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News from the October 2013 executive board meeting

News from the October 2013 executive board meeting

The churchwide executive board of Women of the ELCA met October 19-20 2013, at the Crowne Plaza Chicago O’Hare, in Rosemont, Ill., adopting a budget for FY2014, filling three business committees for the Ninth Triennial Convention, and extending a fourth term to the executive director, among other things.

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 policy against electioneering, noting that nominations are being received until November 30, 2013, for secretary, treasurer and executive board members. Consistent with the churchwide constitution, the board elected a nominations committee for the convention, and approved the president’s recommendations for the committee on reference and counsel and the memorials committee.

The board also adopted a proposed agenda for the convention. The Rev. Susan Gamelin, of Jamestown, N.C., will preach and preside at the opening worship of the convention, scheduled for 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday, July 22, 2014. Plenary business sessions begin at 10:30 a.m. that same day and continue through Thursday morning, July 24. The Rev. Elizabeth Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, is scheduled to address the convention on Thursday morning.

Additional information regarding the convention is available at womenoftheelca.org.

Financial matters

The executive board approved a budget for FY2014 that reflects a decrease in expected offerings and Thankofferings. The budget anticipates total revenue and support of $2,881,000, with regular offerings of $500,000 and Thankofferings of $825,000. “Despite the creative, engaging and energetic stewardship and development efforts led by staff and spearheaded by the churchwide executive board, income continues to decline,” noted Linda Post Bushkofsky, executive director. “In adopting the FY2014 budget, the board made difficult choices that will result in reduced programmatic and communication opportunities for the coming year.”

The board also approved a proposed budget for FY2015, to be sent to the Ninth Triennial Convention for its consideration, which reflects a similar decrease. “Unless significant changes occur on the revenue side, we will likely face some sort of staffing cuts in 2015,” Bushkofsky noted. A reduction in staffing occurred in 2003 (from 30 to 21) and again in 2009 (from 21 to 12).

The board adopted a policy encouraging all synodical women’s organizations and congregational units to spend down their monetary reserves in 2013 in a way that reflects the interdependent relationships between the units, the synodical organizations and the churchwide women’s organization. The policy further encourages all to make similar decisions annually.

Executive director review

Fulfilling its constitutional mandate, the board received and acted on the recommendation of the executive director review committee that conducted the annual review of the organization’s executive director. The board extended an offer of a fourth four-year term to the executive director, Linda Post Bushkofsky, that would extend from 2014-2018. Bushkofsky is the fourth installed executive director of the organization and has served as executive director since 2002.

Other matters

The board learned that the 25th Anniversary Appeal has generated over $140,000, as of mid-September, with half of the giving earmarked for the ELCA Malaria Campaign. The synodical women’s organizations of Region 4 exceeded their goal to raise $25,000 for the appeal. (Gifts can be made online.)

Staff reported that more than 600 women have already registered for the Ninth Triennial Gathering, scheduled for July 24-27, 2014. Discounted registration is available through January 6, 2014, at welcatg.org.

The programs and communication committee of the board passed on recommendations for India endowment grants to the executive director. Funds for grants to ministries in India come from specific restricted-purpose endowments of predecessor women’s organizations and are awarded on an annual basis. A total of approximately $14,700 will be distributed to four different women’s ministries in India.

Three members were elected to the executive committee of the board. Those elected were Gwendolyn King, of Philadelphia, Penn., Deborah Banks-Williams, of Chicago, Ill., and Jody Smiley, of Blacksburg, Va. They will serve until the close of the Ninth Triennial Convention. They join the four officers of the organization to comprise the executive committee. The officers are Jennifer Michael, president, of Dubuque, Iowa; JoAnn Fuchs, vice president, of West Columbia, Tex.; Jackie Wilson, secretary, of Hot Springs, Ark.; and Ely Smith, treasurer, of Fircrest, Wash.

In ongoing matters, the board heard reports from the president, treasurer, executive director and staff and standing committees; engaged in stewardship education and racial justice advocacy education; received reports from advisors; and reviewed board members’ participation in the 2013 conventions of synodical women’s organizations.

The board’s next meeting is April 25-26, 2014.