May 9, 2015

Congregational Giving Continues to Increase

Congregations’ mission support giving to and through the synod has been on a slight increase since 2012, Treasurer Janet Huber Neff, CPA, told the Assembly. In 2014, 81 of the synod’s 157 congregations maintained or increased their mission support, of which 50 percent is offered as support to the ELCA churchwide organization.

Neff said as a percentage of congregational regular giving 27 churches gave 10 per cent or more, 66 gave 5-9 per cent, 44 gave .1 to 4.9 per cent and 21 furnished no support

Neff is in her fourth year serving as synod treasurer. She gave a detailed report on the synod’s 2015 budget, including audit report details furnished by Tait, Weller.

The synod received total support and revenue of $3,713,644 in the fiscal year ending January 31. During the same period the synod incurred $3,487,665 in expenses, significantly less than the revenue for the period.

14MissionSuppShe said the synod has $1,989,681 in total cash and investments with total net assets of $3,117,997. A total of $2,148,802 came from churches over the year, she said. Gifts from congregations were slightly higher than the previous year and revenue from churches has been on the increase since 2012.

Operating expenses totaled $1,300,126. The proportionate share of funds going from the synod to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America was $1,076,047. That figure was 50 per cent of mission support received from synod congregations. A total of $149,277 was spent on property management to maintain closed churches. The synod reported that $404,987 was distributed to agencies, much of that directly sent the agencies by congregations, with the synod receiving a report. A total of $464,445 went to mission expense and grants to congregations for special projects came to $92,783.

14ExpensesFor 2014, actual expenses by major purpose category went like this: $1,646,614 went for assistance to partners, such as agencies and institutions, ecumenical and interfaith partners; $464,445 went to mission endeavors, such as support to mission congregations, Global Vision and Companion Synod, Youth and Young Adult Ministry; $905,201 going to the Office of the Bishop for governance and the deans, finance office and communications; $397,889 for synod administration including such costs as general office expenses, occupancy and utilities, insurance and depreciation, and $73,516 for Leadership costs, including candidacy, and for supporting and equipping and nurturing rostered and lay leaders for the work of ministry.

Neff explained that initial administrative expenses for the new Forward in Faith initiative are coming from the synod’s Fund for Mission, amounting to $118,000 so far. As donations to the initiative come in the Fund for Mission will be accordingly replenished.

Pastor Charles Leonard of St. Mark Lutheran Church in Philadelphia asked whether a $20,000 grant promised by the synod to the African Descent Strategy had been paid to the Strategy. He noted that much time had been devoted to putting a strategy together. Bishop Claire Burkat assured Pastor Leonard the funds would be disbursed once the synod has received a copy of the strategy. — Mark Staples