Dave Wright grew up in the Lutheran Church and says he has been blessed with supportive parents (Zion members John & Marie Wright) who continue to be an example of faithfulness to him. His hometown pastor, Charles Anderson, was also influential in his faith journey, making confirmation interesting and pertinent.
Dave and Sue moved to Buffalo in 1980 and joining Zion was a natural decision, as they already had connections within the congregation.
Wes and Mary Mahlberg were high school classmates; Pastor Ed Blair was from my hometown in Worthington; and Pastor John Folkerds was from my dad’s hometown in Cokato. Zion has given us many opportunities to grow spiritually, socially and professionally. Thanks to all who continue to be part of this loving family.
Dave and Sue’s two sons, Tristan and Eric, were confirmed and received their faith foundation at Zion. Both are now living in Los Angeles with their wives.
Dave has participated in Zion’s growth in the community and in the world in many ways over the years.
I was the chair of the congregation when we made a major decision to move from the beautiful building near downtown and build at our new location. Although there were strong attachments to our church home at the time, the growth of our congregation was limited by our location.
Dave first became involved as a foreign mission volunteer in January of 1999, when he traveled to Tanzania for a month with “Christian Veterinary Mission,” an organization dedicated to spreading the Christian message through veterinary service. At the time, Zion-supported missionaries Dennis and Meredith Murnyak were working in Tanzania to develop fish farming projects.
[In Tanzania] I worked with Maasai herders, toured the Murnyaks’ fish farming projects, and taught part of a week-long seminar to Heifer Project supervisors on dairy reproduction.
Since then Dave and Sue have volunteered in Honduras, Bolivia, and at Villages of Hope in Zambia.
It has given us an opportunity to experience foreign cultures at a local level and share why our relationship with Christ has been so important to us.
Dave’s next mission trip will be to the Dominican Republic during the first week in December. This time, he will be joined by his brother, Jim, also a member of Zion. This will be Jim’s first mission trip. Dave and Jim will be joining another veterinarian, a team of health care workers, and a small group of teachers for this trip. The team will offer veterinary care, teach at local clinics, visit small ranches, and build relationships by staying with local Dominicans in Las Caobas, near Santiago.
Dave was also a long-time member of Zion’s Stewardship Committee and co-chaired two capital fund appeals, giving him an opportunity to study Christian stewardship.
Sue and I were challenged to put these principles into practice. We made the decision to become tithers at a time in our life when we had huge debt, young children and limited income. I can’t claim that tithing has eliminated all of our financial worries, but I believe it has given us a spirit of generosity that has always left us with “enough.”
As a member of the stewardship committee for many years, one Lenten season we conducted an interesting congregational experiment we called, “Try a Two-Month Tithe.” We challenged the council to tithe ten percent of each Sunday’s offering as a “first-fruit gift” to synod benevolence and we challenged congregational members to tithe ten percent of their pay checks as a “first-fruit gift” to Zion for a two-month trial. Zion ended the year in the black and we may have inspired some members to continue to tithe.