Presiding Bishop Mark S. Hanson told the ELCA Church Council at its April 13-15 meeting in Chicago that the church launched more than 60 new congregations in 2011. More than half were in "diverse, multiethnic, multilingual communities and communities in deep poverty," he said.
Beyond those new starts, the 2011 Churchwide Assembly invited every ELCA congregation to "deepen [its] commitment to engagement in mission" and "proclaim the gospel more clearly," Hanson said. That's an invitation to "more creatively and boldly proclaim the risen Christ and engage in the lives of our neighbors in lives of service," he added.
Council members welcomed as a sign of hope that 2011 churchwide organization income exceeded expenses by $4 million. A significant drop in mission support necessitated a 2010-11 reorganization and elimination of dozens of churchwide staff positions.
In 2011 more synods increased, rather than decreased, their giving percentage to churchwide ministries, reported budget and finance committee chair John Emery. "That's incredibly good news," he said. "We have good reason to be optimistic for the future, given that kind of faithfulness among our synods."
Council members voted to increase the 2012 churchwide current fund spending authorization by $1.3 million to nearly $65.5 million. They also increased the 2012 World Hunger spending authorization by $1.4 million to $19.9 million.
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