The financial reports and expense categories have undergone revision. The National Office has undergone another reorganization over these past two years and the financial reports reflect the process of assigning funding to responsibilities. In October 2001, a consultation was held with the officers of each synod and the National Office. The purpose of this consultation was to more clearly define the responsibilities of the National Office and those of the Synod Offices. With the declining revenues, we are not able to continue all that has been done in the past and the need was to define our priorities and look for any redundancies between our offices. The Bishop's Report discusses the definition of responsibilities between the National and Synod Offices that arose from that consultation.
Synod benevolence for 2001 remained the same as 2000, but decreased by 6.62% in 2002. The attached schedules reflect actual results to budget.
The 2001 year was a difficult one. We were still trying to provide all the same service for all programs with no increase in benevolence funding. It just didn't work.
Much of the funding of the National Office supports staff salaries. After the consultation with synods in October 2001 and the subsequent management retreat to define the action plan, much sorrow was felt in the office as we laid off two employees and said our goodbyes to Bob Granke who left our office for service with Lutheran World Federation in Geneva, Switzerland. There were further staff changes in 2002 due to resignations and one more layoff. The filling, or not filling, of the positions was done based on the vision identified in the fall of 2001.
The results for 2002 were more positive in that we were able to match our expenses to our revenues, however the staff, volunteers serving on committees, and many others have felt the reduction in program expenditures.
The convention in 2001 had yet another deficit. It is disconcerting that only 365 delegates of a possible 510 attended. With the special celebration of Full Communion with Anglicans (aka The Waterloo Declaration) and the election of officers, we had anticipated there would be more interest in this convention. You will note the 2003 Convention is very austere.
Good governance models indicate that the officers of a non-profit organization should be volunteer positions with staff being hired as required. Also, electing all four officers to four-year terms every four years does not allow for effective transition.
With the departure of Secretary Bob Granke, NCC elected Don Storch as interim secretary in a volunteer capacity and moved Rhonda Lorch into the staff position for support to Don. This model seems to work well.
Therefore, in order to facilitate the move to a volunteer treasurer with staff support, and to allow for the transition of staggering officer elections so that two officers are elected every two years, I am resigning the treasurer position effective as of the 2003 Convention. I will remain in the staff position through the transition and then listen to God's Call for what the future might bring.
At the 2003 Convention, elections will be held for the four-year terms of secretary and of treasurer. At the 2005 Convention, elections will be held for the positions of bishop and vice-president.
The CECF Advisory committee membership was revised in 2002. The Advisory is now comprised of each synod's Canadian Missions Consultant plus the Assistant to the Bishop for Synodical Relationships and the treasurer from the National Office.
The following actions were completed during 2001 & 2002:
- Westside, Barrie, ON: approval of mortgage for the purpose of constructing a new church building.
- Christ the King, Whitby, ON: approval of mortgage for the purchase of an existing church building from the United Church.
- Risen Lord, AB: purchase of land
- Lethbridge, AB: sale of land
Interest earned on investments on the portion of CECF funds that are available but not loaned, is returned to the synods in an amount proportional to baptised members. These funds are to be used to finance opportunities for Canadian mission and outreach at the synodical level. In 2001, CECF investment allocations of $239,265 were made to synods. In 2002, the investment allocation was $277,303.
Congregations who have obtained CECF mortgages are charged interest on those mortgages. To encourage congregations to make regular monthly mortgage payments a priority in their budget, a portion of the interest collected on the payments made is turned back to congregation to apply against the capital portion of their mortgage. Mortgage interest rebates to congregations as direct reduction in mortgage balances totalled $205,793 in 2001 and $207,265 in 2002.
I would like to acknowledge and thank the Evangelical Lutheran Women (ELW) for their continued support of the National Office. In each of the years 2001 and 2002, the ELW provided the National Office with $100,000 from the Praise Offering plus additional funding for specific projects from the Praise Offerings Directed. The specific projects supported were as follows:
- $1,000 for grants to seminarians to attend the Women in Ministry event By Our Anointing.
- $500 for Partners In Faith handbook for congregations.
- $3,000 for Good News Partner/International Guest tabloid.
- $2,000 for the national Lutheran University Chaplains Conference.
- $1,600 for Lutheran Outdoor Ministry in Canada publicity poster.
- $3,350 for student bursaries.
I would also like to acknowledge and provide thanks for those who planned for the church in their Wills and/or financial plans.
It is possible for group-buying programs to be put into place for our congregations, however these programs will only be effective if the majority of the congregations join the programs. Without widespread support, the extra benefits, as well as the cost savings, may be discontinued. This is especially true for the property insurance program.
There have been three group-buying programs put into place over the past 3 years, one of which was terminated after one year due to lack of interest: the IBM Affinity purchase program. The remaining programs are the Insurance Program through Aon Reed Stenhouse and the Payroll Preparation Program through Ceridian. More information can be obtained on these programs from our web site at www.elcic.ca.
The insurance program was updated two years ago due to the concern from synods and the National Office that if a congregation were sued, the Synod and National Office would also be attached to the claim. If a congregation is not sufficiently insured, any claim costs could be passed to the synod and/or National Office which puts us all at risk. Congregations should review and ensure they are sufficiently covered for liability issues and current property values.
The payroll preparation program was put into place for two main reasons. Many congregations were having difficulty in recruiting and retaining treasurers because of the payroll preparation requirement and the monthly time commitment. Also, we are aware of several problems with T4 slips not being completed properly and perhaps this means payroll for many of our clergy is also not being calculated properly.
Doreen Lecuyer, CGA