I've heard from a variety of sources that those who oppose full inclusion are voicing concerns about the grants we have received from the Arcus Foundation, and that perhaps outside political forces were setting our agenda and methods. I find it interesting that similar concerns were raised back in 2005 when we were in the middle of the $2 million joint ONE VOICE campaign with Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries and Wingspan Ministries. That campaign raised a total of $1.6 million over four years. The donors to the campaign were almost entirely Lutherans. The only non-Lutheran group that participated was the Ed Rhodes and Leona B Carpenter Foundation with a grant of $20K designated to the campaign.
The mission of LC/NA is clear and available on our website: working at the intersection of oppressions, LC/NA embodies, inspires, educates and advocates for the full participation of people of all sexual orientations and gender identities in the life of the Lutheran communion, its ecumenical and global partners. We at LC/NA are not empire builders, but rather hope that one day our mission will be fulfilled, at which time we will distribute our endowment and cease to exist. Unfortunately, none of us see that happening in our lifetimes.
We have a small staff, smaller now since the downturn in the economy. Our mission is carried out largely by Lutheran volunteers and Reconciling in Christ congregations. While we may have achieved a short term goal with the decisions in August, we know that the next phase of our work will include assisting our church in turning new policy into practice and providing resources for education and reconciliation.
As our website states, our funding comes from memberships and donations. Our IRS 990 is readily available through the usual channels. We consider foundation grants to be donations pursuant to standard accounting principles and IRS reporting requirements. We have an annual audit by an accredited outside accounting firm. Our membership and donor lists are confidential (with some donor advised exceptions) within our understanding of sanctuary.
Since the spring of 2007, the grants we have received from the Arcus Foundation include general operating support for LC/NA as well as project support for our work on policy change in the ELCA. The work is done by Lutherans for Lutherans; the strategies and trainings are crafted by Lutherans. Upon invitation, we tell the Arcus Foundation what we are going to do and how we are going to do it. Their trustees decide to fund our request only if they feel the mission and strategies are consistent with the core values and goals of the foundation. This is no different than any individual donor/contributor. Our performance is carefully evaluated on an annual basis for their internal purposes.
For the sake of clarity, I share with you that for CWA 09 we budgeted approximately $100K for our onsite programming. Individual Lutherans, chapters of LC/NA and several RIC congregations gave an aggregate of approximately $70K for that effort. The remainder came from grants received, including moneys from the Arcus Foundation.
Our work at CWA involves legislative training for allied voting members, a place to gather (our Goodsoil Central meeting area, training, legislative and office rooms), hospitality in the form of receptions for allied voting members, the Goodsoil worship service, production of resources and pre-assembly mailings such as the video, "One Baptism, Many Gifts," onsite resource devotional booklet, "One Table, Many Blessings," and finally relationship building using graceful engagement over meals and during breaks. This year we provided travel assistance for the ministers featured in our video, those participating in leadership roles during the Goodsoil worship service at Central Lutheran, and some members of our legislative team.
God has given us the gift of this ministry of reconciliation. As Lutherans we believe that we are reconciled once and for all to God through our baptism into the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We at LC/NA believe that our ministry is to witness to the love of Jesus and to be reconciled one to another. Reconciliation does not mean agreement or reaching consensus, it means respect and genuine love one for the other in Christ Jesus.
We believe the decisions of CWA 09 made room for all. I pray daily for our church, for its leaders, for those who oppose full inclusion and those who have been wounded by decades of punitive rejection by our church.
Lutherans Concerned / North America