Wright City

St. John's Lutheran Church votes to divest from Good Shepherd Thrift Store, Daycare in Wright City

By Jack Underwood, Staff Writer
Posted 5/30/24

St. John's Lutheran Church held a congregation vote on May 19.

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in
Wright City

St. John's Lutheran Church votes to divest from Good Shepherd Thrift Store, Daycare in Wright City


Editor's note: In the May 30 print edition of the Warren County Record, the story’s headline incorrectly stated the Little Lambs Preschool in Warrenton was closing. The preschool will remain open and The Good Shepherd Daycare in Wright City is closed. The online story below has been updated. The Record regrets the error. 


St. John’s Lutheran Church held a congregation vote on May 19 that finalized their divestment from  the Good Shepherd Lutheran Daycare and Thrift Store, leaving the future of the properties in question. 

St. John's is located in Warrenton on Highway 47 while the daycare and thrift store are located in Wright City on Elm Ave. 

In 1991, the St. Charles West Circuit of Lutheran Churches formed a congregation that led to the founding of the Good Shepherd Lutheran Daycare, and subsequently the thrift store. When that congregation disbanded, St. John’s Lutheran Church assumed control of the thrift store and daycare. 

Since then they have operated the two institutions. Proceeds from the thrift store were used to fund the daycare, but according to St. John’s Pastor Jeremy Klaustermeier, the expenses at the daycare have risen too high for them to keep the program open. 

“This last year, 2023, we got a report that our insurance on the property was gonna go up 50%, which is a huge hit for us,” Klaustermeier said. 

He continued, saying policies for daycares have increased everywhere as many insurance companies are wary of liabilities at the daycares. He said that concern was largely surrounding potential lawsuits for child abuse. 

St. John’s also sought other bids from six other insurance companies, said Klaustermeier, and all of them refused to insure the property because of the daycare.

“It’s virtually impossible to insure a daycare in today’s environment,” Klaustermeier said. 

The increases in insurance costs also came at a time when the church is already struggling financially. Klaustermeier noted that the church continues to repay their loan for their Fellowship Hall that was constructed in 2022. 

Increases in construction costs and congregation members tightening their wallets as inflation strained their budgets meant the addition came at a cost to the church that was much higher than originally anticipated. 

“It was 98% a financial decision,” Klaustermeier said. “We’re already in the red in our budget and we need to work on making that more stable for the long haul for our congregation.” 

The closure of the daycare will leave a gap in Wright City at a time when childcare options are already limited, and many of the alternatives are prohibitively expensive. 

The daycare will officially close its doors on May 31 to coincide with the end of the school year, although the thrift store will remain open at least until the church manages to sell the property. 

After that, there is still potential for the thrift store to remain in business, although the church would need a buyer willing to take on the operation. Klaustermeier also said that the church was willing to sell the property for less than its value if a buyer was willing to keep the doors open. 

“We’ve had several organizations that are interested in keeping it open or using it as a thrift store, but that would be up to the person or organization that purchases it from us,” Klaustermeier said. 

As of press time, the church had just begun the process of placing the property on the market. The congregation did not officially vote to sell the property until May 19 and church officials did not want to move forward with selling the property until their plans were finalized. 

“If there is a way to continue the ministry, at least the thrift store in that city, then fine, we’ll work with an organization or an individual to do that, we’re not opposed to that,” Klaustermeier said. “We’re not bad people, we just can’t afford it.”