Planning during a pandemic:
We know that Congregational Annual Meetings will look a lot different this year.
At the October congregational Lay Leaders Zoom meeting, Bp. Jon and the synod staff talked about planning for the winter and moving into 2021. There are two very important details we want to share. Pr. Dee and Pr. Steve re-recorded their presentations to help answer questions that might arise during your congregational fall planning:
- "Congregational Annual Meetings will be Different" by By Pr. Stephen Cook, Synod Minister
- "Creating a Narrative Spending Plan" By Pr. Dee Pederson, Director for Evangelical Mission
Each video is paired with a PowerPoint, click here to view and download these resources.
We will update this page with helpful information during this COVID-19 time. Below are the traditional annual meeting resources you will also need.
Annual Meeting, Annual Checklist, and Other Resources
On this page you will find resources to help you plan for annual congregation meetings. Please see side menu for more specific materials.
The purpose of the annual meeting is for church members to make decisions that affect their common life together and to conduct the official business for the year. The agenda is therefore structured like a business meeting. It is also a time to celebrate the congregation’s life. One way to do this is to separate the meeting into three segments: “Stating Our Purpose Together as a Congregation”; “Celebrating the Life We Have Had Together in the Past Year”; and “Looking Ahead into the New Year and Asking’s God’s Blessing upon Us.”
The ELCA Constitution for Congregations states that the powers of the congregation are vested in the congregational meeting called and conducted as provided in this constitution and bylaws. (C5.02.) Congregations hold annual meetings at a time specified in their bylaws.
Congregations may request written reports from committees, president, treasurer, and financial secretary. These reports should reflect on the past year. The presiding bishop and the synod bishop will also provide annual reports to congregations/organizations. The presiding bishop’s report comes in the spring for synod assemblies.
2020 Annual Report Covers
The Annual Report Cover includes:
- The cover
- A Message from Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton
- Litany & Hymn
Rostered Leader Reports
Rostered leaders may write a report to share at their annual meeting. They also fill out an online form that gets submitted directly to the synod bishop. This is a confidential report that reflects upon the past year. Click here to go to the Rostered Leaders’ Report to the Bishop web page for forms and more information.
All of these documents are links; please click the titles below to view.
- Considerations for Electronic Meetings (PDF)
- Chart of Motions (PDF)
- Who Can Be a Voting Member? (PDF)
- 2021 Compensation and Benefits Guidelines (PDF)
To see last year’s guidelines, click here.
At the beginning of every year, the synod office asks each congregation to share the following information:
Mission Support Intents
As your congregation prepares a budget for 2021, please share with us your Mission Support Intent amount for the Southwestern Minnesota Synod. Click here to register your Intent.
Congregation Leadership Data
After your annual meeting, update your congregation leadership data. The synod office uses this information for the call process, giving statements, and getting helpful resources to the correct staff members or congregation officers. Click here to update now.
Forms A&C (Parochial Reports)
Forms A and C are annual forms that are to be filled out by each congregation. This information is submitted to the ELCA to help provide crucial data that assist in assessing the success of existing programs and in preparation of new resources. This data is also shared on your congregation’s full trend report on the ELCA’s website. (To view a congregation’s trend report on the ELCA website, click Find a Congregation and type in the zip code, click on the congregation name.)
To fill out these forms you must have your congregation ID number and password. Passwords change from year to year. Congregation passwords can be found on the mailed form A (top right) or please call the synod office at 507-637-3904.
You can file electronically or by mail.
– Click here to access Forms A & C
– Click here for general instructions (PDF)
– Financial Stewardship Worksheet (PDF) Please call the synod office for an Excel file. Use this worksheet to gather the data to complete Form A. This worksheet is for local use and should not be included with forms mailed to the synod office.
Helpful Notes on Accounting for PPP Loans on Forms A & C:
In 2020 many congregations received PPP loans to provide financial assistance during the pandemic. These funds need to be considered as congregations complete their ELCA Congregational Report for the year ending December 31, 2020. The ELCA Office of the Secretary advises:
For congregations who received a PPP Loan that has been forgiven:
-Record the amount of the loan that was received on Form A, Line 17e in “All other receipts”.
For congregations who received a PPP Loan that has NOT yet been forgiven:
-Record the amount of the loan that was received on Line 17e in “All other receipts”.
-Record the loan as debt on Line 19.
If you do not already subscribe to the SW MN Synod weekly e-newsletter, please sign up by clicking here. Add all your new congregation council members. It’s a great way to keep them up to date with synod news, events, resources, and special messages from the bishop.
We respect your privacy. Subscribers will not have their email addresses shared or redistributed in any way.
Other Helpful Resources
Understanding our ministry together is important. Together we achieve things on a scale and scope that we could never do otherwise. Share these resources with your council and congregation/organization.
All of these titles are links; please click the titles below to view.
- Where does your offering go video
- Stories of Faith in Action
- Stories of Faith in Action Devotional
- Four ways to use Stories of Faith in Action
Stories of Faith in Action is a free, annual publication that highlights how God is changing lives through mission support, the percentage of your congregational offering that is shared with your synod and your churchwide organization.
Each year ELCA congregations vote to set aside a percentage of their finances for mission support, but members may wonder – especially when finances are challenging – how is our mission support offering used by our synod and churchwide organization?
This resource answers this question through stories and pictures that illustrate our shared ministry as the ELCA, and it is now available online! Click here to download a PDF file.