Title: Income for ELCA Congregations Almost $2.7 Billion in 2005 ELCA NEWS SERVICE
August 1, 2006
Income for ELCA Congregations Almost $2.7 Billion in 2005 06-115-FI/LA*
CHICAGO (ELCA) -- Income in 2005 for the 10,549 congregations of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) approached $2.7 billion, according to statistics compiled by the ELCA Office of the Secretary.
Total receipts amounted to $2,676,901,588 -- up 2.94 percent or almost $76 million from the previous year. The 2005 increase was more than the 1.79 percent growth experienced in 2004 and the 2.45 percent growth in 2003. In the 2002-2005 period, congregation receipts grew nearly $226 million.
Of the total congregational income, $1,846,578,404 was received in regular, unrestricted offerings -- up $47,296,985 or 2.62 percent in 2005, compared to a more than three percent increase in 2004 and a nearly four percent increase in 2003.
Funds held by congregations in endowments and investments almost matched regular giving in 2005. Congregations held $1,871,512,026 in savings and investments, endowments and memorial funds -- up $78,788,575 or 4.39 percent from the previous year.
The average regular giving per confirmed member in 2005 grew to more than $598, an increase of 4.81 percent. The increase in 2004 over 2003 was 3.85 percent.
Total disbursements by ELCA congregations for local operating expenses amounted to $1,795,642,179. That represented an increase of $67,328,140 or 3.89 percent over 2004.
Regular "mission support" -- 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 0.12 percent, following a three-year decline of 3.07 percent. Mission support funding for 2005 was $130,323,202. Regular mission support was $130,490,038 in 2004 - - down from $131,538,299 in 2003 and $133,204,219 in 2002.
Synod-related "Special Benevolences" decreased by almost 5.95 percent or $1,092,214 to $17,244,535. Income for community benevolent causes increased $1,176,031 or more than 3 percent to $38,117,762 in 2005.
Of total income, ELCA congregations devoted 90.14 percent to operating expenses, capital improvements, debt reduction and other expenses. Another 6.94 percent of the total 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.
Of all ELCA congregations, 62.62 percent reported they had no debt in 2005. Estimated value of assets owned by congregations exceeded $18 billion.
* The Rev. Lowell G. Almen is secretary of the ELCA.
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