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Third annual ‘Hoops for Hope’ basketball game benefits Ferguson’s Lutheran Hope Center

Concordia Seminary’s Preachers basketball team ended its season Friday, Feb. 8, with a game against alumni players in the third annual “Hoops for Hope” event benefiting the Lutheran Hope Center in Ferguson, Mo.

The event brought 11 pastors from across the nation back to their alma mater for a night of friendly competition in support of a vital mission. The current Preachers were victorious against the alumni players with a final score of 91-71.

“It was fun for the alumni players to step back onto the court at Pederson Fieldhouse and relive fond memories,” Assistant Coach and Assistant Professor of Practical Theology Dr. Peter Nafzger said.

Since the first Hoops for Hope game took place in 2017, the benefit has raised nearly $2,000 in support of the ministry of the Lutheran Hope Center and collected various school supplies for students and teachers in Ferguson, Mo., schools.

“The Seminary doesn’t just train pastors,” Nafzger said. “It also tries to engage in service to the St. Louis community. This event is a great example of partnering with a local ministry.”

The alumni roster included Rev. Craig Reiter (’16) of Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Ste. Genevieve, Mo.; Rev. Calvin Kapels (’15) of St. Stephen Lutheran Church of Liberty, Mo.; Rev. Ben Johnson (’12) of Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Urbandale, Iowa.; Rev. Matt Gonzalez (’11) of Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church in The Bronx, N.Y.; Rev. Will Hanke (’07) of Mount Calvary Lutheran Church in Brentwood, Mo.; Rev. Jason Reitz (’07) of Zion Lutheran Church in St. Charles, Mo.; Rev. Jeff Cloeter (’05) of Christ Memorial Lutheran Church in St. Louis; Dr. Peter Nafzger (’04) of Concordia Seminary; Rev. Scott Giger (’02) of Carmel Lutheran Church in Carmel, Ind.; Dr. Matt Hoehner (’02) of Messiah Lutheran Church in St. Louis; and Rev. Mark Hofferber (’95) of Zion Lutheran Church of Bethalto, Ill.

The Lutheran Hope Center is a partnership of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) congregations in north St. Louis County. The center exists to share the Good News of Jesus Christ as it provides opportunities for youth and families to grow spiritually, academically, socially and personally.

About Concordia Seminary

Concordia Seminary, St. Louis provides Gospel-centered graduate-level theological education for pastors, missionaries, deaconesses, scholars and other leaders in the name of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS). To learn more, visit