COVID RESPONSE
Southeastern Synod ELCA

Stewardship Resources - September 22, 2020

September 22, 2020

The impact of a story
Twenty-one congregations from our synod are participating in the Beginning a Culture of Generosity Program with Pr. Mike Ward. Melanie Mitchell who worships at Community of Grace in Grayson, GA has valued the discussions around outcome stories. “Having members of the congregation share what it means to have God in their lives, or the impact of God in their lives, is a great way to share the church’s ministry and remind people of God’s generosity to us. The frequent sharing of personal narratives will serve as “nudges” to others as they then reflect on the impact of God in their lives.”

God is indeed abundant!
$70K has now been distributed to congregations and individuals during this pandemic for assistance to help relieve the financial burdens that our congregations and rostered ministers are facing.  We give God thanks for the generosity of those in the wider ELCA who have contributed to the COVID-19 Response Appeal and the Synod's Strategic Initiative Fund (SIF). The SIF has been funded by primarily Holy Closures of congregations in our synod. The legacy of ministry lives on!

Stewardship During a Pandemic – a session for all
Everyone is welcome to join us on Sunday, October 18 at 3pm ET when Rev. Mike Ward presents “With glad and generous hearts: a look at stewardship of self, congregation and church.” Where the disciples saw scarcity and thought people should depart before mealtime, Jesus recognized abundance and fed more than 5,000 people.  Living life and leading congregations from an abundance perspective takes thoughtfulness and intentionality, especially during a pandemic.  Join us for discussion to see how it is that generosity leads to our hearts being more connected with God and how generosity is all around us even in this pandemic.  Ideas for your stewardship drive will be included in this discussion. Registration is at: https://www.elca-ses.org/newsdetail/october-2020-faith-formation-days-for-laity-14163488

Does your rostered minister have student loan debt?
Has your congregation considered assisting with this debt? Now through December 31, 2020 is the perfect time to do this. The COVID-19 virus pandemic devastated the United States’ economy, causing millions of people to lose their jobs or to experience reductions in income. With so many people struggling to make ends meet, the government created the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to provide economic assistance. The CARES act allows the employer to contribute up to $5,250 toward an employee's student loans. The payment is excluded from the employee's income. It's also tax-free for the employer, since it's not subject to payroll taxes up to the contribution threshold. It's a win win!

For more information, see https://www.elfi.com/important-details-on-employer-student-loan-assistance-programs/

Savings Matching Programs for Rostered Ministers
Rostered Ministers, if you’ve not checked out the resources available through Resourceful Servants, please do! God’s mission in the world is served when you are satisfied and effective in your ministry. Many of you have said that financial uncertainty and stress — frequently caused by a lack of emergency savings, a lack of retirement savings or both — can stand in the way of your satisfaction and effectiveness in ministry. Resourceful Servants, an initiative of the ELCA and its ministry partners, has developed two Savings Matching programs to address these financial challenges. These programs partner with ELCA rostered ministers to encourage a habit of saving and provide matching funding to more rapidly grow emergency savings and retirement accounts.

Find out if you qualify for the Resourceful Servants Savings Matching Programs by visiting https://resourcefulservants.org/rostered-ministers/savings-matching-programs/  and reviewing the introductory booklet and video. Then, complete the Financial Wellness Assessment by clicking the link below. The due date to complete the Financial Wellness Assessment is Oct. 15. You’ll need your Roster Leader’s ID to apply. If you don’t have the ID, give the synod office a call.