“This document has become a staple in helping the assembly, and the synod at large, understand the budget. If you have any questions about what any expense or income line is, you can turn to this document as your first resource. For additional questions, feel free to approach or contact me directly – that’s what I’m here for!”
— Joseph Solberg, Synod Treasurer, 5/5/2017
Congregational Mission Support: Total congregational support within the synod for the larger church (i.e., our synodical and ELCA-wide ministry and programs). This line does not include special offerings transmitted through the synod to various organs of the church (e.g., Disaster Response, Hunger Appeal, Missionary Support Sunday, etc.) or synodical appeals (e.g., bicycles for Madagascar, West Virginia flood relief). Nor does it include remittances made by congregations as mission support restricted to synodical use only.
For ELCA (Proportional Share): Level of support that this synod pledges to remit to the ELCA Churchwide Expression. To better understand the theory behind mission support sharing, one must conceive of the church member as a member of all three expressions simultaneously. When the church member puts money in the plate on Sunday morning, that member is giving to all three expressions. Rather than having the member write three different checks and send them to the congregation, the synod, and the ELCA Churchwide Expression, the offering is given at one point of reception (the congregation) which then passes on the portion for the other expressions to the synod which then passes on the portion for the ELCA Churchwide Expression.
The percentages that each expression receives from the offerings of the members of the church is dependent upon several factors. First, congregations, while required under the constitution to remit something to the larger church, are free to determine the exact percentage; our synod has, since the late 1990s, recommended 15%, but that is only a recommendation. Of the amount remitted to the synod, the portion remitted to the ELCA Churchwide Expression is set by the ELCA Churchwide Assembly. That percentage was set by the ELCA’s constituting Churchwide Assembly at 55% of unrestricted mission support remittances received by a synod (the synod keeping 45% for its own work). Provision is made for the synod to remit a different percentage to the ELCA Churchwide Expression in consultation with the appropriate Churchwide office. For 2016, our synod set its rate at 33% for the ELCA Churchwide Expression.
For Synod (Proportional Share): Portion of mission support remitted by congregations retained by the synod for synodical work. See “For ELCA (Proportional Share)” for a general description. The rate was set at 67% for 2016.
For Synod (Synod Only): Portion of mission support restricted to synod use by the remitting congregation. In Fall 2009, the Conference of Bishops allowed synods to develop mechanisms to allow congregations to make mission support remittances to their synods without a portion of that remittance being shared with the ELCA Churchwide Expression. Our synod adopted a policy creating such a mechanism. While that policy had a twoyear sunset clause, some congregations have continued to designate some or all of their mission support for “synod use only.” Because “donor intent” is a legal as well as ethical issue, the synod has continued to honor it.
Interest: Income from the synod’s small investment portfolio. For details on the portfolio, ask the Synod Treasurer.
Unrestricted Savings: Unrestricted savings include those fiscal resources which our synod may use for whatever purposes are consistent with the mission of the synod. This is different from restricted savings which may only be used in prescribed manners (e.g., a bequest which specifies how the gift may be used). Savings generally increase when giving exceeds expenses as happens in some years. In other years, expenses exceed giving, requiring the release of savings to cover the shortfall. When an amount appears in this line on the budget income page, it indicates an anticipated release of unrestricted savings to cover a shortfall in expected revenues vis-à-vis expected expenses.
Total for Synod: The estimated income available for synod use, i.e., congregational mission support minus that portion forwarded for use through the ELCA Churchwide Expression plus interest income. This is the line that must at least equal our expenses to avoid a budget deficit.
Total Income: The estimated income of the synod, including what has been committed to the Churchwide Expression.
Grants to Agencies & Institutions
All grants are voluntary. Some (not all) ofthe agencies listed below present a formal request to the synod, asking for financial support and sometimes quoting an exact amount. Nevertheless, the synod’s support ofthese agencies is voluntary.
Gettysburg Seminary: The synods of Region 8 (which includes WV-WMD) support Gettysburg. The Churchwide office responsible for theological education, using a rather complex formula based upon the operational expenses of the congregations of the ELCA and of the synod, determines an amount specific to the synod that should be remitted to its assigned seminary.
Thiel College: WV-WMD Synod, in the redistricting that accompanied the formation of the ELCA, was assigned to Thiel College as a constituent synod, a vestige of the former LCA W.Penn-W.Virginia Synod. Thiel is the only Lutheran College supported by this synod.
Campus Ministry—West Virginia University: The Lutheran Campus Ministry at WVU is, historically, the only center-based campus ministry on the territory of the synod. The synod grant received by the campus ministry is applied to general operations.
Campus Ministry Grants to Synod Territory Ministries: In addition to supporting the campus ministry named above, our synod provides grants to other campus ministries (e.g., the Trinity Lutheran Church’s campus ministry at Potomac State in Keyser, WV) on the territory of the WV-WMD Synod. Grant requests should be submitted to the synod office.
Camp Luther: Subsidizes Camp Luther’s basic program; it is not used to subsidize capital improvements.
Caroline Furnace Lutheran Camp: Prior to ELCA merger, those Potomac Conference congregations formerly part of the LCA VA Synod had a relationship with Camp Caroline Furnace. In the formation of this synod, it was agreed that this relationship should be represented in the new synod’s budget. Camp Caroline Furnace, unlike Camp Luther, provides year-round facilities and programming.
Lutheran Senior Life:
Lutheran Service Society:
Glade Run Lutheran Services:
Support for these agencies is a vestige of pre-ELCA days. While none of these agencies has a physical presence on the territory of the synod, they have served members of the synod. Traditionally, the synod has had representation on the agencies’ boards.
