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Annual Meeting of the SD Association of Christian Churches

The SD Association of Christian Churches held its annual meeting at the Episcopal Diocese in Sioux Falls on October 22, 2013.  Member denominations in attendance included the  United Methodist, Presbyterian, Catholic,  Lutheran,  Mennonite, American Baptist,  United Church of Christ, Reformed Church in America, and  Episcopal judicatories, and its director, Mr. .Tom Hoy.

The association worked this year along with several non-profits to help educate people in S.D. about a potential shortfall in new insurance coverage for persons whose income falls between   52-100% of poverty.  The legislature has failed to enact legislation that would have covered an estimated 32,000 people in SD, thus denying them coverage January 1, 2014.  The Governor subsequently convened a group to study the measure mid year, but nothing has changed at this point, although dialogue about the issue continues.  We will continue to support education efforts from now through the 2014 legislative session.  Our membership views this phenomenon as an unjust outcome to hardworking poor families in South Dakota, whose only health care is often accessed through emergency rooms with no preventive care, after care, education or drug coverage.  For more information go to www.sdbudgetandpolicyproject.org       

The association provided fiscal support for the Community Action Programs (CAP) of South Dakota to write a grant to educate people in SD about the new Affordable Care Act’s insurance provisions.  The CAP program was awarded one of two contracts and is now providing information and education to consumers in South Dakota.  Contact them at 1-800- 318-2596 to learn where information and education is available in your area.  

Tom Hoy, the Association’s Director has attended multiple training sessions on disaster planning for churches this year.  Through the association, any member judicatory can utilize his skills and expertise to explore developing and creating disaster planning for judicatories and or churches at a nominal expense.   Non-member denominations may contact him for inquiries also. Contact him at (605) 261-2308 for more information.

The association has been re-thinking its purpose and services this year, largely due to less involvement and funding by member judicatories. This is not unique to South Dakota, and a downward trend began two decades ago.  Virtually all state ecumenical associations are considering how to reformulate ministry together with shrinking budgets.   Each bishop or administrative representative was visited personally by the association’s director or a board member this fall to determine their perspective on continuance and if so how to fund it.  Newly appointed representatives of judicatories have increased participation and insights toward the associations forward work.   The board’s executive committee is considering other income sources going forward, and gifts and grants could in time offset some expenditure.  Judicatories are encouraged to increase funding in 2014 as active members engaged in the future direction of the organization.

The board continues to appreciate and support At Large member Cathy Brechtelsbauer in her advocacy for the poor, especially in areas of snap and other food access related benefits, sales tax relief,  access to health care for all, and programs benefitting children and aging persons. 

New officers for the board are  Rev. Jennifer Swier, President; Rev. Mercy Hobbs, Vice President; ; Rev. Greg Kroeger, Secretary;  Mr. Don Klassen, Recording Secretary, and Rev. Rod Gist, Treasurer.   Dates for meetings in 2014 are January 28; April 22: June 24, and October 28; locations to be announced.  Contact the Director, Mr. Tom Hoy, at office@accsd.org or (605) 261-2308 for more information about ACCSD or to make a financial contribution.