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ELCA: Budget cut, restructuring ahead

Faced with continuing declines in mission support, the ELCA Church Council will meet Aug. 3 by conference call to consider revising the 2010 budget and spending plan, and restructuring the churchwide organization in 2011, M. Wyvetta Bullock, ELCA executive for administration, told staff in a June 21 e-mail.

Photodisc"You may recall that mission support represents approximately 80 percent of our churchwide organization's general operating budget," Bullock wrote. "As we plan for 2011, given the depth of the changes necessary, we will be creating a plan to restructure the churchwide organization to align our work with anticipated income."

Restructuring planners will include the Church Council, the Conference of Bishops, the churchwide administrative team and churchwide executives, working with the presiding bishop and staff, Bullock said.

Mission support, sometimes called benevolence, is income sent by congregations to synods, which share a portion with the churchwide organization. At the start of the 2010 fiscal year, leaders were budgeting for $55.1 million in churchwide mission support — a 7.7 percent reduction from 2009.

Bullock attributed the decline in mission support to a 30-year trend in giving, the economic downturn and declines in congregational income due to the 2009 Churchwide Assembly's decisions related to human sexuality.

"We are also mindful that challenges are being faced by synods, congregations, institutions, agencies and ecumenical partners," Bullock wrote. "I continue to be thankful for your partnership and commitment to serve this church. Our prayers for one another and this church are needed as we walk together in the days ahead."


Comments

Bill Siiss

Bill Siiss

Posted at 12:00 pm (U.S. Eastern) 8/3/2010

The ELCA does most things exacting right. [I say "most things" because I don't know everything the ELCA does.]

Love? -  power ?- justice? I am proud to be a retired ELCA pastor.

Stephen Johansson

Stephen Johansson

Posted at 7:28 pm (U.S. Eastern) 8/4/2010

The previous person who commented wrote that the ELCA does most things "exactly right."  My question is, "By whose standards?"  The problem with the ELCA is that they do not recognize a moral guide or authority that decides what is right and what is wrong.  Instead, we all get to decide based on our brokenness and human feelings what is right and what is wrong.  As a sinner that is saved through the blood of Jesus Christ, my authority is Christ and the Word of God, rather than my fleeting human thought and emotions.  That is why I (and thousands of others) have left the ELCA.

Michael

Michael

Posted at 2:38 pm (U.S. Eastern) 8/5/2010

Stephen, why don't you tell the truth? You left the ELCA because you hate and fear gay people. How pathetic it is for you to base your religion on homophobia. Go be a Southern Baptist because there is nothing Lutheran about you.

Web Manager

Web Manager

Posted at 5:01 pm (U.S. Eastern) 8/5/2010

All: Please keep this dialogue civil. Consider reviewing our Terms of Use before posting, specifically the section regarding Use Policies.

E.D.

E.D.

Posted at 6:20 pm (U.S. Eastern) 8/5/2010

I left the ELCA and I am not homophobic... I have a  2 nephews who iare gay... and have had several bosses who were gay. and love them.. I just know what I know and I pray a lot...

John

John

Posted at 9:31 am (U.S. Eastern) 8/8/2010

Sadly, this is what it has come to due to the decisions of the Assembly in 2009-the extremes on both sides are shouting the loudest. There are millions of faithful ELCA folks, some who agreed with the decisions, some who did not, and most are not evil, nor homophobic.

By voting on social issues, the church has divided itself. However, I don't think those who voted for the changes are evil or bad people for doing so, and it is a sign of welcome for gay brothers or sisters in Christ. At the same time , I am sick and tired of everyone who opposed this being called bigots. Many support full civil rights for gays ,but don't agree that they should be their pastors or leaders or in the church . Being a pastor is not a right. it comes with expectations and rules of conduct. Changing those is bound to bring controversy. 

Let's tone down the namecalling, and try to converse with each other.   

 

Michael

Michael

Posted at 1:08 pm (U.S. Eastern) 8/8/2010

John, there can be no conversation with those who think some humans are inherently unworthy of serving Christ and His Church.

Kevin

Kevin

Posted at 3:52 pm (U.S. Eastern) 8/8/2010

But Michael, anyone who is arrogant enough to snub God by declaring their sin a non-sin, is indeed unworthy to serve as a leader in His church.  Seriously, what gumption does it even take to want to crash such a Heavenly party? 

