May 16, 2011

Treasurer: ‘We Have Some Work to Do”

Synod Treasurer Dick Reimet offered good news and “difficult news” in his 32ndand final report to the Assembly.

Partnership support from congregations to the Synod and the ELCA fell again in 2010. The nearly $86,000 decrease brought receipts to just under $2.35 million, well below the amount received in 1985.  Measured as a percentage of congregations’ regular income, partnership support is half what it was that year.

In 2010, giving by 55 percent of congregations grew or held stable, while 34 percent showed a decline. Almost 11 percent of congregations made no partnership support contributions.

Reimet stressed the interdependent nature of the ELCA. Members give to congregations, which are encouraged to send 10 percent of regular income to the Synod.  In turn, the Synod passes 53.5 percent on to the churchwide organization. Congregations receive resources to enhance their ministries, synods provide oversight, and grants support seminaries, new mission starts, and other church expressions.

“We do have some work to do,” Reimet said, noting that there are some encouraging signs in the giving trends.

Twenty-eight congregations gave at least 10 percent of their regular offerings to the work of the larger church, and 89 percent of synod congregations made partnership support contributions.

So far, 114 congregations have made intents of giving to partnership support, twice the number that had made intents by the 2010 Assembly.  Due to the sales of several closed churches, the Synod’s Fund for Mission is now over $500,000.

As partnership support giving continues to fall, the Synod has reduced its year end deficits of the last few years by reducing expenses and this year eliminating two staff positions. Future budgets will be balanced, Reimet said.

The treasurer again called on congregations that can to increase partnership by 1 percent of their regular income in 2011.

“The Synod has reduced staff and expenses to the lowest level possible,” Reimet said. “Now we need your help to continue and increase your support for the work of the larger church.”