2017 parochial reports are due on Feb. 15. These reports are vital to the ELCA’s commitment to improving its efforts to spread the good news and are used in allocating the ELCA’s resources to synods and congregations. Did you know that the information you submit (or do not submit) in your parochial report goes into your congregation’s trend report, which is publicly available online? Seekers looking for your congregation can see not only the information you submit but also whether the congregation has submitted parochial reports. Please submit the report so that visitors can learn more about you. >More
Portico has kicked off its 11th annual wellness challenge, inviting members and spouses with ELCA-Primary health benefits to earn wellness dollars for working to strengthen their physical and financial health. New this year, as part of its stepped-up commitment to give members more personalized health support, Portico is offering a biometric screening instead of an online health assessment. For their effort, participants will also receive $200 wellness dollars, half of the $400 available in 2018. >More
A hostile work environment may be defined as a workplace where an employee is subjected to harassment or unfair treatment, creating an environment where the employee feels threatened or intimidated. Prevention is the best means toward a safe and welcoming workplace. >More
While it may never happen to you, it is important to prepare for an armed intruder situation just as you prepare for other types of emergencies. These situations evolve very rapidly and require individuals to make decisions very quickly. This resource kit will give you some tools to prepare for this type of emergency. >More
The Internal Revenue Service has issued the 2018 optional standard mileage rates used to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical or moving purposes. Beginning on Jan. 1, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car (also vans, pickups or panel trucks) will be:
Stories of Faith in Action 2017-2018 is here!
Stories of Faith in Action is an annual publication highlighting how God is changing lives through ministries funded by Mission Support. Mission Support is a portion of ELCA members’ unrestricted offering dollars that is shared with their synods and the ELCA churchwide organization. This collection of stories is a tool to help ELCA members understand how important their weekly offering is in sustaining and growing global and local Lutheran ministries. Stories, videos, bulletin inserts and an infographic explaining “Where does my offering go?” are tools congregations can use to encourage giving. Order free printed copies of the resource—just pay shipping and handling—or download a free pdf. Visit ELCA.org/SOFIA now to read Stories of Faith in Action and download additional resources.
Plan ahead for 2018 payroll withholdings
If you provide ELCA benefits through Portico and your employees changed their 2018 pretax retirement, supplemental life insurance, and/or other voluntary benefit elections during Portico’s Annual Enrollment, you’ll need to adjust payroll withholdings for 2018. In December, this summary of 2018 payroll withholdings on EmployerLink can help you determine how much to withhold from paychecks in January.
‘Cybersecurity Best Practices for Churches’
Cybersecurity is the body of technologies, processes and practices designed to protect networks, computers, programs and data from attack, damage or unauthorized access. In a computing context, security includes both cybersecurity and physical security. In order to protect your constituents’ data, it is critical to understand cyber security threats and vulnerabilities and have the ability to defend your computer systems against cyberattacks. >More
‘You Need a Disaster Communications Plan’
This practical guide to developing a congregational disaster communications plan was written by the Rev. David Hansen, serving at Spirit of Joy! Lutheran Church in The Woodlands, Texas. Based on his experience at the congregational and synodical level responding to Hurricane Harvey, this blog post offers tips for communicating before, during and after a disaster. >More
1 in 10 Protestant congregations experiences embezzlement
While it’s easy to believe fraud could never happen in your congregation, the truth is that no congregation is invulnerable.>More
Planning safe events
Anyone who has hosted a gathering knows how much goes into even a simple get together with family and friends. Putting on a successful and safe church event takes planning to a new level. This resource from Church Mutual provides some steps to take as you manage your event planning.
The 500th anniversary of the Reformation is just over 60 days away! Hopefully, you’ve been able to host an anniversary activity. If not, it’s not too late. Consider hosting a “With New Voices” Small Catechism study, a showing of the latest Martin Luther documentary or host a livestream of the ELCA’s Oct. 31 anniversary commemoration. You can access all the resources needed at ELCA500.org and stay up-to-date on what’s happening in congregations and synods around the country (and world!) on Facebook and Twitter. So, connect today to share photos of what your congregation and synod is up to for #ELCA500.
September is Disaster Preparedness month. And what a devastating month it’s been, with many disasters wreaking havoc and destruction, not only in the U.S., but around the world. Several years ago, Lutheran Disaster Response produced a Congregational Disaster Preparedness Guide to help congregations prepare for and respond to a disaster. The free guide can be downloaded as a whole or in three parts. The first section addresses congregational preparedness, the second congregational response and the third section has worksheets congregations can use as they address this work. To save on printing costs, it is only available by download at ELCA.org/Resources/Lutheran-Disaster-Response#General.To help with the response go to: http://www.elca.org/ldr.
An audit should be conducted periodically to review compliance with regulations, ensure the effective operation of the congregation, maintain or enhance its reputation in the community and instill a sense of confidence that all is functioning well.>More
Electricity is a powerful tool. It can also be a lethal hazard. Better safety standards have reduced electrical problems that cause deaths, injuries and property damage, but good safety habits are still the best prevention against electrical accidents. >More
Most ELCA organizations are included in the ELCA group exemption filing with the IRS. A certification letter may be requested when you apply for a bulk mailing permit, state sales tax exemption, to receive grant or matching funds, estate settlement or simply for proof of tax exempt status. >More