Budget, church leadership elections and pastor supply

The one-week state synod of the Evangelical Church in the Rhineland ended on Friday with resolutions on parish ministry and political declarations. The following are the most important results of this year's meeting of 226 delegates from the 40 church districts between the Lower Rhine and Saar regions.

FINANCES: The 2009 state church budget has a volume of83.1 million euros. Church tax revenues, most of which remain in the 773 congregations, are expected to fall by about ten percent to 541 million euros.ELECTIONS: Two new members were elected to the church leadership for a term of eight years: theologian Barbara Rudolph (50) as future senior church councilor and head of the department of ecumenism, mission and religions, and economist Hartmut Rahn (55) from Solingen as a part-time member.PASTORS: Homosexual pastors and church officials living in registered partnerships will be treated the same as married couples when it comes to pension rights. For the first time, a parish council is established as a "works council" for the approximately 2.000 Rhenish pastors. Theologians will be able to provide pastoral services on a salaried or honorary basis in the future.POLICE CARE: Police chaplaincy will be organized at the regional church level instead of the church district level in order to better fulfill its task.LABOR LAW: After a tendency decision different tariffs for the employees in church and Diakonie could be possible in the future.STATEMENTS: Synod expresses dismay over war in Gaza Strip. Action program to help reduce child poverty. A statutory minimum wage is demanded. Dialogue with Islam to be intensified.

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