The 2017-2020 Women of the ELCA executive board adopted a revised 2018 budget that increased funds for programming and eliminated two staff positions. The board also offered Linda Post Bushkofsky her fifth four-year term as executive director.
In an October 19-21, 2017, meeting in Chicago, the board, in executive session, adopted a revised budget of $3,120,231.
The 2018 budget allows for a full-time staff of 11, a reduction of two; sets aside adequate funds for the 2020 triennial convention (one-third of the total cost); adds $35,705 to a program budget, making it $67,705; and allows for salary adjustments and raises. It also funds a vacant director for justice position.
Program areas of the churchwide organization include discipleship, stewardship, intergenerational, justice, and accompanying resources.
In her report to the executive board, Bushkofsky said, “It’s an exciting, heady time to be Women of the ELCA. We’re coming off a very successful triennial convention and gathering.”
She said the triennial gathering had higher than expected registration numbers (about 3,300), with more than 500 already signed up to attend the Eleventh Triennial Gathering 2020 in Phoenix, Ariz. The result of better-than-expected registration numbers at the gathering, Bushkofsky said, resulted in “the first time in a long time that income has exceeded our expenses.”
However, she said, the final budget numbers from the triennial gathering have not yet been tallied.
“There is much to celebrate, but we have the capacity to do so much more,” she said. “As we move into year 31, we can sit back and congratulate ourselves for what has been. Or we can challenge ourselves to live into the fullness of our foremothers’ visions of this organization as a radical change agent in the church.”
Revenues and expenses
With Thankofferings and Regular Offerings down, Bushkofsky said the organization must look at additional ways to raise money.
“I think the time has come that we have to be more strategic and intentional about how to grow,” she said.
Regular offerings are those collected in congregational units that benefit the unit, the synodical organization and the churchwide organization. Thankofferings are gifts made to churchwide, in appreciation for all that God has done, historically collected in October or November.
At the end of September, with the new budget year beginning February 1, 2018, revenue is at $1,275,085 ($1,222,014 below fiscal year projections), according to Executive Board Treasurer Anna Sarver. Expenses at $1,778,374 were at 57% of the budget ($3,093,318) with four months left in the fiscal year.
Other board actions
The board elected three members to serve on the executive committee. They are Elizabeth (Liz) Burgess of Augusta, Maine, Joy Michalicek of Duluth, Minn., and Karen Voris of Anchorage, Alaska. They join the four officers to comprise the executive committee. The officers are Lisa Plorin, president, Upham, N.D.; Becky Shurson, vice president, Eugene, Ore.; Freddie Jordan, secretary, Columbus, Ohio; and Anna Sarver, treasurer, Greensburg, Penn. (See the list of all board members here.)
The board also
–voted to extend the executive committee term from one year to three, allowing the at-large members to serve the entire triennium.
–voted to remain committed to anti-racism training, allowing for no fewer than two hours training in its April 2018 meeting with additional reading and study beforehand.
–approved a request from the Virginia Synodical Women’s (SWO) organization to reduce the size of its board from eight members to six.
–approved requests the Southwestern Pennsylvania SWO to reduce the size of its board from nine to seven, and the Florida-Bahamas SWO to reduce the size of its board from eight to six provided they make consistent the language in their constitutions and advise the board of those revisions.
–denied a resolution forwarded from the Tenth Triennial Convention (2017) that would allow two members of one congregational unit to serve on a synodical women’s board.
–heard a report about a proposed partnership with Equal Exchange, a fair-trade non-profit organization, that could include workshops, training and trips.
–heard reports from the president, treasurer, executive director, staff and advisors.
In her report, newly elected Executive Board President Lisa Plorin said, “I’m really looking forward to the next three years with each of you. It will be a journey—some of it will be fun, some of it not so much. We won’t always agree on everything, but please know, you were elected to this position because you are a bold woman. Your voice matters.”
The next board meeting is April 20-21, 2018.
Terri Lackey is director for communication for Women of the ELCA.
Feature photo: Becky Shurson, vice president, l-r, Lisa Plorin, president, Anna Sarver, treasurer, and Laura Krueger, parliamentarian, consult. Photos by Elizabeth McBride