Calling the ELCA's 1996 financial results "most satisfactory," Richard McAuliffe, treasurer, told the Church Council that income topped expenses for the sixth consecutive year.
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America received $78.6 million in current operating funds in 1996, compared with $77.2 million the previous year. Expenses for 1996 were $76.2 million, up $5.2 million. Included in the expenses are two new designated fun ds--$1.5 million for expanded ministry and $1 million for capital reserve.
Income from congregations through synods totaled $63.7 million, up $645,000 over 1995. Forty-one synods increased giving during 1995, 22 gave less and two the same. Other major sources of income were $3.7 million for missionary sponsorship and $3.4 millio n in bequests.
In addition, giving to the World Hunger Appeal totaled $11.8 million, down $200,000 from last year. Disaster Response funds were $1.2 million.
The council authorized spending of $76.9 million by the churchwide organization during 1997.
The council forwarded to the Churchwide Assembly a proposal for an ELCA Fund for Leaders in Mission. Overseen by the ELCA Foundation, the plan would seek funds from individuals to provide scholarships for seminarians and other professional leaders.
The assembly also will decide whether to ask the presiding bishop and the council to identify sources of funds to facilitate ELCA urban ministry with $500,000 annually from 1999 to 2008. The urban initiative, titled "In the City for Good," has three dimensions: transform lives by the gospel; transform congregations into lively, viable and effective places of ministry; and transform communities into desirable places to live and work.
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