Interesting. It seems that, at the end of last year, the ELCA churchwide organization had a surplus of $4 million. In response to that, the Churchwide Council increased the 2012 budget for operations by $1.4 million (to $65,498,135) and increased the ELCA World Hunger budget by $1.3 million (to $19,900,000). Where that extra money is going to exactly, I have no idea.
As Spirit of a Liberal points out, it might appear that the austerity measures due to the 2009 churchwide sexuality decision is starting to work its way out (but I doubt sexuality was the issue entirely – the economy is a bigger chunk of that). In Nov. 2009, the ELCA cut its 2010 budget by $7.7 million to $69,022,800 (World Hunger was left at $18.7 milion). The original budget for 2010 was approved in August 2009 was $76.69 million. A year ago (April 10, 2011), the original plan for the 2012 budget was only $61.8 million. So the new change in the budget (an increase to $65 million) and almost $20 million for World Hunger is a nice change. It’s possible a corner has turned.
Of course, the ELCA’s budget is way below the proposed budget in 2008 and 2009 of $81 million. Our support for ELCA World Hunger has remained rather high, considering, but $65 million isn’t $81 million. And, if the numbers I found were right, we’ve only dropped about 400 congregations since 2008 (though I can’t find 2011/2012 statistics). Those churches (and their synods) were not giving $15 million to churchwide support. Thus, funding overall, is down (obviously). But I do like that our work for ELCA World Hunger is still rather high. It could have been dropped but it wasn’t. I value that commitment.
Of course, where that $65 million is going, and how that’s moving along, if I studied it, I’d probably have some opinions about where I think it should be going. But I’ll solve that problem once this semester is over.