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.
"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."
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