As Project Coordinator of the South Carolina Synod Electronic Giving Project, I am reporting on the project’s beginnings, goals and results to date. Initial findings indicate that there was a pent up demand for electronic giving in project congregations. Year-over-year electronic giving in project congregations increased 34% in congregations that added credit and debit card processing to existing electronic check services and electronic giving transactions increased by 61% in those congregations. Also noteworthy is that 2/3 of the dollar increase has been via electronic check and only 1/3 via credit or debit card. Results have been widely mixed with one congregation experiencing a 103% increase in electronic giving dollars while others have been flat or even slightly reduced. A full report will be provided after the project ends December 1, 2017.
On Monday afternoon, Rev. Paul Aebischer from Portico Benefits Services led a discussion around healthy lifestyles for about 20 participants. He opened with a reflection on John 5:1-18, which relates the story of Jesus’ healing of a paralytic on the Sabbath. Participants discussed this healing miracle, focusing on Jesus’ question to the man: “Do you want to be made well?”
Rev. Dr. Wayne Kannaday decided that, after such a powerful Assembly, he felt moved to do something different with the third teaching moment, the third of the three “doors” of the small catechism. “I have thrown my notes away,” he said. Instead, he led the assembly in reflecting on the motif of the door and its role in our life of faith. He observed that the we are born of a door, the door to the empty tomb—the stone—rolled away. The Lutheran movement began with a door, the door of the castle church in Wittenberg where Martin Luther posted the 95 theses.
By Rev. Lisa Isenhower
With no ecclesiastical ballots at this year’s assembly, the elections process ran smoothly and quickly. Jean Knight led the assembly in mastering the Quizdom voting devices. Once all devices were working and equipped with fresh batteries, Pastor Mike Watson, Conduct of Elections Co-Chair, led the assembly in voting to fill 12 positions in the SC Synod.
“Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world.”
Ruben Duran spoke to the South Carolina Synod Assembly on Monday, May 22, about how we can be prisms, bringing out the God-colors in the world around us. He shared with us a story about his granddaughter and how she opened a door that Ruben and his wife had not been able to open on their own.
The churchwide expression of the ELCA has been engaging synods, congregations, and individuals in a strategic listening exercise designed to give clarity to where we are and want to go as a church. Rev. Ginny Aebischer helped demystify that process for a group of eager participants at the 1017 Synod Assembly.