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.