The Minnesota Conference has made significant progress in some key areas over the past year, and I’d like to take a moment to acknowledge and celebrate them. Additionally, there are some important reminders that I want to share.
Imagine No Malaria: We are almost 90 percent of the way toward meeting our goal of $2.5 million for Imagine No Malaria. The funds remitted are sent every month to the United Methodist Committee on Relief and are already at work in some 16 African countries. Thank you to all the generous Minnesota United Methodists who are supporting this initiative. Minnesota is leading the way among annual conferences in this life-saving work, but the need is great so please continue to remit pledges and gifts.
The 2013 Love Offering for Missions raised $91,000 that will be shared among these ministries: Women & Community Association, an ecumenical ministry that serves approximately 12,000 people in a large, impoverished, rural county in Nicaragua; Red Bird Missionary Conference, which serves small churches in the mountains that struggle to meet basic needs; Emma Norton Services, the only United Methodist national mission institution in Minnesota; Native American ministries in Minnesota; and first-time scholarships for volunteers in mission.
Cleaning buckets: Earlier this year, Minnesota United Methodists donated nearly 3,000 cleaning buckets and $57,000 to go toward filling cleaning buckets; the buckets and funds were used for Hurricane Sandy relief and to prepare for this year’s flooding season.
Apportionment receipts for 2013 are slightly ahead of recent years. I never try to predict how we will end the year because variations are almost always due to the timing of receipts, but this is still good news because we were able to pay significant summertime bills, such as clergy moving expenses, without using reserves or tapping into our line of credit.
With the start of a new program year at each church and also in the conference office, there is a lot going on. Here’s a recap of some materials that were recently sent or made available to churches; they are also available on the conference website:
2014 apportionment calculations were mailed to each pastor, treasurer, and finance chair. We ask that you use a revised remittance form starting with your first remittance of 2014 apportionments or other giving. Customized forms will be sent to each church before year’s end.
An apportionments guide for Minnesota churcheswas also mailed to pastors; it provides an overview of the importance of apportionments and how these dollars are used.
An apportionments video that can be shared with your leaders and/or congregations as you’re discussing 2014 apportionments is now available on the conference’s YouTube channel—and a link to the video was sent to all pastors in late September.
Affordable Care Act: Each church (pastor, staff-parish relations chair, and church administrator or secretary) received guidance on how to comply with the “exchange notice” provision of the Affordable Care Act. This is not as complicated as it looks. The mailing includes a template with instructions and frequently asked questions that were prepared by the General Board of Pensions of the United Methodist Church. Jean Edin (firstname.lastname@example.org), conference benefits officer, can answer questions.
Church Conference forms are now available on the conference website (https://minnesotaumc.org/resources/forms/; filter by “church conference”). Completed forms should be mailed or e-mailed to your district office. Church conference forms provide an opportunity to name and claim ways that the Spirit has broken through and unleashed new life into your church, your community, and your own spirit. The forms give an accounting—just as Jesus gave an accounting to God in John 17. They are to be a time of sharing your story of how your church is living out our Wesleyan heritage of personal and social holiness, as well as being a vital witness to the world.
Barbara Carroll is director of finance and administration for the Minnesota Annual Conference.
Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church