At its fall meeting the Synodical Council (SC) adopted a first draft of the Ministry Financial Plan (budget). The initial plan calls for no planned increases in spending for each of the next two years. The decision for a “no increase” plan reflected the SC’s decision to take a conservative approach initially. Since this is a first draft, changes to the plan may still be made at the SC’s February meeting when it finalizes its recommendation that will be presented to the synod convention in July. As the SC makes final plans it will take into consideration actual mission offerings in 2014, as well as Congregation Mission Offering subscriptions for 2015.
The SC adopted a policy requiring specific SC approval if areas of ministry or synodical schools plan to spend more than what was approved by the synod convention or if they desire to add staff beyond approved levels.
The SC was briefed on the WELS VEBA health plan, especially as to how the plan may be affected by the Affordable Care Act. WELS VEBA provides uniform coverage for our workers at the same cost regardless of age. Both the SC and the Conference of Presidents desire to keep the plan healthy and viable. Doing so will provide adequate health insurance for our workers, prevent congregations with older workers from paying extremely high premiums for insurance, and will help to ensure that health insurance does not adversely affect our calling system. WELS VEBA began communicating these issues with congregations last month.
The SC took other actions, including:
- Adopted a building fund policy to ensure that the new WELS Center for Mission and Ministry is properly maintained.
- Re-appointed Mr. John Tappe and Mr. Kenneth Zehm to the Church Extension Fund (CEF) board.
- Approved a change in the CEF bylaws allowing the CEF board more flexibility in making grants to the Board for Home Missions.
- Began to assemble a prioritized list of unfunded priorities to be presented to the synod convention in July.
Serving in Christ,
President Mark Schroeder