calendar May 6, 2013 in Assembly, Finance

Mission Continues Despite Giving Decline

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod invested nearly $300,000 in mission programs in 2012, despite the continued decline in partnership support from congregations.

This figure included youth and young adult congregations, planting and revitalizing congregations, global relationships and other mission programs in 2012, Treasurer Janet Huber Neff told the Assembly.

Treas1In many areas the Synod held the line or underspent budget expectations last year, yet the Synod experienced a budget shortfall. The Synod also continues to pay property expenses for several closed congregations, totaling $170,486 for 2012.

Since 2010, there has been a $210,645 decrease in partnership support from congregations. Seventy-four congregations maintained or increased mission support in 2012. Out of 160 congregations in the synod, 29 give 10% of their reported regular giving receipts, but 21 give no support at all. Two in three congregations give between 5-9.9%. In 2012 the synod continued to submit its 53.5 % proportionate share to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

The Synod office has adapted to this new reality by cutting back on a range of expenses and reducing staff. During 2012 the Synod underspent many budget categories to track with declining revenue. Operations continue to be efficient, with more than 40 teams and networks supporting the bishop and staff in the ministries of the Synod.

Treas2“We’ve cut in every possible area we can think of,” said Janet Huber Neff, Synod Treasurer. “It’s a problem because we won’t be able to do what we want to do as a synod.”

Neff encouraged voting members to look at the report listing what their congregation sends to the synod each year for partnership. She also encouraged them to submit their annual parochial report each year. “We’ll help you fill it out if you have trouble doing it,” said Neff.