By: Christa Meland
The Minnesota Conference 2015 apportioned budget, which members of the 2014 conference session voted Friday to approve, totals $6,000,008.
That’s roughly $250,000 less than the 2014 budget and $430,000 less than the ceiling—the maximum allowed by conference rules. The approved budget includes about $1.7 million in apportionments to the general church.
With an “uncollectible contingency” of $600,000, the total amount to be apportioned in 2015 is $6,600,008. The uncollectible contingency accommodates anticipated shortfalls in some churches’ apportionment payments.
Apportionments are the share each annual conference or local church pays to support international, national, and local missions. Some of the funds remitted by Minnesota congregations stay within the state and help fund various Minnesota Conference programs and mission efforts, and about a quarter of the funds remitted by local churches go to the global United Methodist Church.
The 2015 budget was developed through a collaborative process that includes the ministry teams and boards and agencies of the annual conference. The conference’s Council of Finance and Administration recommended the budget to members of the 2014 Annual Conference, and they voted Friday to accept it.
The apportioned budget is organized around four key areas outlined in our Journey Toward Vitality: developing missional leaders, equipping missional congregations, extending missional impact, and generating missional resources. The Journey Toward Vitality is a roadmap that outlines the conference’s vision and the strategic pathways that will get us there. This roadmap is guiding us in our efforts to increase congregational vitality.
The areas of the budget, and the 2015 amount budgeted for each, are:
• Developing missional leaders: $914,196
• Equipping missional congregations: $817,588
• Extending missional impact: $1,852,856
• Generating missional resources: $264,076
• Aligning our work: Leadership of the annual conference: $894,180
• Aligning our work: Support of the annual conference: $1,257,112
• Uncollectible contingency (under direction of the Council of Finance and Administration): $600,000
*For more detailed information about the 2015 apportioned budget, click here.
Approximately $1.2 million of the conference’s 2015 total budget will be covered by pension benefit and health reserve funds. This includes a retired clergy health insurance premium subsidy, a 1 percent match for pension plan contributions, and an active clergy health insurance subsidy; this last item wasn’t previously covered by pension benefit and health reserve funds and used to instead be paid for through apportionments. The shift is possible because of the current levels of the reserve funds. The conference Board of Pension and Health Benefits will review these items every year and determine whether they can be paid from reserves based on the level of reserves and risk assessment at the time.
“Apportionments support everything we do as an annual conference,” Barb Carroll, the conference’s director of finance and administration, and treasurer, told members of the 2014 Annual Conference. That includes the internal support system that allows for 100 percent of “second-mile” giving (to Imagine No Malaria and other Advance Specials) to go to the intended mission or ministry.
Gary Taylor, chair of the conference’s Budget Process Team, noted that about 75 percent of churches pay 100 percent of their apportioned amount each year—and lots of churches have long records of 100 percent payment. Many more churches pay above 90 percent of their apportioned amount.
“Thank you for your faithful response to uphold the foundation of the connectional system by paying your apportionments,” he said.
Christa Meland is director of communications for the Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church.
Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church