In this issue: WELS member's home destroyed in Tornado, MLC updates mission statement, LWMS convention registration

Synodical Council update

The Synodical Council (SC) held its winter meeting on February 24-25. Major items discussed included:

Budget update and future planning

The SC reviewed the ministry financial plan (budget) performance through the end of calendar year 2011. Congregation Mission Offerings (CMO) in 2011 fell short of commitments by $340,000. Actual gifts were $460,000 less than 2010. While more congregations submitted CMO commitments for 2012 than the previous year, the commitments are 0.2 percent less than the actual receipts for 2011; planning had anticipated a 3 percent increase.

The Financial Stabilization Fund will enable current programs to continue without immediate program changes, but the reduced level of expected financial support will require adjustments to spending in the next fiscal year. The Synodical Council asked President Schroeder to prepare a plan for increasing support or reducing synod expense amounts by $1.5 million for the next fiscal year beginning in July, 2012. The areas of ministry will also be encouraged to underspend the current budgetary allocations (as they did last year) and to begin to make initial plans for reduced financial support in the next biennium. Program reductions can be avoided if financial support from Congregation Mission Offerings and gifts from individuals increases beyond the current projections.

Status of the efforts to relocate the Synod Administration Building
The committee overseeing efforts to resolve the situation that resulted when the sale of the Mayfair property fell through reported on its efforts. Both the Mayfair property and the new property in Pewaukee have been placed on the market with separate brokers. The brokers believe that both properties have significant value, but it may take time before a buyer steps forward with an offer. While the SC is hopeful that the Mayfair property will sell first (enabling the preferred move to Pewaukee), all options are being considered.

New members appointed
Mr. Tom Schermerhorn has accepted the appointment as lay representative from the Northern Wisconsin District, replacing Mr. Ron Hillmann, who moved out of the district. Rev. Earle Treptow, currently serving as a pastor-at-large member of the SC, will replace Rev. Joel Petermann as one of three Conference of Presidents representatives. Rev. Joel Jenswold of Hortonville, Wis., has accepted the appointment to replace Treptow as a pastor-at-large member to the SC.

Due to term limits, the three SC committee chairmen (Mr. Kurt Austad, Mr. Seth Hansen, and Mr. Tom Schlittenhart) will be replaced this summer. SC members elected to replace them as committee chairmen are Rev. Jonathan Schroeder (ministry), Mr. Paul Holzhueter (finance), and Mr. Warren Ehlke (administration).

Let the Children Come
Martin Luther College, New Ulm, Minn., is proceeding with plans to carry out a special appeal for funds to construct an Early Childhood Learning Center. The “Let the Children Come” effort will seek gifts from individuals to provide funding for the construction and ongoing support of the early childhood program.

The plan calls for the center to be constructed on the Luther Manor property already owned by the college. The Synodical Council approved the sale of a portion of the property to a developer who plans to construct a senior living facility. Martin Luther College plans to work closely with the senior living facility to provide MLC students with opportunities for intergenerational ministry.

Watch an informational video to learn more about the Early Childhood Center.

Serving in Christ,

Mark Schroeder

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