What is Mission Support?
Mission Support includes the offerings of both congregations and individuals that are specifically labeled “Mission Support.” This money is the key resource for financing both the budget of the Southwestern Pennsylvania Synod and the churchwide organization of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
What is the Southwestern Pennsylvania (SWPA) Synod and what ministries would be enabled through Mission Support?
The Southwestern Pennsylvania Synod is one of 65 synods of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). Synods oversee the work of local congregations in their geographic area. They are led by a synod bishop (in our synod, The Rev. Kurt F. Kusserow) and the bishop’s staff. There is also an Annual Synod Assembly that provides the legislative leadership through voting members from the congregations of that synod.
The SWPA synod … :
- provides support for congregations as they go through the search for pastoral leadership.
- provides counsel and guidance for congregations in times of conflict or crisis.
- provides resources for congregations in many areas of ministry – worship, Christian education, evangelism, social outreach, ecumenical relationships, stewardship, financial responsibility, and record keeping – plus ongoing ministry support through our Resource Center.
- provides support to our camps – Lutherlyn and Agape.
- provides support to Gettysburg Seminary.
- enables us to continue the mutual relationship of support that we have with Thiel College, Lutheran Service Society, Lutheran SeniorLife, Bethesda Children’s Home and Glade Run Lutheran Services.
- supports our ecumenical work with Christian Associates.
- supports our Lutheran Campus Ministry in the Oakland section of Pittsburgh
- helps to make possible synod mission trips like the ones that have helped in Mississippi and New Orleans after hurricane Katrina, and most recently in New Jersey following Hurricane Sandy.
What is the churchwide organization of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA)?
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is a church of over 4,000,000 people and almost 10,000 congregations. Marked with the cross of Christ forever, we are claimed, gathered and sent for the sake of the world. This is the mission statement of the ELCA. As members of the ELCA, we believe that we are freed in Christ to serve and love our neighbor. With our hands, we do God’s work of restoring and reconciling communities in Jesus’ name throughout the world.
The churchwide organization of the ELCA:
- supports 240 missionaries serving in 40 different countries
- supports the starting of 70 new congregations across the country
- supports the renewal of congregations across the country
- supports the training of pastors through 8 seminaries.
- supports over 180 campus ministries.
- provides for resource people and other resources to strengthen the ministry of our congregations
- supports our work ecumenically with other Lutheran church bodies across the world as well as other denominational church bodies.