From the Worldwide Faith News archives

ELCA Assembly Hears Mission Investment Fund Report

Date Thu, 14 Aug 2003 11:38:06 -0500


August 14, 2003

ELCA Assembly Hears Mission Investment Fund Report

     MILWAUKEE (ELCA) -- The Mission Investment Fund (MIF) of the
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) has experienced
strong growth in its 15-year history according to the Rev. Arnold
O. Pierson, MIF vice president, in a report to the 2003 ELCA
Churchwide Assembly. The Mission Investment Fund enables
individuals, ELCA congregations, synods and ELCA-affiliated
institutions opportunities to earn interest on investments that
are put to use to build, purchase and improve physical structures
of the church through loans and expertise.
     The churchwide assembly, the chief legislative authority of
the ELCA, is meeting here Aug. 11-17 at the Midwest Airlines
Center. There are about 2,100 people participating, including
1,031 ELCA voting members. The theme for the biennial assembly is
"Making Christ Known: For the Healing of the World."
     When the ELCA was formed in 1988, $171 million was available
to MIF for mission investment. "This year, total assets are $416
million," said Pierson. Loans of $250 million have been granted
to almost 500 ELCA ministries. In 2001 and 2002, 150
congregations secured new loans through the fund. "But more
important than dollar growth is ministries," said Pierson.
     In a video presentation, a congregation that utilized a low-
interest loan from MIF shared its story. Arnie Markwald of
Trinity Lutheran Church, Pell Lake, Wis., said, "We were at the
point of exhaustion trying to make the old building work, and
that's what started us down the path to the Mission Investment
Fund -- because they were the experts." Adult and children's
programming filled even the closets of the 250-member
congregation's facility until expansion was completed. "Having
this facility has allowed us to have a huge impact on this
community," said the Markwald.
     Augustana Lutheran Church in Denver, Colo., was cited in the
video for creatively contributing to MIF. When children in the
congregation are baptized, $1000 is given to MIF in the child's
name through MissionFuture4KIDZ, an investment designed to save
money for the education of a child or grandchild and contribute
to the future of the church.
     Currently, one in three congregations is a mission investor
through MIF according to Pierson. Among ELCA households, only 1
percent use the investment program. "We all must encourage
participation," Pierson urged the churchwide assembly
participants. "When you invest in the fund, you receive a
competitive rate on your investment while providing a space and
place for witness," he said.
-- -- --
Information about the ELCA Churchwide Assembly can be found at on the Web.

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

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