ELCA Vision for Mission Supports Domestic, Global Mission

4/26/2002 12:00:00 AM

     CHICAGO (ELCA) -- The 5.13 million members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) have supported family farmers and urban ministries in the United States, and focused on health, education and community development overseas.  One way members have done that is by supporting Vision for Mission, an annual offering designed to support the church's domestic and global mission.
     The offering provides an opportunity for members of the church "to make gifts over and above regular congregational giving," said Kathleen Hetland, coordinator, Vision for Mission, ELCA Division for Congregational Ministries.  Established by the 1993 ELCA Churchwide Assembly, Vision for Mission is designed to support the church's mission through "celebrative giving," she said.
     Vision for Mission allows for direct support from individual members and congregations of the ELCA through gifts used for current operations or as an endowment.
     As of 2001 contributions to Vision for Mission have totaled more than $10 million.  An endowment of $4.56 million for the Herbert W. Chilstrom Vision for Mission Endowment Fund is maintained by the ELCA Foundation.  The endowment will help provide financial support for the development of new congregations in the United States in partnership with the ELCA Division for Outreach, support worldwide ministries with the ELCA Division for Global Mission and develop evangelism resources through the ELCA Division for Congregational Ministries.  Chilstrom was elected first presiding bishop of the ELCA in 1987 and re-elected in 1991; he retired in 1995.
     In a letter to contributors of Vision for Mission, the Rev. Mark S. Hanson, presiding bishop of the ELCA, said, "Vision for Mission makes a difference in the ELCA."  It "supports the main engine that is mission support, undergirds our churchwide evangelism and leadership development efforts, and makes possible all those ministries we do together that no one congregation could do alone."
     "Currently we have 305 ELCA mission personnel serving in 45 countries around the world.  This year alone, we have 120 new congregations under development in the United States, half of them in ethnic-specific and multicultural contexts.  With your support, we could do more," Hanson wrote.
     Vision for Mission offering materials, sent to individual members and congregations of the ELCA every year, include bulletin inserts and envelopes, newsletter articles and vignettes, a poster, suggested hymns and prayers.  The third Sunday in May is designated as the day to launch the Vision for Mission Annual Churchwide Offering, although "other dates can be chosen," Hetland said. - - -
     Information about Vision for Mission is maintained at http://www.elca.org/dcm/stewardship/vision/background.html on the ELCA Web site.

For information contact:
John Brooks, Director (773) 380-2958 or NEWS@ELCA.ORG


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