Author Topic: ELCA Fiscal Crisis continues into 2010  (Read 23173 times)

John Theiss

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Re: ELCA Fiscal Crisis continues into 2010
« Reply #195 on: October 09, 2010, 06:20:16 PM »
Brian, could you please list once more your understanding of 1st and 2nd use of the Law?  Granted that there may be some variations "taught" across Lutheranism, the "format" I learned was:
1st - Curb, to stop to some extent the course outbreak of sin (part of the Romans thing about Gentiles doing by nature what the law commands without ever having had the law).
2nd - Mirror, to reflect back to us our inability to keep the law (especially in light of the sermon on the mount with all the "you have heard but I say to you" explanation) and thus to show us our need for salvation / a savior outside of us.
3rd - Rule, to show us how to live (which for those "in Christ" is done as pure response to God's love [in a theoretic sense, as none of us is able to be pure] as a way of living out our thanks).

Which are the two you combine (or which ones if not included above, and what would you subtract) and why combine them?

Thank you.

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: ELCA Fiscal Crisis continues into 2010
« Reply #196 on: October 10, 2010, 12:03:14 AM »
Brian, could you please list once more your understanding of 1st and 2nd use of the Law?  Granted that there may be some variations "taught" across Lutheranism, the "format" I learned was:
1st - Curb, to stop to some extent the course outbreak of sin (part of the Romans thing about Gentiles doing by nature what the law commands without ever having had the law).
2nd - Mirror, to reflect back to us our inability to keep the law (especially in light of the sermon on the mount with all the "you have heard but I say to you" explanation) and thus to show us our need for salvation / a savior outside of us.
3rd - Rule, to show us how to live (which for those "in Christ" is done as pure response to God's love [in a theoretic sense, as none of us is able to be pure] as a way of living out our thanks).

Which are the two you combine (or which ones if not included above, and what would you subtract) and why combine them?

1st Use -- promotes civil righteousness (thus its title: "Civil Use") by curbing bad/evil behaviors and encouraging good/loving deeds for the sake of neighbor and the good of society.

2nd Use -- the hammer of God or "the club" to pound us to our knees in repentance before Christ.

3rd Use -- Christians remain under the first two uses in opposition to those who claimed to be free from the law. We need the law for order in our lives and in society and for the good of our neighbors. We need the law to continue to expose and confront us with our sins and our sinfulness. One can say that this is the way we are to live: avoiding evil, doing good; and living repentantly.
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

Steve Ames

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Re: ELCA Fiscal Crisis continues into 2010
« Reply #197 on: October 11, 2010, 09:26:51 PM »
On October 5th Reply #118, I concluded: “The original budget for 2010 – 2011 called for $77 million in spending so a $14 million decrease in mission support would probably lead to a 2011 – 2012 budget of no more than $63 million or a decrease of over 18%,.”  Since then, the ELCA has taken steps to address the financial crisis while looking ahead to the Fiscal Year 2011 – 2012 budget. 


ELCA NEWS SERVICE
October 11, 2010

ELCA Presiding Bishop Announces New Churchwide Organization Design for 2011
10-267-JB
http://www.elca.org/Who-We-Are/Our-Three-Expressions/Churchwide-Organization/Communication-Services/News/Releases.aspx?a=4654

… Implementation of the new design will mean the 358-member churchwide staff -- including 270 here at the churchwide office -- will decrease by approximately 65 employees or 60 full-time equivalents, Hanson said.  In addition because nearly half of ELCA Global Mission's mission support budget covers costs for mission personnel, unit reductions will affect up to five mission personnel currently in service, said the Rev. Rafael Malpica Padilla, executive director.
     Staff directly affected by the new design are being notified Oct. 11 about their positions. …


My observation: Eliminating 65 positions out of 358 positions is 18% of the churchwide positions.  The size of the cost savings depends on the mix of level of the positions being eliminated.  If the personnel cuts excluded executive positions then the cost savings will probably be less than 18%.  One issue not addressed in the article is how the newly vacant office space will be utilized?  Some of the salary savings could end up being used to maintain unused office facilities.


... In particular Hanson said the action was precipitated by a significant drop in mission support income -- funds from ELCA congregations to the churchwide organization and shared by the church's 65 synods.
     "In 2008 after adjusting for inflation, the value of mission support income had declined by half since the founding of this church in 1988," Hanson wrote to the council. "From 2008 to 2011, estimated churchwide mission support dropped from $65.3 million to $48 million."  The work of the design team is based on an estimated range of $45 million to $48 million in annual mission support income for the next three years, Hanson said. ...