Community Lutheran Partners, Inc.: CLP is the social ministry organization of our synod.
Synodical Program Expense
Operational Committees and Commissions: Historically, this synod had several committees and, rather than giving each of these committee its own line item, the synod has found it expedient to “bloc” fund this entire section of the synod’s work, cooperatively apportioning funding through the Team for Planning, Coordination, and Evaluation. While these structures have been significantly altered, programmatic activities still require funding, and this line supports those activities. The largest single expense under this line has, most years, been the biannual clergy continuing education events that were accounted to the Support Committee. With this budget, that expense has been moved to a new line, “Rostered Education.”
Candidacy Committee: Covers expenses related to meetings (i.e., mileage, meals, lodging) incurred by WV-WMD candidates for ministry and the WV-WMD members serving on the bi-synodical (WV-WMD & SW Penn) Candidacy Committee. Also covers reimbursement to SW Penn for the processing of paperwork related to WV-WMD candidates.
Seminarian Aid: Used to assist WV-WMD seminarians. This aid is remitted directly to the seminaries and credited to the students’ accounts.
Pittsburgh Pastoral Institute: Mandatory psychological testing of candidates for ministry (required by the ELCA) and for pastors in vocational crisis is contracted to professional centers.
Pastoral Care: This item provides for emergency assistance to clergy, congregations, and others within the synod in times of crisis.
Rostered Leaders Debt Reduction: This line item was created in response to action taken at the 2002 Synod Assembly. Recently rostered leaders may apply to the synod office for assistance in reducing educational debt. Approved grants are remitted directly to the appropriate financial institution. By action of the 2002 Synod Assembly, this line must be 1% of budgeted expenses.
Rostered Education: A new item, this line includes the biannual clergy continuing education events (formerly located under operational committees and the First Call Theological Education program (most recently located under Region 8). By combining these two programs under one line explicitly for the purpose of educational programming for clergy, we improve transparency and underscore the importance of these programs.
Bishop’s Lay Worship Leaders: This item is applied to the costs incurred in training the Lay Worship Leaders beyond the restricted funding for that purpose. The Lay Worship Leaders serve the whole synod by providing supply preaching and worship leadership during times of pastoral vacancy, vacations, etc..
Grants for Congregations with Special Needs: Used to assist congregations requiring financial support. Grant requests should be submitted to Synod Council for consideration. Such grants are commonly used to support congregations having difficulty maintaining basic ministry, but can also be given to congregations engaged in threatened, priority ministries beyond basic ministry. Funding for our sole mission congregation is not, at this time, drawn from this line. Instead, the restricted grant associated with the work of the Director for Evangelical Mission is tapped.
Synod Publications: This funds subscriptions (e.g., The Parish Paper) and publications that the synod might (re)produce from time to time not covered under specific programmatic areas or grants.
Tri-Synod Archives: Synod Constitution S8.32.c. requires that all important documents and papers be deposited in the archives of the synod. We cooperate with our tri-synodical partners to provide for an archives housed at Thiel. The Archives not only stores these documents, it also engages in preservation, supports research, and assists congregations.
Planned Giving Officer: This line returns as a new compact between multiple synods and agencies forms. The planned giving officer assists participating entities with bequests and other major financial instruments. The synod’s participation makes it possible for synod congregations to take advantage of this resource.
Synod Assembly: This item subsidizes Synod Assembly. The finances of Synod Assembly are handled as an “offbudget” fund, fees and underwriting (if any) being accounted as inflow and all associated expenses at outflow. Balances from assemblies are carried into the next year, and it has generally held that we cycle annually between coming out ahead and coming out behind. The subsidy is particularly important to help cover deposits and advance payments associated with the assembly.
Synod Council: This item covers expenses incurred in Synod Council meetings and functions.
Regional 8 Center for Mission: This line represents our direct support of the cooperative efforts of the ELCA synods of Region 8. We also reimburse a portion of the travel expenses of this synod’s members on the Regional Council. (See ELCA Constitution Chap.18 for an explanation of the functions of a region)
West Virginia Council of Churches: This grant supports the work of the WVCC, including payroll and program (e.g., advocacy & legislative review, Faith & Order, Recreational Ministries, Disaster Relief). WVCC makes an annual request for support from each participating denomination. The amount of the request is based upon the baptized membership of the denomination.
Synod Operations and Staff
Office Operations: There is a cost to doing business. Operational expenses increase with inflation. Included are rent & utilities, telecommunications, service contracts, supplies, equipment, postage, banking fees, and insurance. Note that we have allocated nothing for the “Copier” line for 2017. This is because the synod now owns the copier we had been renting, and, thanks to email communication, we anticipate no expense related to it.
Bishop: Includes salary, housing, social security allowance, and Portico (ELCA Board of Pensions) benefits.
Office Administrator: Includes salary, benefits (Pension, Medical, etc.), and social security.
WV Workers Compensation: WV Workers Compensation as required by law.
Bishop’s Travel: This line covers the Bishop’s mileage and other travel expenses. Should the need arise for the Synod Office Administrator to travel on synod business, it would be covered from this account.
Professional Services: This line item reflects the cost of the independent annual audit of synod books and records, legal services, and other professional services that may be necessary. Note that, since our auditor fell ill this past year, we have no audit and minimal expenses for this account. However, next year we anticipate the greater expense of a two year audit.
Miscellaneous Expenses: These are the miscellaneous expenses that don’t fit well anywhere else or could not be anticipated.
Synod Reserves: A line for intentional building unrestricted savings.
Total Expenses: The sum of the expense lines of the budget; does not include mission support for Churchwide.