New York, Pennsylvania and Maryland. Through the special people of all of those ministries he has been nurtured and mentored in many areas of congregational life and planning as well as early childhood and elementary school ministry and service.
The unfolding potential of new and different ministry to emerging generations excites, stretches, consumes and scares
him. The educational programs of Concordia (Ann Arbor), Concordia (Seward), Towson University (Maryland) and the Early Childhood Fellows Program (Univ. of North Carolina) have provided his formal academic training. The children, adults and colleagues of the past thirty years of his ministry have provided the majority of his real learning and growth.
Mrs. Kathy Fretthold, Assistant to the President, Director of Education
(716.634.5111, ext 14)
Kathy Fretthold grew up in North Tonawanda, NY, as a member of St. Mark Lutheran Church and School, where she attended church, Sunday school and day school, where her children attended school, and where she taught and co-administered until the school closed in 2007. She has been a Principal/teacher at other area Lutheran schools since then. It is her prayer that her familiarity with the Eastern District will enable her to assist congregations, schools and workers provide the best Christian educational environment possible in each of their individual settings. Her goal is to further open the doors of communication between our schools; to provide the tools to Christian educators to enable them to be the best ministers they can be; and to increase awareness of our schools within the district.
Mr. Lyle Heggemeier, Assistant to the President, Director of Discipleship Development
(716.634.5111, ext 15 )
Mr. Richard Porter, Lutheran Church Extension Fund Vice President
(716.634.5111, ext. 11)
As LCEF Vice President, Rick serves congregations with services and loan resources so they can expand facilities to carry out their ministries. He promotes investment opportunities in LCEF to congregations and individuals.
Rick came to the District staff and LCEF after working 26 years in retail management and several years of volunteer service in the Eastern District.
Mr. Richard Paul, Director - LCMS Foundation Gift Planning Development
(716.634.5111, ext. 17)
The Director of Gift Planning Development (DGDP) is responsible for coordinating and supervising the gift planning training and mentoring programs of the Foundation Gift Planning Services. These groups include the Gift Planning Counselors of the various Districts, the Associate Gift Planning Counselors, Development Directors of various RSO organizations of the LCMS, and the Gift Planners of the Transfer the Blessing stewardship process.
Rich joined the LCMS Foundation in 1999, having previously served five years as district representative & estate planning specialist for Aid Association for Lutherans (AAL) in New York. Rich was the chief executive officer of a large commercial office products company in the Buffalo area for seventeen years.
Rich is a graduate of Dean College, Boston, MA and Canisius College, Buffalo.
Mr. Robert Wirth - LCMS Foundation Eastern District Gift Planning Counselor
(716.634.5111, ext. 16)
As part of a joint venture with the Eastern District, Bob Wirth works with individuals and congregations to raise the visibility and resources necessary to support both local and national ministries. Local ministries include Camp Pioneer & Retreat Center, Lutheran Schools and other local Eastern District ministries.
Rev. Alex Knowles, Pioneer Camp and Retreat Center Executive Director
ADMINISTRATIVE SUPPORT STAFF
Mary Ellen Sima
716.634.5111, Ext. 13
716.634.5111, Ext. 18
Foundation/LCEF/Eastern District Offices
716.634.5111, Ext. 10