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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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ELCA income up, membership under 5 million

Income for the ELCA’s 10,585 congregations exceeded $2.6 billion in 2004, up 1.8 percent, or nearly $46 million, from the previous year, according to statistics from the ELCA Office of the Secretary. Over the same period, baptized membership decreased by 54,496, or 1 percent, to 4,930,429.

Income grows

Of the $2.6 billion in congregational receipts, nearly $1.8 billion was received in regular, unrestricted offerings, up 3.27 percent from the previous year. Congregations also held nearly $1.8 billion (13.9 percent more than in 2003) in savings, endowments, investments and memorial funds. They spent a total of $1.73 billion for local operating expenses.

Mission support—funds passed from congregations to synods to support ELCA ministries in the U.S. and abroad—dropped 0.79 percent, following a two-year decline of nearly 3 percent.

Synod-related special benevolences grew to $18.3 million, an increase of more than 8 percent from the previous year. Giving to benevo-lent causes in local communities increased to $36.9 million, up more than 10 percent.


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