My observation:  The underlying assumption appears to be that the current decline in mission support will bottom out at the $45 million  to $48 million range in 2011. 


... Additional action regarding the new design will be considered by the Church Council at its November 12-14 meeting and by the ELCA Churchwide Assembly in August 2011.
     Hanson said the design team focused on two churchwide organization priorities: accompanying congregations as growing center of evangelical mission; and building the ELCA's capacity for evangelical witness and service in the world to alleviate poverty, and to work for justice and peace.  ...…


Question:  Could the next step in this ELCA new organization design implementation process tackle the question of how many synod organizations are needed -- could the number of synods be reduced from the current 65?


ELCA NEWS SERVICE
October 11, 2010

ELCA Deeply Committed to Revitalizing Congregations
10-268-MRC
http://www.elca.org/Who-We-Are/Our-Three-Expressions/Churchwide-Organization/Communication-Services/News/Releases.aspx?a=4655

… The ELCA has authorized more than $2.48 million to help congregations with their plans and to support ethnic-specific ministry strategies and specialized areas such as prison ministry, ministry among people living with disabilities and ministry with the poor. The ELCA review table that considered proposals from congregations and others seeking to strategically revitalize their ministries was comprised of synod bishops, seminary presidents and other church leaders. …

My observation:  The timing of this article leads me to wonder if the $2.48 million for revitalizing congregations is new funds beyond the current ELCA new organization design financial plan. 


ELCA NEWS SERVICE
October 7, 2010

ELCA Secretary Reports Draft Governance Proposals, ELCA Statistics
10-264-JB
http://www.elca.org/Who-We-Are/Our-Three-Expressions/Churchwide-Organization/Communication-Services/News/Releases.aspx?a=4651

… The draft proposals were reported to the ELCA leaders for response. The proposals will be considered by the Church Council at its Nov. 12-14 meeting, Swartling explained.  He presented three draft proposals related to the Churchwide Assembly:
+ Provide for a three-year assembly cycle, coupled with "strategies for missional, theological, regional, synodical and/or other events in the intervening years." 
Reduce the number of advisory and non-voting members to the assembly whose expenses are paid by the churchwide organization. …


My observation:  There should be some cost savings from reducing those attending rhe CWA and possibly some additional savings by going to a three year cycle for the CWA.   Yet this proposal and possibly some other cost savings contained in this October 7th announcement was not going to be enough but rather suggested additional changes were forthcoming such as those announced today.

IMHO, there remains too much uncertainty  about the trend in mission support funds to know whether the ELCA has been able with these steps to adequately address the current financial crisis.  The only thing certain is that 65 individuals will be seeking their next employment in one of the worst employment markets in years.  My hope is that the ELCA is providing more than just prayers to assist these individuals.
John 6
 28Then they asked him, "What must we do to do the works God requires?"
 29Jesus answered, "The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent."

LTSwede

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Re: ELCA Fiscal Crisis continues into 2010
« Reply #198 on: October 11, 2010, 10:21:22 PM »
Question:  Could the next step in this ELCA new organization design implementation process tackle the question of how many synod organizations are needed -- could the number of synods be reduced from the current 65?

Already happening in Michigan.  NW lower MI. has been approached by SE MI (both in serious financial difficulties with SE also without a Bishop atm) to explore the 2 becoming one.

Charles_Austin

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Re: ELCA Fiscal Crisis continues into 2010
« Reply #199 on: October 12, 2010, 03:35:46 AM »
I believe it has been clear to many that since the organization of the ELCA, the decision to have 65 synods was not a good idea. During the final days before approving the merger, there was in some circles a great "fear" of synods that were too large to be "pastoral" or synod headquarters too far from too many congregations.
I have thought for a long time that a realignment of synods, especially in those states having four or five synods, would be coming.

Harvey_Mozolak

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Re: ELCA Fiscal Crisis continues into 2010
« Reply #200 on: October 12, 2010, 07:49:40 AM »
sorry to make someone work for me, in this request, but thanks...

how many employees of ELCA national were left go in the layoffs during the last two years, before and now just this week?
how much of a budget hit are the finances 2010-11 and for 2011-2012  (I understand the later is guessed at -18% in a recent post)?

