Synod Council Updates - 1/9/2021

January 13, 2021

The Synod Council met on Saturday, January 9 from 9am-4pm over ZOOM. Highlights of the meeting are as follows:

 

  1. We welcomed Rev. Andrea Windsor-Peterson, co-pastor at Advent in Augusta, as the newest member of Synod Council who serves as the representative from Conference 1.
  2. Bishop Strickland presented his report to our synod, which can be found here. Highlights include Synod COVID-19 responses and resources, Stewardship and Abundance update, Prayer Team, Evangelism, Faith Formation Resources, Congregation Transitions, Candidacy, Strategic Vision Task Force and new logo. Rev. Devin Strong joined the meeting to provide an update on the work of the Diversity and Justice Task Force. 
  3. A Synod Office Advisory Board will be formed of members of our Synod and members of St. John’s Lutheran Church to address the day to day needs and concerns of our lease. 
  4. Rev. Justin Eller presented and received approval for our synod’s Latinx Ministry Strategy and the creation of a Latinx Ministry Initiatives Task Force.
  5. Stewardship Updates were presented by Rev. Eric Murray and included an update on our Abundance Appeal. Almost $100K has been committed by individuals and congregations to assist with the anticipated $225K shortfall for 2021, and sixty-six congregations have already made 2021 Mission Support Intents. We give thanks for God’s abundance!
  6. Rev. Patti Axel presented the new Evangelism/Vitality strategy for our synod and received approval for the creation of a Vitality Committee.
  7. We welcomed Rev. Ana Lugo, our ELCA-Foundation gift planner who joined our staff in November. Our synod’s Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Foundation identifies our priorities for the year can be found here. Please invite Rev. Lugo into your congregation, deanery, and home to discuss legacy planning. 
  8. Budget and Finance
    1. Our current financial statement can be found here.  Giving is significantly down, but with our PPP, Abundance Appeal and reduced expenses, we expect to end the fiscal year in the black. The concern is 2021 with no PPP. The investments in the synod endowment accounts and the Strategic Initiatives Fund have continued to do quite well. 
    2. Any surplus or deficit in the operating fund at the end of this fiscal year be cleared according to this resolution.
    3. 100% of the contributions to the Synod’s Abundance Appeal through Jan 2022 will remain in the Synod and be allocated to the operating fund. 
    4. Churchwide Representative Nick Kiger joined in consultation to discuss the mission support percentage from our synod to the ELCA. Our Council voted to reduce our mission support percentage from 50% to 43% for a period of three years, with the goal to raise it back to 50% as quickly as synod finances stabilize. Given the increased stewardship emphasis in our synod and our partnership with the ELCA-Foundation, our synod expects this change to be short term.
  9. The 2021 Synod Assembly will be held online Saturday, June 5 and will utilize digital conference software. Voting members will come in through a secure portal for voting. Visitors are welcome to attend the Assembly through the live-streaming platform of the Assembly. Offerings from the Assembly will be given to our synod’s multicultural ministries. Costs and more information will be distributed shortly.
  10. The Synod Council worked on a Covenant of Leadership, setting standards for their responsibilities and relationships with promises to God, our synod family, and each other on Synod Council.
  11. Great Commission, Lin, and Morton Funds grants were awarded to seven congregations.