|17 conferences pay 100 percent|
In 2008, United Methodists in the United States gave over $130 million to the
denomination’s general funds to support the church’s ministries
around the world. A UMNS photo by Ronny Perry.
A UMNS Report
By Kathy L. Gilbert*
Feb. 23, 2009
In one single action, United Methodists in the Baltimore-Washington
Annual (regional) Conference trained thousands of clergy and laity,
granted more than $1 million to congregations, helped more than 100
students go to college and began a partnership with an East European
annual conference—just to name a few.
A. Moses Rathan Kumar
How? They gave 100 percent to The United Methodist Church’s seven apportioned global ministry funds.
Baltimore-Washington was one of 17 U.S. annual conferences that gave
100 percent or more in 2008, according to the United Methodist Council
on Finance and Administration.
Other conferences that gave at that level are Alaska, Central
Pennsylvania, Central Texas, East Ohio, Eastern Pennsylvania, Greater
New Jersey, Illinois Great Rivers, Kentucky, New York, North Carolina,
Oklahoma Indian Missionary, Peninsula-Delaware, Red Bird Missionary,
Rio Grande, West Michigan and Wisconsin.
The Illinois Great Rivers conference reported on its Web site that
despite an economic downturn globally, apportionment receipts for
January 2009 were 0.57 percent ahead of January 2008.
“Your congregations are continuing to step up to the plate and meet
the challenge,” said Bishop Gregory Palmer, leader of the conference,
at a gathering in February. “While the news media may be saying we’re
in a downward side, we are showing the world that God’s resources are
Rick Van Giesen, Illinois Great Rivers conference treasurer and
director of administrative services, agreed with Palmer’s assessment.
“It is both heartening and astounding that even in the midst of this
brutal economy, our people continue to give faithfully. There is no
question that good folks are giving sacrificially. The impact of their
contributions is being felt, literally, around the world!"
Thirty-seven conferences increased their apportioned giving in 2008.
The total collected from all 63 U.S. conferences was $130.6 million.
The total percentage paid in 2008 was 86.24 percent of the apportioned
amount of $150.97 million, said A. Moses Rathan Kumar, top executive
for the denomination’s financial agency.
In 2007, 89.6 percent of the apportioned amount was collected, and 23 conferences paid 100 percent.
“Indicators of the U.S. financial markets tell us our levels of
giving should be down significantly,” Kumar said. “The numbers in this
report indicate that the people of The United Methodist Church see a
Ways we give
The general funds of The United Methodist Church include World
Service, Africa University, Black College, Episcopal, General
Administration, Interdenominational Cooperation and Ministerial
Education. The General Conference, the denomination’s top lawmaking
body, establishes budgets for the general funds.
“The numbers in this report indicate that the people of The United Methodist Church see a different reality.”
–A. Moses Rathan Kumar
The general funds are supported through the payment of apportioned
funds throughout the church. Annual conferences use a specific formula
to determine how much money they need for the apportioned funds, and
that is divided among local churches. In addition, individuals, local
churches, districts and annual conferences may make monetary gifts to
the designated funds, of which 100 percent goes directly to a specific
project or ministry.
This connectional giving enables the denomination to conduct
training for church leadership, respond to emergency needs around the
world, provide resources for spiritual development, promote racial and
social justice, and participate in many global ministries, Kumar said.
“Giving has its biblical foundation,” said Kumar and Bishop Lindsey
Davis, president of the finance agency’s board of directors, in a joint
statement. “As recorded in 1 Chronicles 29:12-14 we honor God when we
“We take this opportunity to acknowledge the generous giving of
local churches to the ministries of The United Methodist Church that
impact lives,” they said. “Every person touched by the ministries of
the Church has been enriched by your giving. Thank you for your
faithfulness to the United Methodist connection and for your
participation in apportionment giving.”
*Gilbert is a United Methodist News Service news writer based in Nashville, Tenn.
News media contact: Kathy L. Gilbert, Nashville, Tenn., (615) 742-5470 or email@example.com.
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