Two of the nation's largest mainline denominations are trimming their budgets. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) will cut its 2003 spending by $1.2 million, or 1.4 percent. The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) cut its 2004 budget by $3.1 million, or 2.38 percent.

The ELCA, with 5.1 million members, said six full-time employees will lose their jobs. The denomination will also eliminate three vacant positions and let three contracted positions expire.

The ELCA's Church Council, which acts as a board of directors, approved the cutbacks April 5. The 2003 budget is $83.6 million.

Charles Miller, the church's administration executive, blamed the cuts on "the harsh realities of the struggling domestic economy and a projected drop in income."

Some of the cuts will come by eliminating ELCA's financial support for the venerable Protestant Hour radio program. The church will also reduce a subsidy to The Lutheran magazine.

In April PCUSA leaders adopted a $126.9 million budget for national and international ministries. The denomination, with 2.6 million members, eliminated 19 staff positions and used $1.67 million from its savings accounts to help pay for current obligations. Cuts at the Worldwide Ministries Division totaled $190,000. The revised budget was up for a vote at the PCUSA's 215th General Assembly last month in Denver.

Related Elsewhere

The official sites of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America and The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) have more information.

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