By: Christa Meland
Local churches’ giving to the denomination increased in 2013, and the Minnesota Conference is one of just 20 annual conferences that paid last year’s general church apportionments in full.
Last year, congregations in Minnesota collectively remitted 87.6 percent of the requested apportionments—up from 86.4 percent in 2012. The average receipt rate between 2009 and 2012 is 85.6 percent.
“We are so grateful for all the churches that pay 100 percent of their apportioned funds each year and for those churches that are working to increase their giving each year,” said Barbara Carroll, the Minnesota Conference’s director of finance and administration, and treasurer.
The amount requested from Minnesota churches last year was $6.99 million; that figure includes a $750,000 “uncollectible contingency,” the anticipated shortfall in apportionment remittances. In 2012, $7.24 million was sought from churches.
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 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.
“Apportioned funds provide the base that makes possible the mission and ministry we are blessed to do as we reach out in the name of Jesus,” said Carroll.
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 $1.76 million in general church apportionments in 2013, down from the $1.85 million that was requested and submitted in 2012.
“This milestone may not have been an easy one to reach for the members of your annual conference. We thank God for your perseverance and commitment,” A. Moses Rathan Kumar, the General Council on Finance and Administration’s general secretary and treasurer, wrote in a recent letter to Carroll. “The apostle Paul wrote ‘You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.’ – Hebrews 10:36. It is the will of God that the members of The United Methodist Church build and revitalize places of worship, develop principled Christian leaders, fight the diseases of poverty, and engage in efforts to improve life for the underserved in the world.”
Last year, United Methodists from around the world collectively gave nearly $128.6 million to the general church, representing 89.7 percent of the requested apportionments.
Twenty of 56 annual conferences paid their general church apportionments in full—the same number that paid 100 percent of apportionments the previous year. Overall apportionment payouts to the general church reached 89.7 percent in 2013, down slightly from 90 percent in 2012, when the receipt rate reached its highest level since the 1970s.
The Minnesota Conference’s 2014 apportioned budget is $6.25 million. This is slightly above the 2013 budget and slightly below the maximum amount, or ceiling, that’s permitted based on Minnesota Conference standing rules. With the addition of the “uncollectible contingency”—the anticipated shortfall in apportionment remittances—the total apportioned for 2014 is about $7 million. This year, the general church has asked for $1.75 million from the Minnesota Conference.
In addition to apportionment giving in 2013, Minnesota United Methodists contributed more than $1.4 million to General Conference and Minnesota Conference Advance Specials, the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), the Love Offering, Imagine No Malaria, and Special Sundays.
Christa Meland is director of communications for the Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church.
Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church