By: Christa Meland
Local churches gave generously to the denomination in 2014—and those gifts have enabled vital mission and ministry both locally and around the world. The Minnesota Conference is one of 25 annual conferences that paid last year’s general church apportionments in full.
Last year, congregations in Minnesota collectively remitted 87.1 percent of the requested apportionments—down slightly from 87.6 percent in 2013 but above the recent average of 86 percent.
“We are grateful for churches’ generosity in addressing pressing needs here and around the world,” said Barb Carroll, the Minnesota Conference’s director of finance and administration, and treasurer. “Our full participation in connectional giving helps make a difference in many ways in many places. We praise God for the faithfulness and generosity within our conference.”
Apportionments are the share each local church or annual conference pays to support international, national, and local missions. Some of the funds remitted by Minnesota congregations stay within Minnesota and help fund various Minnesota Conference programs and mission efforts. About a quarter of the funds remitted by local churches also goes to the global United Methodist Church to pay for ministry and mission efforts supported by the worldwide church. At the general church level, the money supports bishops, United Methodist ministerial education, most general agencies, and denomination-wide efforts such as the Black College Fund and Africa University in Zimbabwe.
Minnesota Conference apportionments
The Minnesota Conference’s 2014 apportioned budget totaled $6.25 million; $6.99 million was apportioned to churches, a figure that includes a $750,000 “uncollectible contingency,” the anticipated shortfall in apportionment remittances.
Approximately 75 percent of Minnesota churches paid 100 percent of their apportioned amount. That figure is consistent with other recent years.
Some of the key things that apportionment dollars fund within the Minnesota Conference are new church starts across the state; revitalization processes for existing churches; training, credentialing, appointments, and supervision for clergy; the administration of pension and health insurance plans for clergy; congregational development grants to support new ministries, outreach, and/or staff; the conference’s camping ministry; and access to Christian education tools through the Resource Center for Churches.
General church apportionments
Minnesota has a strong history of paying its general church apportionments in full, which it has done for the past few years by supplementing local church remittances with Minnesota Conference reserve funds. Minnesota paid $1.75 million in general church apportionments in 2014, down from the $1.76 million that was requested and submitted in 2013.
Last year, United Methodists from around the world collectively gave almost $130.1 million to the general church, representing 90.9 percent of the requested apportionments.
Apportionments make it possible for 100 percent of Advance giving (or special gifts—including those to disaster relief projects and other humanitarian efforts) to go to the intended project or ministry. Such is the case for gifts to Imagine No Malaria.
Minnesota United Methodists collectively gave $175,000 to Imagine No Malaria in 2014, bringing the Minnesota Conference’s total amount raised for this initiative to $2.8 million. This equates to 280,000 lives saved through this denomination-wide effort to eliminate malaria deaths in sub-Saharan Africa by 2015. The Minnesota Conference raised more than any other annual conference and far exceeded its $1.8 million goal. Just a few years ago, malaria claimed a life every 30 seconds. That rate has been cut in half, thanks in part to the generous support of the state’s United Methodist churches.
Non-apportioned giving and the Love Offering
In addition to apportioned giving in 2014, Minnesota United Methodists contributed more than $880,000 to General Conference Advance Specials, Minnesota Conference Advance Specials, the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), Imagine No Malaria, Special Sundays, and the Minnesota Conference Love Offering.
Donations to the 2014 Love Offering, an annual offering that Minnesota churches take annually to support missions, totaled $121,000. Feed My Starving Children received 80 percent of that total, Project Ag-Grad received 10 percent, and Volunteers in Mission scholarships received 10 percent. Part of the Love Offering also included packing meals through Feed My Starving Children, and United Methodists throughout Minnesota collectively packed more than 3 million meals by year’s end.
Christa Meland is director of communications for the Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church.
Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church