The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Dealing with a weak dollar

Dollar's decline also affects the church's global work

Rafael Malpica Padilla, executive director of ELCA Global Mission, will tell you: “[The falling value of the dollar] is affecting us in more than one way.”

In early 2008 the value of the U.S. dollar dropped to an all-time low against the European Union’s euro. The weakened dollar has had far-reaching effects—including a profound impact on international mission agencies.

Lutheran World Relief
President John Arthur Nunes said the agency and its partners in Africa, Asia and Latin America have also been hit hard.

Funding challenges are one of many
Funding challenges are one of many issues full-time ELCA mission personnel Louis Dorvilier (right) and Ron Shellhamer talk about in Totota, Liberia. In the background, workers take a break from construction of a new library for the Lutheran Church in Liberia’s Louis T. Bowers Theological Training Center.
Both Global Mission and LWR employ an accompaniment model in their work. Such a model allows local partners the “line item flexibility” to avoid financial interruptions, Nunes said. “We built contingencies into our budget to protect our partners … because we want to protect them first from some of the consequences of the depreciation of the dollar,” he said.

But the contingencies, which Nunes said allowed for a 5 percent decline, haven’t been enough.

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February issue


Embracing diversity