The Synodical Council (SC) held its winter meeting last week.
- Financial results from 2019 were encouraging. Congregation Mission Offering receipts were more than $330,000 above what congregations had committed and $130,000 more than what was received in 2018. Expenses for the current fiscal year have been less than planned, improving the balance in the Financial Stabilization Fund. All our synodical schools are in a stronger financial situation due to cost controls and higher-than-expected gifts. Financial situations at all synodical subsidiaries have improved significantly.
- The SC adopted planning assumptions for the 2021-2023 biennium. Development of that plan begins in the coming months. The SC is assuming a 2.5% increase in called worker wages, an increase in health insurance rates of 6.5%, and a retirement program increase of 5%. These planning assumptions can change in the months ahead if circumstances warrant.
- The SC increased the WELS mileage reimbursement rate from 48 cents to 51 cents per mile.
- A search has begun for a replacement for Mr. Todd Poppe, the synod’s chief financial officer, who will retire at the end of June.
- The SC approved a request from Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary to construct a new faculty home on its campus.
- The SC made no changes to the “Unfunded Priority List.” These are items that are not included in the ministry financial plan adopted by the synod but can be approved if funding becomes available. The list, in priority order, is:
- Board for Home Missions—mission expansion ($125,000)
- Board for World Missions—mission support/expansion ($125,000)
- Board for Ministerial Education—student financial assistance at MLC ($125,000)
- Board for World Missions—mission support/expansion ($100,000)
- Board for Home Missions—mission expansion ($100,000)
- Board for Ministerial Education—top capital improvement priorities ($150,000)
- Special Ministries—WELS Military Services Committee ($50,000)
- Special Ministries—WELS Prison Ministry Committee ($50,000)
- Ministry of Christian Giving—additional counselor ($120,000)
- Mr. Denny Walters, Mr. Ronald Schmitz, and Mr. Max Wenck were reappointed to serve on the Board of Directors of WELS Investment Funds.
- Mr. Mark Maurice was reappointed and Mr. Ken Zehm was appointed to serve on the Board of Directors of the WELS Foundation.
- The SC reviewed the plans to communicate information regarding the proposed change to the WELS retirement plan. The proposal will be discussed at this summer’s district conventions.
- Teacher James Moeller and Mr. Tim Snyder have completed their time of service on the SC. We thank them for their faithful service.
Serving with you in Christ,
WELS President Mark Schroeder