With no Covid-19 vaccine on the horizon, Women of the ELCA’s executive board voted to postpone the organization’s convention and gathering until August 2021. The executive board met by video on April 25.
“We are postponing not canceling,” said Linda Post Bushkofsky, executive director of Women of the ELCA.
The Eleventh Triennial Convention scheduled for July 14-16, 2020, in Phoenix, Arizona, is being rescheduled for August 3-5, 2021. And the 2020 “Just Love” Gathering, scheduled for July 16-19, 2020, is being rescheduled for August 5-8, 2021.
“We hope that everyone who is currently registered will come next year,” Bushkofsky said. “And if they aren’t able to come, they could gift their registration to someone else.”
Staff will be working out final arrangements with the Phoenix businesses and communicating directly with all who are voting members-elect for the convention and who have registered for the gathering.
Eleventh Triennial Convention
Postponing the convention means that the current executive board will serve another year until “replacements are elected and installed,” Bushkofsky said. Then, the board elected in 2021 will serve a two-year term.
For the 2023 convention, “we would be back to our three-year cycle. That works best with the churchwide assembly, the youth gathering, and the rostered leaders’ event.”
Budgets and finances
“In an April 1, 2020, year-end fiscal monitoring memo from our executive director,” Anna Sarver, executive board treasurer, said “we learned revenue underperformed in fiscal year 2019.”
Nine synodical organizations did not send any regular offerings, she said.
“While expenses were significantly under budget, expenses exceeded income,” she added.
Total revenue received in fiscal year 2019 was $2,055,194 or 71.3 percent of what was projected. The board-approved budget anticipated a total revenue of $2,881,531. Thus, the budget underperformed by $826,337.
Sarver said the organization cannot yet determine how the coronavirus pandemic will impact giving, but that if women are not meeting in units, clusters, conferences, and at SWO events, it is unlikely that offerings will be collected.
“That means less money will be sent to the churchwide organization,” she said. “So, we’ll need to closely monitor revenue and expenses as we move further into 2020 to determine what mid-course changes to the budget will be needed.”
The executive board voted to re-designate four funds into general use and use interest from 13 funds to cover the 2019 balance.
Sara Larson, chair of the budget and finance committee, said the committee will present a 2021 budget at the October executive board meeting “because we can’t get our hands on hard figures to make any type of decision for now.
“We are very aware that the financial status will continue to be fluid,” she said. “We will continue to stay in touch with the numbers and the revenue coming in and will manage the situation.”
There are two items of good news about the budget, Bushkofsky said. One is that Women of the ELCA is receiving two months of salary and retirement contributions for staff under the federal government’s Paycheck Protection Program. The other is that the organization recently learned it is beneficiary of a $206,885 trust.
In a development committee report, Audrey Riley, director of stewardship, reported that in the 2017-2020 triennium, “every one of our 21 board members has made at least one gift of record.” The total given by our 21 executive board members and officers during the 2017-2020 triennium is $30,090.00.
A majority give through Faithful Friends, a way to give automatically through a credit card or checking account. Learn more about Faithful Friends.
In other actions, the executive board:
- Approved changes to the Southern Ohio Synodical Women’s Organization’s and Upstate New York Synodical Women’s Organization’s
- Heard reports from the Office of the Presiding Bishop, Lutheran Men in Mission, and staff.
The next executive board meeting is scheduled for October 23-25.
Feature photo, clockwise from top left: Sarah Carson, managing editor of Gather magazine, Lisa Plorin, president of the churchwide executive board, Liz Hunter, editor of Gather magazine, Linda Post Bushkofsky, executive director.
This would have been my 2nd Triennial, however I cannot make the date set for 2021. We live on a fixed income and I don’t believe my airfare is going to be refundable either. I would appreciate being refunded the $250 reservation fee. Thanks you for all you do for the ladies of WELCA. Wishing you all HIS blessings and good health. MaryAnn Breslin
Dear leaders of the WELCA,
I know this was a very difficult decision, as I was involved in the decision to cancel our city’s art and music festival that has been going on for 35 years. So many people and businesses are affected by all these cancellations! I know you all had to undo many preparations you have already made, which is stressful and sad. My prayers are with All of you, as well as the hotels, airlines, restaurants and countless others who will be adversely affected. Thank you for making the decision to postpone, rather than cancel! God willing, I will be there in August 2021. Blessing to you all!
