Follow the Money

Group 236

Richard Ahlberg, chair of the synod’s finance committee, presented the synod’s Mission Spending Plan (budget) on Friday afternoon.

Most churchgoers understand that a church is operated with the money that is collected from members when the offering plate is passed at worship. What some may not know is that congregations share a portion of their collections with the synod as “mission support.” These are funds the synod uses for its programs, ministries and administration.

Ahlberg presented mission support statistics from 2008, the latest figures available.

He recognized the synod’s congregations that give the most in mission support (above 9.6 percent):

John Handley, treasurer

John Handley, Synod Treasurer (pictured here), and Richard Ahlberg, Finance Committee Chair, discussed the synod's proposed 2011 Mission Spending Plan during a workshop Friday.

Zion Evangelical, Takoma Park, Md.: 21.2%
St. Matthew, Lake Ridge, Va.: 18.6%
St. Luke, Silver Spring, Md.: 15.5%
Hope, Annandale, Va.: 15.2%
Abiding Presence, Burke, Va.: 14.4%
St. Paul’s, Washington, D.C.: 12.9%
Community, Sterling, Va.: 11.3%
Good Shepherd, Alexandria, Va.: 11.1%
Augustana, Washington, D.C.: 11.0%
Bethel, Manassas, Va.: 11.0%
Messiah, Alexandria, Va.: 11.0%
Peace, Alexandria, Va.: 10.7
Resurrection, Arlington, Va.: 10.5%
Peace, Bermuda: 10.0%
Advent, Arlington, Va.: 9.9%
Christ, Bethesda, Md.: 9.9%
Emmanuel, Vienna, Va.: 9.8%
King of Kings, Fairfax, Va.: 9.6

“These are our financial leaders,” Ahlberg said of these congregations.
Total giving to the synod from congregations in 2008 was $1.935 million. If all 75 of the synod’s congregations had given 10 percent of their income, this figure would have been $2.507 million.

14 congregations (19 percent) gave 10 percent or more.

The mean for giving was 7.7 percent, and 27 congregations gave this percentage or more. The median for giving was 5.9%.

Synods, in turn, pass a large portion of the funds they receive on to the ELCA’s Churchwide Offices for national and international programs.

The synod’s Mission Spending Plan for the coming year proposes giving 44 percent of its income up to $2 million; anything above that figure will be shared at 55 percent, which is the present level.