I mean, what makes gay/lesbian people so darn special?  You know, when I see an attractive woman in the mall, and think not so moral thoughts about her, I humbly ask God for forgiveness of such sins on Sunday through the use of confession.  Why should gay and lesbian folks now not be expected to do the same?  Is acting as a homosexual no longer a sin?  If not, when did it change?  And if not, should I have to continue to ask for foregiveness for my referenced lust?

Please, give me a break!  People are leaving the ELCA by the hundred of thousands (if not millions) over far more than the homosexuality issue.  I know, I'm one of them.  This issue is way more complicated than homosexuality; instead, it is about the arrogant reinterpreting of sin - something that most that depart believe ONLY God can do!        

GLongtree

GLongtree

Posted at 2:01 pm (U.S. Eastern) 8/9/2010

How long is everyone going to go on this pro-gay/anti-gay kick to explain why is losing its members to other churches?  I have been a member of the ELCA since the mid 80's and I can tell you precisely the reason that the Church is losing its members: It's because we do not live in a black & white world any longer, have not lived in a black & white worls since the 60's and thankfully the ELCA has finally recognized that with a whole host issues including racism, women's rights and yes the statement on sexuality.  I don't know what is the future for the ELCA but in the end I am glad and proud to be a member of a church that really does stand for Luther's vision and on what basis of humanity Jesus wanted his sacrifice to be for and about.

Kevin

Kevin

Posted at 4:29 pm (U.S. Eastern) 8/9/2010

Sorry GLongtree, though I too was a member of the ELCA since the beginning (1988), I have to confess that I have now moved on to another denomination and that I respectfully disagree with your views. First, I have no doubt that Luther - if somehow walking the earth today - would disown all of those calling themselves Lutherans (as opposed to those who consider themselves Christians who just associate with the principles of Luther) and that he would be especially harsh to those in the ELCA camp - an organization that I really believe he would feel to be godless. Second, regarding the long term viability of the ELCA, I think that it will continue as a much smaller, very liberal branch of US Lutheranism. I'd say that within 5-10 years, it will have less than 2 million members (since it will eventually be devoid of kids), making it smaller than the LCMS. Of course, I wouldn't bet against its bankruptcy/insolvency either. Just my two cents; regardless, peace be with you!

Kevin

Kevin

Posted at 5:52 am (U.S. Eastern) 8/10/2010

Michael, not at all, I really have no interest in holding those with differing opinions - you know, the ELCA's current leadership - hostage to my biblical views with cash.  In fact, I espouse the opposite, by suggesting that those who don't share the current ELCA's beliefs to just leave regardless of whether or not their church assets are coming along for the ride.  I know something of this as I personally left the ELCA a year ago this month even though I had made a sizable contribution to my former congregation's capital debt reduction fund just months before.  Yes, I could have stayed around believing that I was owed something by my former congregation and denomination, but importantly, I didn't.  I just left and am very happy that I did. 

As far as your analysis of my use of the word "liberal", fine, if that word offends, please accept my apologies.  Instead, let's just substitute "liberal" with the word "loose". 

Finally, as far as your congregation not having one member leave because of last year's issue, congratulations, you all are one of the lucky ones.  That tells me you likely reside in one of a handful of urban centers around the nation.  On the other hand, in my "hate-filled", "backwards" state, I know of no ELCA congregation that is not in serious financial trouble.  Yes, it is true that very few churches have actually left within my state.  Why is this?  Frankly, I believe it is mainly due to a bishop who has done a masterful job of speaking out of both sides of his mouth.  Regardless though, whether a congregation stays or not is of little consequence for I've got pretty good data which supports that ten of thousands of congregants have already left ELCA churches within my state.  If so, in the aggregate, I can see nothing but a loss in the hundred of thousands - and likely, millions - for the ELCA.  In fact, the ELCA's recent sizable budget reductions alone point to this level of congregant removal.  Oh, and all of this within just the first year.  IMO, the ELCA's crisis will just compound over the coming years.  Sorry for the doom and gloom; again, just my two cents on this topic from "The Lutheran."  Peace be with you!             

Dwight

Dwight

Posted at 8:54 am (U.S. Eastern) 8/10/2010

Michael:
You were just cited by the web master for quoting the Bible.  Does this not give you an indication of where this church is headed? 

Read John 1 39-43

I claim 'bound conscience' for using the Bible quote.

+Peace.  



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