Provide national support of mission and ministries.
"We commit ourselves as church to communicate clearly with one another and with society."
Evangelical Lutheran Women
Since merger took place in 1985, the Evangelical Lutheran Women (ELW) has brought life, vitality and resources to us that continue to enrich the quality of life in the ELCIC.
Many resources have been generously made available to members and congregations of the ELCIC including the Esprit magazine and other educational pieces and program resources.
For many years now, the ELW has conducted an appeal for funds through a 'Praise Offering.' Significant financial support has been provided to our church, opening up many new opportunities for ministry.
It is appropriate at this convention that we pause for a moment to acknowledge the important and valuable contribution of the ELW to the life of the ELCIC (see motion # 10, page G.5).
ELCIC Pension and Benefits Plan
Under the able direction of Chairperson (Bishop) William Huras and Executive Director Carole Cockrell, ELCIC Group Services, Inc. (GSI) has expanded its service, to ELCIC members of the plan, to include a national Health and Dental Plan. This plan came into effect in January 2001. Many months (and years!) of preparation have resulted in a quality plan that is now serving the needs of plan members. We salute the fine work and considerable efforts of the GSI Board and staff. A full report on the work of ELCIC Group Services, Inc. is included in this Bulletin of Reports in the section marked GSI, section I.
In March of 2000, the National Church Council approved a stewardship strategy for the ELCIC. This strategy reflected the results of a process of consultation between the national church, the synods and other stakeholders. ELCIC Vice-President Janet Morley took on the role of facilitating this process.
Appendix 16 is a report on the strategy and an indication of steps that have been taken and that are planned during the next few years to provide the resources that the ELCIC requires to be a church fully engaged in mission.
It is also important to note the ongoing generous financial support that the ELCIC receives from the Lutheran Laity Movement (LLM). LLM continues to provide our church with a contribution each year that has been designated to underwrite some of our costs related to stewardship programming. We thank LLM for the important role they play in support of the mission of the ELCIC.
In July 1999, upon the recommendation of then ELCIC Treasurer William Risto, the NCC took steps to approve the forgiveness of the debt of twelve ELCIC congregations as related to congregational mortgages with Church Extension Capital Fund (CECF) and Lutheran Investment Funds and Endowments (LIFE). This action was designed to be in keeping with the Canadian Ecumenical Jubilee Initiative on debt forgiveness. The total amount forgiven was $300,819. The congregations affected by this action are spread across the country.
Global Hunger and Development Appeal
A report on the work of the Global Hunger and Development Appeal (GHDA) is included as Appendix 17. As you will note from the report, the various ministries supported by GHDA have benefited from increased support from ELCIC members during the past year. We are grateful for this generosity.
GHDA was established in 1985 at the time of merger. An extension of the mandate was approved in convention in 1991, for a period of ten years. This convention, then, is the appropriate time and place for consideration to be given to the continuation of this ministry.
The ELCIC National Church Council is recommending that the GHDA mandate be extended for an additional four years, through 2005 (see Motion 11, page G.5). NCC had considered recommending an extension for a longer period of time. However, it was determined that as we anticipate moving into new forms of ecumenical relationships and maturing partnerships with LWF member churches, it would be best not to lock the ELCIC into a programmatic structure that might not necessarily serve the collective interests of our members and partners. Extending GHDA for an additional four years provides for both continuity and the flexibility to make adjustments in the not too distant future.
We are encouraged by the collaboration that GHDA facilitates between all levels of our church and with Canadian Lutheran World Relief. Global hunger and poverty is a complex matter requiring support in many different ways. The constantly changing global environment and the multiple relationships into which the ELCIC has entered necessitate flexible working models in order to provide effective and targeted assistance.