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Directors adopt budget and discuss task force reports

BOD begins preparing for 2011 convention resolutions based on task force findings

Friday, April 9, 2010

Rev. Nolan Astley reports from the seminary task force

WINNIPEG – With a wide-ranging agenda, Lutheran Church–Canada’s Board of Directors met March 25-26. The 12-member board adopted a $1.7 million budget for 2010-11.

The Synod finished the previous fiscal year with a $1,452 deficit variance compared to the budget. This figure was significantly less than treasurer Dwayne Cleave had reported to the board at its November meeting. At that time, the treasurer had predicted at $60,000 shortfall variance. In the final two months of the fiscal year a significant bequest, a major gift and increased mission offerings in the East District reduced the deficit significantly. Approximately one-third of Synod’s annual budget supports church worker education; one-third core overseas mission activity; and one-third Synod services, the president’s office, and communication which includes The Canadian Lutheran and online activities.

Task force reports

Since a significant portion of the budget is dedicated to church worker education, the board was interested in hearing from Rev. Nolan Astley, chairman of the Task Force on Efficient and Sustainable Seminary Education. The chairman outlined the activities of the task force and asked the board to present responses to a series of questions that will help clarify the expectations of Synod for its seminaries. Rev. Astley told the board “there are no easy solutions, but as a Synod we can’t continually go through asking ourselves what we should do.” The members of the task force will meet for two days in London, Ontario at the end of April to assess all of its findings and begin formulating recommendations. Two other task forces reported to the BOD.

The group looking into LCC’s vicarage program is currently preparing recommendations to take to the 2011 Synodical convention as is the Task Force on Cultural Properties and Archives.

Benefit Plans status

The board also heard from LCC’s other challenging area, Worker Benefit Plans. On behalf of the plans’ Board of Managers (BOM), Dwayne Cleave reported that the pension plan is slowly rebounding from its significant loss in 2008-09 due to the recession. He also noted that, based on its strategic plan, the BOM has begun looking at long-term plan sustainability and is conducting focus groups across the country that will allow members and employers to assess and respond to various options from the BOM. Based on the response, and guided by the strategic plan, the BOM hopes to present some recommendations for changes to the plan by June. The Board of Directors must give final approval before implementation.

The directors appointed Mr. Cleave to serve as executive director of LCC’s Worker Benefit Plans, a position he held on an interim basis following the retirement of Inge Schroeder in December 2009.

President’s report

In his report, President Robert Bugbee noted that 59 congregations are currently without a pastor. Of that total, 23 are calling a pastor, two are calling a second pastor and the balance are not calling a pastor. He expressed concern about the “wide areas where the people do not have the benefit of Word and Sacrament ministry.” The president also noted ongoing discussions regarding Concordia High School in Edmonton and new developments with the emerging Lutheran church body in Cambodia.

Taking into account responses from a field survey about the tradition of designated Sundays for various synod-affiliated groups, the Committee for Communication and Technology recommended that Synod designate monthly themes during which Auxiliaries and Listed Service Organizations can make information available to congregations. The director of communications, Dr. Ian Adnams will coordinate the plan which will begin in 2011.

Personnel

The board welcomed Arnold Drung (Holy Cross, Kitchener) who will serve the balance of the term of the late Dorothea Korcok. President Bugbee installed Mr. Drung during the board’s opening devotion. The chairman, Randy Stefan, announced the resignation of board member Larry Lutz and the board decided not to fill that vacancy.

Upon the recommendation of the Committee for Mission and Social Ministry Services, Rev. Gerson Flor was appointed as a military chaplain, stationed at the armed forces base in Trenton, Ontario and the volunteer missionary position in Nicaragua currently served by Rev. Dr. Ralph Mayan was extended to December 2010.

The board also appointed Richard Currie, VP Finance of Concordia University College to the Worker Benefit Plans Board of Managers.

The Board of Directors scheduled its next meeting by teleconference for June 24.

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