That’s so kind of you to say, Judy. Thank you.
Because of health reasons I can’t plan for something that far ahead so I would like my deposit back. I paid $355 on January 7. Thank you.
An email will go out to all registrants next week and it will let you know the options and how to proceed. Blessings! Take good care of yourself Corinne.
Has this email been sent out about our options?
Not yet. Later today or tomorrow. We’ve been working out many details that need to be reflected in the email. Thanks for your patience.
Thank you. I was concerned the email was up in the “cloud” whatever that really is.
I have several women from my church who had registered and paid last year to go the gathering, it would have been the first time for all of us. I know that several of the women are unable to attend next year because of already scheduled mission trips and the August dates being so close to the start of school. Are refunds being issued? If so, when will we receive an official email about the postponing of the event and how to go about either donating the registration or receiving a refund.
Carey, as I’ve posted here in other replies, we will be sending out an email next week to all registrants and it will set out all the options and give instructions on how to proceed.
I’m sure you have already thought of this, but I would LOVE to be able to obtain the shirt I ordered . . .
Hi Suki. Thanks for your comment. The Just Love t-shirt will only be available at the event. They won’t be produced until then.
Thanks for your prayerful consideration as you made this well thought out decision to postpone the 2020 Triennial Convention and Gathering in Phoenix to 2021 also in Phoenix! I’m excited to put it on my 2021 August calendar! Prayers for all!
Sisters-thank you for all your efforts. We lost Viola Richardson, a former VP for NJWELCA to COVID-19 awhile ago-a staunch supporter! My church has started to use Youtube and Zoom (use waiting room or roster for more secure meeting)-perhaps we can connect. My Uncle Morris also passed this week (he was 90)-please return my fees for registration and booked trips and activities. Keep $100 of the amount as a memorial gift in honor of Viola, my Uncle and others who have passed. Be well, be safe, be careful-hoping to see you
in the future. Thank you again and may the Lord be with you.
Julia Hong Sabella
We appreciate your words, Julia, but you will have to make these arrangements within our registration system. You will receive an e-mail by early next week that spells out what to do.
With this new decision, will ladies who could not attend in 2020 be able to register for 2021?
Most certainly Barbara! We hope many more will be able to join the big event in August 2021. Stay tuned for more details about registering.
I had paid for my 2020 Triennial Gathering registration at the last convention in Minnesota. I have not completed the online registration process due to issues surrounding the fact I currently my mother’s primary Hospice Caregiver at her home with limited family assistance. Since the Coronavirus guidelines for CA were placed, my family help has become absence. So my question is do I still need to go online to complete my pre-registration information or wait until next year. Please advise. Thank you for all of the executive board members’ hard work in making a decision that effects many in so many ways, but the most important way is cherishing and saving the lives of God’s Children of all ages. God bless you all.
You would not need to do that immediately Viola. We will be sending out instructions later this week or early next week, and we’ll address this in that email. Blessings on your important ministry of caring for your mother.
I will not be able to attend the gathering in August 2021.I would like a refund of my $250 deposit. I am already out the airfare since I received a credit which I probably won’t be able to use. My husband
is retired and I haven’t worked in years. We are supporting 3 adult children who live at home.
I was so looking forward to my first gathering.
I will not be able to attend next year. I would donated the money I paid to someone else, however we are struggling financially due to our hours being cut from the virus.
Please consider refunding the money.
Thank you for your consideration.
I am unable to attend next year in August. Paying for this year was a stretch so I could sure use the refund during this crisis. Please reconsider and issue refunds to those in need of the money. Thank you so much. God bless.
Please verify where it will be held in August, 2021. Will it be in Phoenix?
Yes, both in Phoenix.
Hi, LaShell, I’m sorry about your job. You are in our prayers. We will let all registrants know about next steps as soon as we work out the details with the registration company. The decision to postpone was made just this weekend. Thanks for your patience. And good luck.
I am so thankful you changed the dates. Blessings to all of you for this decision.
I already have a commitment for those August dates in 2021. Please advise me of the steps I need to take to receive a refund for the Triennial. I would like to say I could gift my registration fee, but i have not received a paycheck since March 13 and not sure when I will get paid again. Thanks for your help and your time. I am sure this was a difficult decision for you all.