By Joe Isenhower Jr.
The Synod’s Board of Directors adopted a 2006-07 operating budget for the national church body, took significant actions regarding several Concordia Universities, and made a number of appointments to Synod boards at its May 21-24 meeting in St. Louis.
For the new fiscal year starting July 1, the operating budget approved by the Board totals $88,033,000.
During its meeting, the Board of Directors also adopted a 2006-07 capital budget of $1,009,000 for the national Synod and a 2007 LCMS convention budget of $1,505,630.
By comparison, the Board set the 2005-06 operating budget a year ago at $81.8 million, and the capital budget at $1.059 million.
Dr. Thomas Kuchta, the Synod’s vice president-finance/treasurer, noted that the 2006-07 operating budget shows a surplus of $403,000, allows for adding nine new missionaries (not including spouses), and provides for a total of $2.5 million in subsidy for the Synod’s 10 colleges and universities and its two seminaries.
Kuchta pointed out that the budget includes a number of other new items, such as start-up funding for “Ablaze Connection,” a Web-based communications network supporting the Synod’s initiative to share the Gospel with 100 million unreached or uncommitted people by 2017.
He said that the 2006-07 operating budget also allows for adding 21 new ministry personnel to the total national office’s headcount, while reducing the Synod’s administrative staff by one.
Kuchta said the subsidy amount and the increases for mission and ministry in the new budget are “significant, especially since there is a $421,000 decrease in unrestricted revenue, compared with the 2005-06 budget.”
Kuchta also pointed out that district pledges for the national Synod are down by $911,000 from 2005-06.
“The Board of Directors certainly looks forward to seeing what the task force on funding has to say in its report that might address declining unrestricted revenue and income from districts,” Kuchta told Reporter.
That task force, established by the 2004 Synod convention, will report its findings and possible recommendations to the 2007 convention.
Among actions pertaining to Synod universities, the Board unanimously approved moving ahead with plans to sell the current campus of Concordia University, Austin, Texas, and “to dedicate the proceeds of the sale to funding the acquisition and development of a new campus.”
The university’s Board of Regents and the LCMS Board for University Education (BUE) both unanimously endorsed making that recommendation to the Board of Directors in separate meetings last month.
In its action, the Board of Directors specifies that it must also give “final approval of the sale, purchase, and financing” related to the Austin campus move.
Basically, Concordia, Austin’s board initiated the request to relocate out of concerns that the current campus is land-locked.
The Board of Directors also unanimously affirmed the BUE’s decision authorizing Concordia University, St. Paul, Minn., to build a 3,000-square-foot addition to its chapel. The new construction will provide space for a campus-ministry center and for seminars and other gatherings.
Concordia, St. Paul’s addition is expected to cost $800,000, with gifts and pledges for the project already standing at a reported total of $830,000.
Concordia University Wisconsin, Mequon, received unanimous approval from the Board of Directors to build a 300-bed residence hall, as part of its “on-going … campus master plan.” The BUE also had unanimously approved the proposal.
A “rationale” statement for the Board of Directors’ action also notes that Concordia Wisconsin “will seek some contributions for the project” that is expected to cost about $12 million, “but believes that the vast majority of costs will be internally funded by the institution.”
The Board of Directors filled vacancies on a number of Synod boards (including two of its own seats), the Board for Pastoral Education, and the Board of Directors for Concordia Plan Services/Board of Managers — Worker Benefit Plans. Also filled was a vacancy on the Concordia Publishing House (CPH) Board of Directors.
Those elected to fill the vacancies are the following:
- LCMS Board of Directors (two laymen) — Roy Schmidt of Bay City, Mich., and David Piehler, Wausau, Wis.;
- Board for Pastoral Education (one clergyman) — Rev. Kenton Wendorf, Grafton, Wis.;
- Board of Directors — Concordia Plan Services/Board of Managers — Worker Benefit Plans (one clergy and two lay) — Rev. Ronald Carnicom, Hackensack, Minn; Frederick Draegel, Richmond, Va.; and Mark E. Schmidtke, Valparaiso, Ind.; and
- CPH Board of Directors (one clergy) — Rev. Philip Esala, Centerville, Ohio.
The Board devoted several hours of its May meeting to discussion of how it could support the Synod’s convention-endorsed vision of “One Mission … One Message … One People.”
“Board members appreciated having this opportunity to focus on the mission of the church,” said Ron Schultz, the Synod’s chief administrative officer. “They specifically discussed how the Board — within its area of responsibility — can be actively engaged in supporting the Synod’s mission.”
Posted June 5, 2006