Harvey Mozolak
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DCharlton

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Re: ELCA Fiscal Crisis continues into 2010
« Reply #201 on: October 12, 2010, 12:58:19 PM »
I believe it has been clear to many that since the organization of the ELCA, the decision to have 65 synods was not a good idea. During the final days before approving the merger, there was in some circles a great "fear" of synods that were too large to be "pastoral" or synod headquarters too far from too many congregations.
I have thought for a long time that a realignment of synods, especially in those states having four or five synods, would be coming.


If what is reported about SWLMI and SEMI is true, it demonstrates the difficulty.  The size needed to maintain sufficient resources (financial and human) and the size needed to be truly pastoral are seldom the same thing.  In the Florida-Bahamas Synod this has been a continuing problem.  We have churches in Key West and Panama City and everywhere in between.  For many congregations, a trip to the synod office either requires a flight or a stay in a hotel.  An additional problem is the cultural difference between Miami, Tampa, Jacksonville and the Panhandle.  It's difficult for the bishop and his/her assistants to keep in touch with the needs and challenges of all the congregations.  (Not that they don't try!)
David Charlton  

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David M. Frye, OblSB

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Re: ELCA Fiscal Crisis continues into 2010
« Reply #202 on: October 12, 2010, 03:11:09 PM »
Was it an assumption, spoken or silent, that synods in the ELCA had to have some rough equivalency in size, measured in headcount of the baptized, or numbers of parishes, in order to satisfy some principle of representation?

The CNLC did most of its work while I had my head down in seminary, so those old debates are a little foggy for me. I do know that my home synod, Central Pa. (LCA) was cut into three (?) pieces. I recall that the old synod seemed to work administratively and was about ten percent of the LCA. This gave it economies of scale, some political influence, but also meant that its bishop would take about ten years to visit every congregation, assuming one congregation per Sunday.

The principle of rough equivalency for representation may explain the vast geographic expanses of the current Rocky Mountain Synod.
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Kurt Strause

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Re: ELCA Fiscal Crisis continues into 2010
« Reply #203 on: October 12, 2010, 04:04:07 PM »
Was it an assumption, spoken or silent, that synods in the ELCA had to have some rough equivalency in size, measured in headcount of the baptized, or numbers of parishes, in order to satisfy some principle of representation?

The CNLC did most of its work while I had my head down in seminary, so those old debates are a little foggy for me. I do know that my home synod, Central Pa. (LCA) was cut into three (?) pieces. I recall that the old synod seemed to work administratively and was about ten percent of the LCA. This gave it economies of scale, some political influence, but also meant that its bishop would take about ten years to visit every congregation, assuming one congregation per Sunday.

The principle of rough equivalency for representation may explain the vast geographic expanses of the current Rocky Mountain Synod.

Don't know about trying to keep them the same size, but there was certainly a belief that certain synods, including the one you mentioned, were too big and too influential.

I grew up in Central Penn and I don't recall that visitation to parishes was a high expectation of the synod president. I'll ask former bishop Howard McCarney next time I see him. He's still quite active.

Kurt Strause
ELCA pastor, Lancaster, PA

Richard Johnson

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Re: ELCA Fiscal Crisis continues into 2010
« Reply #204 on: October 12, 2010, 04:15:16 PM »
The principle of rough equivalency for representation may explain the vast geographic expanses of the current Rocky Mountain Synod.

Don't know about trying to keep them the same size, but there was certainly a belief that certain synods, including the one you mentioned, were too big and too influential.

From the ever-quoted Anatomy of a Merger by Trexler: "Criteria for synod and regional boundaries included state lines, history, transportation and commerce centers, topography, resource capabilities, regional concerns, and jurisdictions of other religious bodies." Nothing there about size for representational equality. If that was a criterion, they blew it big time, since at the merger synods ranged from 27 congregations to 312 congregations; from 8,714 baptized members to 212,378 baptized members.

