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Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Ephesians 6:10-13 KJV

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Michigan DP Seifert on the State of the Synod

Subject: Re: COP Special Presentation
Date: Mon, May 14, 2007 2:53 pm

Dear Brothers

In response to some good questions for clarification, I'll send this to all
of you -- in case you run into something similar:

Does the "Sudden Loss of $8 Million" mean $8 million per year, and was
that designated money or general money.
That was from the WELS Gift Trust Fund - Generally Schwann Offering. The $8
million was in a year and is reported around the 7/2001 FiC. The high was
about $14 million per year. Since the drop, there have been increases so
that now
it is about up to $7.9 million. Still below the high amount, obviously.
The decision was then also made to spend down the Gift Trust fund at an
accelerated rate instead of over a period of about 8 to 9 years. In a
couple of
years it was spent, in anticipation that everything would pick up to previous
levels. That did not happen.

I think I can explain the Gift Trust Fund and Accounting Transfer Error,
but it would be very helpful to have a paragraph summarizing what each is
about. ....."
Gift Trust Fund - see above.

The Account transfer went like this, according to my understanding:
CMO and Restricted Gifts flow into the "operating budget."
CMO plus about $7.3 million was available and budgeted to be spent in a
given year from the "operating budget." It was. However, the accounting
was not made so it appeared that there was $7.3 in restricted funds that
be budgeted and spent in the next year. It was put into the budget. When it
was realized that the transfer had not been made in the first year, the
transfer was made. This resulted in the $7.3 million shortfall which was
"borrowed" and is in the process of being paid back.

I think it would be helpful to have a few specifics on things like
"Increase in Synod Mission Code Salary"--how much has that impacted the
The new mission code is an increase over the old mission code of about $3
million per year. I checked with Mark Bannan. That was the number addressed
when he was on the SC.

Or "Lower Bequests."
The old actuarial tables that had been used anticipated about $4-5 million a
year in bequests.
We are receiving less than $1 million a year in bequests.

If I understand the line about "Reduced Operating Budget Support for
Ministerial Education," the increase in tuition led to decreased
enrollment which has resulted in a net loss in BME funds. In other words,
if we hadn't raised tuition, enrollment would be so much higher that BME
would have more money today. Is that right?
That is part of the problem. We can't say that is the entire problem, but
there has been a trackable correlation between increased tuition and fees and
decreased enrollment.

Does the "If We Do Nothing" slide mean that we will lose all the schools?
The "If we do nothing" slide means that we will shut down the school system
in the order of MLS / LPS / MLC - one would hope not WLS. the other factors
will kick in too. The actions may not necessarily be in the order listed.

Is the $4.7-7 million estimate of the stop-gap offering what the COP
thinks we need in order to save the synod?

That's not a permanent number but it will at least allow a status quo and
time to address all of this situation. The understanding / prayer is that
an offering will not be a one time offering, but an increase to CMO -- the
'new base' mentioned in the PowerPoint presentation.

Thanks for the questions.


Pastor John C Seifert
President, Michigan District
_WELS MI District website_ (
Office: 989-835-1776
Cell: 989-859-9028
907 Mattes Drive