|Source: Living Lutheran|
After the closure of St. James Evangelical Lutheran in Coral Gables, Florida, the Florida-Bahamas Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) found itself with nearly $10 million from the sale of the congregation’s property. In response, the synod decided to contribute 10% to ELCA churchwide ministries.
“There really wasn’t a debate,” said Cheryl Stuart, Florida-Bahamas Synod Vice President. “We have a history in the synod of giving first fruits—first fruits tithed to the church.”
Donating a total $956,251, 60% was designated for specific ELCA ministries and partners (30%, or $286,875, to the ELCA’s congregational vitality efforts and 10%, or $95,625, each to Lutheran Disaster Response, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, and ELCA Ethnic Specific and Multicultural Ministries). The gifts were made in honor of the late ELCA Vice President, Bill Horne.
Assistant to the bishop for administration, Rob Rose, said, “These ministries that we gave the money to were exactly what he was passionate about, and a great way to honor his legacy.”
Additionally, approximately 40% ($382,500) went to the ELCA’S unrestricted fund to be used where needed most.
According to Rachel Wind, ELCA Executive for Philanthropy said, “A gift that’s completely undesignated helps infuse the church with the opportunity to invest in new ministries while at the same time continuing the existing ministries that are so important to this church. Undesignated funds give the churchwide organization the flexibility to direct resources where they’re needed most.”
“What it says to me when we receive gifts ‘where needed most’ is this powerful trust that the donor has with us as a church and the leadership of this churchwide organization to use this money where we as a church think we need to be,” she said.
Through this gift, the synod hopes to model stewardship.
“We want to model what we would like people to do,” Cheryl Stuart said.
The synod’s gift is in addition to its regular contributions that support church wide missions. With this one gift alone, the synod has doubled its previous fiscal year giving.
Source: Living Lutheran