That viability criterion was one I remember. Sierra Pacific Synod ended up with 217 congregations (or so). There was talk about splitting it in two; but there was no logical way to do it geographically that would also allow each of the two synods to be financially viable, since larger congregations were clustered in particular areas.
The Rev. Richard O. Johnson, STS

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Re: ELCA Fiscal Crisis continues into 2010
« Reply #205 on: October 14, 2010, 01:55:00 PM »
I think this fits into this thread. The Bp. made a presentation to church wide staff about the new design for the ELCA. It can be viewed here:

http://www.elca.org/Who-We-Are/Our-Three-Expressions/Churchwide-Organization/Communication-Services/All-Staff-Convocation.aspx

minutes 1-5 are about the missing CW Staff member, the rest is about the new church.
Peter Kruse

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pterandon

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Re: ELCA Fiscal Crisis continues into 2010
« Reply #206 on: October 15, 2010, 07:57:20 AM »
I think this fits into this thread. The Bp. made a presentation to church wide staff about the new design for the ELCA. It can be viewed here:

http://www.elca.org/Who-We-Are/Our-Three-Expressions/Churchwide-Organization/Communication-Services/All-Staff-Convocation.aspx

minutes 1-5 are about the missing CW Staff member, the rest is about the new church.

If I may say so, the very wording of the URL itself speaks of an organization into disingenuous and unconvincing propaganda. 


It is a misunderstanding of Traditionalism to think it applies to our near history or only to our denominations etc.  And that misunderstanding is a fatal a flaw of revisionism, they are confused when they believe that we are allowed to revise Scripture and Tradition, Christ and Christ's words are eternal.

I can imagine the Pope saying that, but not Luther.

If I believed jpetty's version of Luther I'd swim the Tiber tomorrow.

Mike Bennett

But since you believe Luther was a Roman Catholic Traditionalist, this enables you to be "more Catholic than the Pope" by staying in the Lutheran church.

Luther did in fact throw a brick through the window of Patriarchal institutions, the papacy of the Catholic Church being one of them.  But you wholly misread Luther. He was a radical against temporal authority but not against the bible in the way that the ELCA has.   Luther rubbed the pope's nose in the plain and simple meaning of the bible.  "Bad Catholicism," if not all Catholicism, allows for what you are advocating: that the temporal authorities in the RC hierarchy to revise Scripture and tradition, to change the teaching.

I just this morning heard a lecture where a Catholic man said in 1950's US, they believed in "no salvation outside the Catholic church." Then the bishop who taught this was excommunicated.  He asked his mother, "Don't we believe in 'no salvation outside the Catholic church?' "  His mother replied, "We don't anymore."   This isn't Luther's view. 


Dadoo

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Re: ELCA Fiscal Crisis continues into 2010
« Reply #207 on: October 17, 2010, 06:47:50 PM »
The Chronicle of Philanthropy reports that nationwide charitable organizations are seeing an 11% drop in contributions. (ref: http://philanthropy.com/blogs/prospecting/donations-increased-slightly-in-summer-months-survey-finds/27563)

So, it stand to reason that any decrease in giving to the ELCA beyond 11% might just be because of CWA 09. How far down are we exactly?
Peter Kruse

Diversity and tolerance are very complex concepts. Rigid conformity is needed to ensure their full realization. - Mike Adams

Michael Slusser

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Re: ELCA Fiscal Crisis continues into 2010
« Reply #208 on: October 17, 2010, 07:08:26 PM »
The Chronicle of Philanthropy reports that nationwide charitable organizations are seeing an 11% drop in contributions. (ref: http://philanthropy.com/blogs/prospecting/donations-increased-slightly-in-summer-months-survey-finds/27563)

So, it stand to reason that any decrease in giving to the ELCA beyond 11% might just be because of CWA 09. How far down are we exactly?

I checked the link you supplied, but didn't find such a decrease. E.g.,

Small charities with revenues under $1-million did the best. They reported an 11.2-percent increase in donations for the three months ending in August, compared with those months last year.

In fact, small charities did much better than medium-size groups with revenue of $1-million to $10-million; those groups reported a 1.9-percent decline in giving. Large charities with revenue over $10-million reported a 0.2 percent drop.


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Michael
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Michael Slusser

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Re: ELCA Fiscal Crisis continues into 2010
« Reply #209 on: October 17, 2010, 08:31:32 PM »
It's worth keeping in mind that this year the estate tax is "off," so people who are very wealthy won't be leaving money to their churches to keep it out of the hands of the tax man. If that tax is restored next year, as it is scheduled to be, it may help with large bequests.

Peace,
Michael
Fr. Michael Slusser
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