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August 4, 2010

ELCA Church Council trims churchwide budget by $4.2 million


After spending two hours of a two-and one-half hour conference call meeting in closed session Aug. 4, the ELCA Church Council voted in open session to cut the churchwide 2010 current fund spending authorization by 6 percent, from $69.3 to $65.1 million. ELCA Treasurer Christina Jackson-Skelton reported that, through the end of June, 2010 mission support was down $3.7 million (a 15.2 percent reduction) from the same period in 2009.

Spread across a variety of churchwide units, the $4.2 million cut affects some more deeply than others: Vocation and Education, down $592,000 (6.28 percent); Global Mission, down $448,000 (3.34 percent); Evangelical Outreach and Congregational Mission, down $400,000 (2.23 percent); Development Services, down $331,050 (22.06 percent); Church in Society, down $131,000 (4.72 percent); and Multicultural Ministries, down $94,870 (7.73 percent).

Wyvetta Bullock, executive for administration, told the council that churchwide was still trying to hold its commitment to new starts and missionaries. "We're not recalling any missionaries," Bullock said.

Bullock told The Lutheran that the $4.2 million cut includes: decreases in international scholarship grants; elimination of some unassigned new [mission] starts funding; reductions in grants to colleges and universities; small decreases in seminary and campus ministry grants; decreases in program activities; reductions in general office and administrative costs; and position vacancies.

"There were no staff reductions in this revised spending authorization," Bullock said.

In a separate action, in response to requests from nine synods, the council established an ad hoc committee to bring to the November 2010 council meeting a report and possible recommendations on ELCA Board of Pensions annuity funding, losses and "steps to mitigate adverse effects of the Fund reductions." 

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