The ELCA Church Council voted to cut the 2010 churchwide current fund budget by about $7.7 million (or 10 percent) to $69,022,800 at its Nov. 13-15 meeting in Chicago. As part of the cuts, 40.75 full-time equivalent churchwide staff positions — including six vacant positions — were eliminated, M. Wyvetta Bullock, executive for administration, told the council.
The council also eliminated salary increases and a continuing education program for churchwide staff.
Treasurer Christina Jackson-Skelton said 2010 mission support, responsible for 80.7 percent of the budget, is expected to be about $55 million, $7.2 million less than in 2009. However, ELCA World Hunger, showing no decrease in funding, retained its $18.7 million 2010 spending authorization, she said.
Presiding Bishop Mark S. Hanson attributed the cuts to the struggling U.S. economy, a continuing trend of declining mission support and some congregations withholding funds in response to 2009 Churchwide Assembly actions. One of those allows congregations, if they choose, to call ministers who are in committed same-gender relationships.
"However one analyzes the contributing factors, the consequences are the same," Hanson said. "Mission is diminished. Unity is strained. Lives are impacted. And faith is tested."
Separate from the council's action, churchwide units that are separately incorporated or don't receive mission support (Women of the ELCA, The Lutheran, ELCA Mission Investment Fund and ELCA Foundation) eliminated another 10 staff positions.
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