In its regular winter meeting on Feb. 22-23, the Synodical Council authorized the sale of the synod's office property on Mayfair Road in Milwaukee. The sale price is $2 million.
The contract requires the buyer to provide earnest money. As is typical in commercial real estate transactions, the contract includes a period of “due diligence” (45 days) in which the buyer can walk away from the purchase for any reason and not forfeit the earnest money. After the due diligence period ends, there will be another 15-day period in which the buyer can still cancel the contract but would forfeit the earnest money. Final closing would take place 60 days after the contract was signed.
The contract also provides WELS with three months of occupancy after the closing at no cost.
Recognizing that the sale is not final until the actual closing at the end of the 60-day period, the Synodical Council has directed that only preliminary planning for a move to Waukesha should begin. If the sale is completed, the move to Waukesha is anticipated to take place in late July.
The Waukesha building is conveniently located in an office park along the I-94 corridor. It provides 33,000 square feet of office space on two floors, which should adequately meet the needs of the synod for decades to come. There is an additional 16,000 square feet of space in the unfinished basement level, which can provide storage space and has the potential to house the synod archives at some point in the future.
Congregation Mission Offering
Through the first two months of the year, Congregation Mission Offerings (CMO) are down 5.7 percent compared to the first two months of 2012. Some of this decline may be attributed to the fact that offerings in the first two months of 2012 were much higher than projected, while offerings in 2013 are being received at a more normal pace. On a positive note, congregational offerings are very close (99 percent) to the amount projected for the first two months of the year.
Since the synod’s ministry plans rely heavily on CMO as the bedrock of our financial support, congregations are encouraged to remit their CMO in a timely way and to encourage members to be faithful in their mission offerings.
Thrivent’s proposal to expand its scope
Thrivent Financial for Lutherans serves many people in our synod with insurance policies or other types of investment vehicles. Thrivent operates as a “fraternal” organization. That means it serves clients who have something in common with each other (in this case, membership in a Lutheran church).
The leadership of Thrivent has proposed expanding the scope of its fraternal group beyond Lutherans and extending it to all Christians. The proposal is now being put before Thrivent members for a vote.
Many WELS members have had questions about how such a change would affect our synod, our congregations, and individuals. The answer is really quite simple. A change in Thrivent’s client base will have no effect whatsoever on the synod or its congregations. Thrivent is a non-profit business that has offered financial and insurance products to Lutherans of all synods. While it describes itself as a “faith-based” organization, it is not a church body and is not in any way related to the work that WELS carries out as a synod. While we acknowledge and appreciate the grants Thrivent has provided to the synod for various projects, WELS does not actively endorse Thrivent programs. [GJ - Ha! WELS is up to its neck promoting Thrivent, a mediocre company at best. Aren't all the "Planned Giving Counselors" Thrivent Agents earning a commission?] A decision by Thrivent to serve other Christians does not directly affect the synod. Congregations may continue to benefit from the efforts of the local Thrivent chapters, while being careful to distinguish the activities of those chapters from the mission of the congregation. Individual WELS members who are members of Thrivent are simply purchasers of financial products. They will still have the opportunity to do that, regardless of the outcome of the vote.
All of this means that WELS members of Thrivent may vote however they choose. If the change is approved, they will still be able to make use of the “Choice” dollars that Thrivent enables them to direct to the charities of their choice. When making decisions regarding interaction with Thrivent, its chapters, and its programs, WELS congregations and schools will view Thrivent just as they view any other business.
The bottom line is that WELS has no fellowship relationship with Thrivent. We believe that a decision to broaden its market base is a business decision that Thrivent is free to make if its members so choose.
It should be noted that for years Thrivent has been making grants for specific programs in non-Lutheran agencies and organizations as well as block grants to Lutheran synods. Thrivent’s grants to non-Lutheran agencies will likely continue, while its block grants to Lutheran church bodies will end this year.
Serving in Christ,
President Mark Schroeder
Brett Meyer has left a new comment on your post "The Love Shack Sells Again - Prices Slashed - Hope...":
A decision by Thrivent to serve other Christians does not directly affect the synod.
Classic (W)ELS - the Roman Catholic Church and its earthly head the Antichrist are considered Christian. The official religious teaching which anathematizes Justification solely by Faith alone, along with the WELS (and the other Lutheran [sic] synods bound together by the New Age Thrivent), is considered in Christ by the insufferably impotent president Schroeder.
An appropriate confession for these last days in which the devil rules all officially organized denominations, the Lutheran Synods have jettisoned the Faithful Lutheran Confessions and have replaced truth with error, light for darkness, Life for death and their Inheritance for condemnation.
GJ - This came from a WELS leader, "Every Planned Giving Counselor is required to have an insurance license." (There is always a commission paid when someone sells a life or annuity policy. A gift annuity pays the salesman immediately and there are no health exams to worry about.)
A $500,000 gift annuity could pay as much as $15,000 commission, but rates vary.
WELS is in bed with Thrivent, doing business with Thrivent, sharing the loot and not exactly honest about it.
|All religions stained glass window - this was sponsored by Thrivent.|