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News from the fall 2012 executive board meeting

News from the fall 2012 executive board meeting

The churchwide executive board of Women of the ELCA met October 19-20, 2012, in Charlotte, North Carolina, adopting a budget for fiscal year 2013, pledging its support to the International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict and adopting a resolution in support of peace in Liberia, among other things.

On gender justice  A resolution from the Eighth Triennial Convention on gender justice referred consideration of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1988 to the executive board. Resolution 1988 focuses on strengthening leadership, expertise and other institutional capacities within the United Nations and in member states to help put an end to conflict-related sexual violence. The executive board took several actions after considering the resolution, upon the recommendation of the Programs and Communication Committee of the board.

At the direction of the board, the organization joined the International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict, pledging to “call for urgent political leadership and concerted international action to prevent, protect, and prosecute to stop rape in conflict.” The board encouraged all participants in Women of the ELCA to take the pledge as well. The board further encouraged all synodical women’s organizations to advocate for gender justice through and within their companion synod relationships.

Support for peace and justice  On behalf of the entire organization, the churchwide board expressed its solidarity with the elected leadership of Liberia as they continue the work of peace-building in Liberia. The board committed the organization and its participants to praying for those leaders “so they will not grow weary or become unduly discouraged in their invaluable work of forging a new nation.”

Copies of the resolution will travel with participants in the 25th Anniversary trip to Liberia (November 29-December 8, 2012) and will be hand-delivered to Ms. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, president of Liberia; the Rev. D. Jensen Seyenkulo, bishop of the Lutheran Church in Liberia; and Ms. Rose Farhat, of the National Lutheran Church Women Fellowship of Liberia.

In adopting this resolution, the board also encouraged all participants in Women of the ELCA to “familiarize themselves with the work of the 57th Commission on the Status of Women [to be held March 4-15, 2013] so that they may support the elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls throughout the world.”

New treasurer, board members installed  Three new members were installed along with a new churchwide treasurer. Ely Smith, of Fircrest, Wash., already a board member, was installed as treasurer for the remainder of this triennium. Ely is from the Southwestern Washington Synodical Women’s Organization (1C). Joan Iverson of Lamberton, Minn., Southwestern Minnesota SWO (3F); Jody Smiley of Blacksburg, Va., Virginia SWO (9A); and Dawn Smith of Midland, Mich., North/West Lower Michigan SWO (6B) were installed as board members. These women were recently appointed to these roles following the resignation of the treasurer and two other board members.

Financial matters  The Budget and Finance Committee presented a $2,294,000 budget for fiscal year 2013 which was adopted by the board. Consistent with the board’s policy for managing investments and bequests, the board distributed two estate gifts to its reserve fund (50%), Thankofferings (10%), Katie’s Fund (10%), scholarships (10%) and grants (10%) with the remaining 10% given to the 25th Anniversary Appeal. The board also received the FY2011 audit as prepared by Crowe Horwath.

Ninth Triennial Convention  The Ninth Triennial Convention of Women of the ELCA will be held in Charlotte, North Carolina, July 22-24, 2014. The board approved a $888,700 budget for the convention and also established a policy for the appointment of at-large delegates needed to achieve the mandate of the Women of the ELCA Churchwide Constitution (Article XI, Section 5, Item 2) that requires that at least 10 percent of the delegate body be women of color or women whose primary language is other than English. The board also toured the Charlotte Convention Center, the site of the triennial convention.

Other matters  The board approved a $960,650 budget for the 2014 Triennial Gathering. While the organization funds the expenses of triennial conventions, triennial gatherings are self-supporting. In June the board had set the theme for the 2014 Triennial Gathering as “of many generations” and selected Isaiah 58:12 as the theme verse. At this meeting the board engaged in a Bible study on this verse, led by board member Gwendolyn King of Philadelphia, Penn.

The board selected Minneapolis, Minn. as the site for the Tenth Triennial Convention and Gathering, to be held in 2017.

Three members were elected to the executive committee of the board. Those elected were Syd Brinkman, of Allison, Iowa; Gwendolyn King, of Philadelphia, Penn., and Gwendolynn Edwards, of Bellevue, Neb. They will serve a one-year term. They join the four officers of the organization to comprise the executive committee. The officers are Jennifer Michael, president, of Pensacola, Fla.; JoAnn Fuchs, vice president, of West Columbia, Tex.; Jackie Wilson, of Hot Springs, Ark.; and Ely Smith, of Fircrest, Wash.

Upon the recommendation of the board’s Constitution Review Committee, the board approved changes to the constitutions of three synodical women’s organizations (Indiana-Kentucky, Southwestern Washington and New Jersey). Upon the recommendation of the Programs and Communication Committee, the board approved recommendations to the executive director for disbursement of interest from endowments held by Women of the ELCA for donor-designated ministries in India.

In ongoing matters, the board heard reports from the president, treasurer, executive director and staff, engaged in stewardship education and racial justice advocacy education, received reports from advisors and Church Women United and reviewed board members’ participation in the 2012 conventions of synodical women’s organizations.

A matter of new business that called for the development of a policy determining “what kind of postings are appropriate for use on the organization’s social media sites” was defeated.

Fulfilling its constitutional mandate, the board received and acted on the recommendation of the executive director review committee that conducted the annual review of Linda Post Bushkofsky, the organization’s executive director.

The board’s next meeting is April 19-20, 2013, in Chicago, Illinois.