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Synod weathering financial storm

Contingency plans are under discussion

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

WINNIPEG - Reports from LCC’s treasurer and three district business managers indicate that the current financial turbulence will likely put further pressure on district budgets, but not greatly affect the funds currently invested in the district’s Church Extension Funds (CEF). Most of the investments are held by churches who have borrowed from the CEF to finance building projects. The CEFs hold a small percentage of funds in high quality stocks and bonds which provide only a small portion of investment income. If the country heads into recession, then there is a risk that congregations may find it more difficult to maintain full payments on their loans as overall congregational income could decrease.

This type of decrease could, in turn, also put pressure on the budgets of the national church and its districts. Funding for the work Lutheran Church–Canada undertakes as a synod is given by members of congregations as part of their weekly offering. These funds provide support services for congregations; overseas mission activity; university and seminary theological education; communications; and synod’s various commissions responsible for doctrinal issues and reconciliation processes.

“We are monitoring the situation carefully,” reported LCC Treasurer Dwayne Cleave. “Synod and its district offices are constantly looking for ways to serve our churches in the most cost-efficient ways. The Lord calls us to be wise stewards of His gifts and we take that call seriously.”

Mr. Cleave noted that all the synod and district budgets rely on investment income of some kind and will need to reflect the income reduction by curtailing some expenses. “These kinds of cuts become difficult,” explained the treasurer. “Synod’s current budget is very much a ‘core’ budget designed to do only that which is necessary to maintain what we are currently doing. There is little manoeuvring room for new initiatives.”

Long-term financial support is the focus of Lutheran Foundation Canada. The foundation works with members of LCC congregations who wish to provide gifts for the church or one of its agencies in their wills, or give gifts of stocks and bonds.

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