Letter from Mr. Imran Siddiqui - December 2020
“John 21:5-6 Jesus said to them, “Children, you have no fish, have you?” They answered him, “No.” He said to them, “Cast the net to the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in because there were so many fish.”
Siblings in Christ and fellow members of our Southeastern Synod,
I pray and hope that you are staying safe in the midst of this pandemic. I want to thank you personally for all of your support for our Synod in the past. I want to thank you for doing the work of your Church. I want to thank you for your gifts of time and money to your Synod. I want to thank you for your prayers.
Because of you, we have been able to guide through candidacy the 90+ candidates who have been called into ministry from our synod. We have responded to hurricanes and tornadoes, invested in our Latin brothers and sisters, offered creative faith formation for our youth, and provided over $90K in relief for congregations struggling with the pandemic. We have made grants to reduce the education debt of our rostered ministers, funded stewardship education, and given technology grants so congregations can worship remotely. Despite the challenges of the pandemic, we have continued with call processes, matching congregations and pastors so that ministry continues in the local communities. Your commitment to this wider mission has made a significant impact. Thank you!
As you are no doubt aware, the pandemic has had a massive effect on our communities and our church families. People we know and love have lost their lives, jobs, and livelihoods. Many of our congregations have gone to virtual or outdoor worship. We have missed physically being together in our Sanctuaries, taking Communion together, and being in Fellowship with one another.
And no doubt your congregations have felt financial pain and pressure. You may have wondered how can we possibly afford to do Ministry in our neighborhoods. You may have wondered how can we keep our congregations going? In the midst of all this scarcity, is there any hope? In John 21, we learn that when we come through the night, feeling that we have nothing, Jesus appears and gives us everything. Many of us have felt that we are fishing in the evening, and our nets are empty.
Our Synod has also felt financial pain and pressure. Our Synod’s finances are $225,000 behind budget for this fiscal year, but we do not see this as a reason to despair because we see Jesus on the beach. In the Spirit of Jesus’s Abundance, we are dedicated to making up this deficit. In the Spirit of Jesus’s Abundance, 100% of our Synod Council and Synod Staff members have made personal commitments. Along with the commitments of the Deans, the total is now over $21,000. $42,000 have been committed by four congregations of our Southeastern Synod: Resurrection in Marietta, GA; First United in Kennesaw, GA; St. Mark’s in Huntsville, Alabama; and Atonement in Atlanta, GA. All of the congregational and individual gifts, thus far, total over $63,000!
We invite you to join with your Synod Council, your Synod Deans, your Synod Staff, and Congregations to pray and consider donating so that the ministries of our Church may continue.
Even when we are out on the lake, our nets empty, we know that Jesus provides and in that Spirit, we give. We give in Jesus’s Abundance to our communities, our Congregations, our Synod, our Church.
There are two ways you can donate:
1. Checks can be mailed to our synod office at:
ELCA Southeastern Synod
P.O. Box 400
Decatur, GA 30031
Attn: Mission Support
2. Online donations can be made on our synod site www.elca-ses.org
by selecting the gold "Give Now" on the black bar at the top of the page. Then select the Abundance Appeal under Mission Support.
For information about charitable giving plans that can help you make the most of new policies and your assets, please refer to information from the ELCA-Foundation here
, or reach out to our synod’s ELCA-Foundation gift planner, Rev. Ana Lugo
. If your congregation has an endowment, consider a distribution to our synod this year. One thing to note: the CARES Act introduced a unique provision in 2020 allowing an individual to deduct up to 100% of their adjusted gross income (AGI) for the tax year.
Thank you for your ongoing support and prayers during this unique time. Together, we can continue to reflect God’s abundance.
Blessings and thanks,
Imran Siddiqui, Synod Vice President
p.s. Be sure to check out our Abundance Appeal website for regular updates!