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Operating agreement shapes current and future budgets for seminaries

October 20, 2011 No Comment

by James Morgan

Efforts are underway at Lutheran Church–Canada’s two seminaries to meet budgetary and organizational obligations under a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed in June 2011. The MOU seeks to harmonize the activities of the two institutions and sets a budget cap.

At Concordia Lutheran Theological Seminary (CLTS) in St. Catharines, the Board of Regents is looking at a preliminary budget for the 2012-2013 year. The budget cap required under the MOU begins in 2013. The exact nature of any cuts is still tentative.

Acting-president Rev. Dr. Thomas Winger reports a surplus in the CLTS operating account, and the long-term deficit for the seminary is now below $600,000.

The 1000 Club campaign which asked supporters to pledge $1000 “has been quite successful, raising $80,000 since January” says Dr. Winger. “CLTS appreciates how synod members have responded to requests for support since the LCC convention in June,” he added.

In Edmonton at Concordia Lutheran Seminary (CLS), President Manfred Zeuch reports the seminary’s Board of Regents received a 2011-2012 fiscal year budget which it adopted in May prior to signing the MOU. However, the seminary is aware that the MOU will demand further changes in structure resulting in savings. These include increased sharing of library services with nearby Concordia University College of Alberta (CUCA) and discontinuing the position of Director of Development.  Some of the development work will continue with part-time staff. In addition, the Board of Regents is seeking clarification on the role of Lutheran Foundation Canada whose full-time gift coordinators take responsibility for promoting seminaries as potential gift recipients.

Dr. Zeuch says that staff and faculty at CLS “are very aware of the need to keep spending at a minimum in the face of low revenue and overall restructuring under the guidelines of the MOU.”

Creating a Memorandum of Understanding was the recommendation from the Task Force on Cost-efficient and Sustainable Seminary Education. It is a three-way operational agreement between LCC’s two seminaries and synod’s Board of Directors.

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