From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Income for ELCA Congregations Grows to $2.5 Billion in 2002

Date Fri, 8 Aug 2003 14:43:55 -0500


August 8, 2003

Income for ELCA Congregations Grows to $2.5 Billion in 2002

     CHICAGO (ELCA) -- Income for the 10,721 congregations of the
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) in 2002 was nearly
$2.5 billion, according to statistics compiled by the ELCA Office
of the Secretary.
     Total receipts amounted to $2,493,316,925 -- up nearly $41
million or 1.7 percent from 2001, the Rev. Lowell G. Almen, ELCA
secretary, reported on the basis of information submitted by
     Of the total congregational income, $1,680,187,672 was
received in regular, unrestricted offerings -- up more than 1
percent or $17,246,523.  For 2001, the percent of increase in
regular giving by members over 2000 grew 3.5 percent.  A 6
percent jump occurred in 2000 from the 1999 level of regular
     Funds held by congregations in endowments and investments
almost matched regular giving in 2002.	Congregations held
$1,619,245,058 in savings and investments, endowments, and
memorial funds -- down $58,769,483 from 2001.
     The average regular giving per confirmed member increased
from $526.11 in 2001 to $534.24 -- up 1.54 percent or an increase
per confirmed member of $8.13.	The increase in 2001 over 2000
was 3.78 percent or $19.21.
     The growth in giving by members to congregations was
significant, with congregations receiving a total of $20,667,453
more in receipts than they spent in disbursements in 2002.
     Total disbursements by ELCA congregations for local
operating expenses amounted to $1,624,737,309.	That represented
an increase of $47,971,320 or 3.04 percent over 2001. The
increase in 2001 over 2000 for operating expenses was 5 percent
or almost $78 million.
     Regular "mission support" -- that is, monies passed from
congregations to the ELCA's 65 synods and to the churchwide
organization to support the national and international ministries
of this church -- decreased 1.7 percent.  Actual mission-support
funding for 2002 was $133,204,219 -- down $2,316,252 from
$135,520,471 in 2001.
     "Designated Gifts" increased from $10,839,409 in 2001 to
$11,866,616 in 2002 --up 9.47 percent.	World Hunger Appeal and
Disaster Response contributions decreased by almost $4 million.
The total amount reported by congregations for World Hunger and
Disaster Response in 2002 was $12,924,955.
     "Vision for Mission," an annual special appeal of this
church, decreased 2.72 percent -- from a total of $330,561
reported by congregations in 2001 to $321,544 in 2002.
Funding for missionary sponsorship increased slightly in 2002.
The actual figure for missionary sponsorship was reported at
$5,817,701 -- up $9,781.  "Mission Partners" giving decreased 1
percent in 2002 to $4,697,768.
     Synod-related "Special Benevolences" decreased 11.69 percent
-- from $18,072,206 in 2001 to $15,958,905 in 2002.  Income for
community benevolent causes was up $691,064 to a total of
$32,903,292 in 2002.
     Congregations reported a small decrease in other expenses --
down $101,927 to $104,218,327.	Sixty-three percent of ELCA
congregations reported they had no debt in 2002.
     The number of bequests received by congregations increased
1,330 to 6,074 and amounted to $85,098,351 -- down 6.01 percent
in 2002 from 2001.
     Of the total income of ELCA congregations, 90.51 percent was
devoted to operating expenses, capital improvements, debt
reduction and other expenses.  Of the total, 7.43 percent was
contributed for synod and churchwide mission support, hunger and
disaster appeals, missionary sponsorship, Mission Partners, and
designated causes.  The remainder supported special synod and
local benevolences.

* The Rev. Lowell G. Almen is secretary of the ELCA.

For information contact:
John Brooks, Director (773) 380-2958 or

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