The January 14thmeeting of the Synod Council of the Greater Milwaukee Synod was held at Incarnation Lutheran Church on Keefe Avenue in Milwaukee. These notes are highlights of that meeting: A more detailed summary will be available on the synod’s website at http://milwaukeesynod.org/who-we-are/synod-council-members/.

Actions

  • Approved a Synod Call to:
    • The Rev. Larry Smith for synod interim ministry.
  •  Approved Mr. Dale Landgren as a member of the Board of Directors of the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, replacing the Rev. Dr. Harvard Stephens for the remainder of his term and continuing for a three-year term beyond the expiration of Dr. Stephen’s term.
  • Approved a fundraising proposal to support the participation of synod young people in the 2012 ELCA Youth Gatheringin New Orleans in the form of a “50/50 This is Not a Raffle.” Half the proceeds from this effort will go to direct support of congregations sending youth to New Orleans, and to the participants themselves, with the other half designated, in thirds, by three “winners” for use by their choice of Outreach for Hope, GMS Campus Ministry, the ELCA’s Malaria Campaign, the synod’s Global Partners in El Salvador and Tanzania, or any ELCA congregation.
  •  Approved an extension of the revised nominating procedures approved in November to cover a young adult representative on the Synod Council, in addition to the original process to include a youth representative.
  • Approved a synod-wide fundraising effort in support of the Meru Day of Prayer on April 22, 2012.
  •  Approved expenditure of $250 for expenses related to the Collective Bargaining Task Force’s Listening Sessions in February and March.

Finances

  • Synod income from benevolence continues to fall behind budgeted numbers, with a shortfall through December of approximately $130,000. The silver lining is that expenses also lag budget, because of synod staff vacancies early in the year, meaning that the synod will likely have an unintended operating surplus for the year. The use of any surplus funds will be discussed at the next Council meeting in terms of likely shortfalls when the new fiscal year begins in February.

Reports and Discussion

  • Bishop Jeff Barrow presented both a written and an oral report, looking at what defined 2011 and what is likely to define 2012 in the life of the synod. Looking back at the last year he saw that the polarization marking contemporary life was having an impact in the church, but looking ahead he saw hope in the resources available to the church, especially in the form of the young people going to New Orleans for the Gathering.
  •  To address the synod’s ongoing income erosion, the bishop said that he and Rev. Sandy Chrostowski, the synod’s Director of Evangelical Mission, will be discussing financial commitment with the 20 or so congregations that provide the largest measure of support to the synod, in an effort to stabilize funding and to provide leadership in this area.
  • The Council engaged in a lengthy discussion on implementation of the Synod Assembly resolution from 2010 that called for increased representation by youth and young adults in the synod’s leadership, including on the Synod Council. The Youth and Family Network will develop a plan for training and support for potential young leaders to increase their involvement in a variety of areas for presentation to this year’s Synod Assembly.
  •  There was continued discussion on the possible uses of proceeds from the sale of St. Andrews church in Waukesha. Synod staff will present a detailed plan for use of these funds at a future meeting for discussion and action.
  • Reports were received from the Director of Evangelical Mission, the Youth and Family Network, the Anti-Racism Team, and Women of the ELCA. Outreach for Hopeprovided copies of their new newsletter.
  •  The Collective Bargaining Task Force has set dates for a series of four listening sessions, with details having gone out on Listserve.
  • The Synod Council deferred action on a new Anti-Fraud Policy pending legal review.

Next Meeting
·         Thursday, March 15, 2012 at 5:30 pm at Holy Cross, Menomonee Falls

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