Wednesday: Gettin' down to business
This has been a work day, reports, debate on LIFT report amendments, finances and more. At the core of it all was a wonderful, early afternoon, Bible study on Genesis 5:1-13. “For freedom Christ has set you free …” “Free to serve” has been our theme this week. My Bible study group was clear that we are indeed free in Christ, but free to serve and not just be. The general spirit of the assembly as a whole has really honed in on how we serve, what it means to identify ourselves as a serving church and all that we can do as the ELCA.
Christina Jackson-Skelton, treasurer of the ELCA and president of the Mission Investment Fund gave her last report as the church’s treasurer today. She will stay with churchwide ministries, but now with our Mission Advancement unit. She is an able leader and this will be a great move.
Her treasurer’s report shared with us what we know, that 79% of our ELCA churchwide budget income comes for your Mission Support. Mission Support was $59.7 million in 2009 (down from 2008) and $52.6 in 2010. Faithful financial management, however, has kept our church operating in the back. As you know, a major restructuring has also been a part of the management plan. Mission support is leveling out, however, even as financial insecurity surrounds us all. Congregations like yours are responding in a faithful manner for the benefit of all.
In 2010 $18.6 million was received for ELCA disaster relief. Giving to the ELCA Vision for Mission fund was up 50% and at its highest level ever. The Mission Investment Fund is as strong as it has ever been. Loans have been down as little over the past three years, but they are picking up again. People are investing in our future!
A special highlight of the day was a greeting brought to us be the General Secretary of the Lutheran World Federation, Rev. Martin Junge. If you can find that online at www.elca.org/assembly it would be worth watching. In fact, there are a number of fun and interesting videos on the ELCA site. Check ‘em out.
Too much to share for today, but this is a touch. Let us know what you’re interesting in hearing, or what you’re observing from other sources. We’re glad to give you the inside scoop.
Below: Your people at work!!