INDIANAPOLIS – During the recent Leadership Table meeting at the Indiana Conference Center, leaders learned the Indiana Conference was near the bottom of the list of annual conferences in terms of paying their general church or denominational apportionments to The United Methodist Church. There was only one conference below the two former Indiana conferences.
The General Council on Finance and Administration reported the former North and South Indiana conferences gave only 53.58 percent and 50.11 percent respectively to their 2009 general church apportionment. The other 61 annual conferences in the United States finances the mission and ministry of the global outreach of the denomination. The general church apportionment for the former North Indiana Conference this past year was $2.9 million of which former NIC congregations collectively paid $1.5 million. The same apportionment for the former South Indiana Conference was $2.7 million of which the former SIC congregations collectively paid $1.3 million.
Even though thankful for churches’ apportionment giving, Indiana Bishop Mike Coyner said Indiana Conference’s 2009 payout is not acceptable and must change in 2010.
About half of the general church apportionment is designated as the World Service Fund, which supports the ministries of the church agencies including global ministries, discipleship, communications, ordained ministries, higher education, social advocacy and administration. The rest of the apportionment is divided among the Ministerial Education Fund, the Black College Fund, Africa University, Interdenominational Fund, General Administration, and the Episcopal Fund, which supports Bishop Coyner and the other bishops of the church.
Realizing poor general church apportionment giving by Hoosier United Methodists in the past, the first session of the new Indiana Annual Conference meeting in June 2009 approved a plan by the Conference Council on Finance and Administration to begin increasing the conference’s apportionment giving to a minimum of 80 percent of the general church apportionment in 2010, 90 percent in 2011 and 100 percent in 2012.
“To accomplish that level will be a huge change for us, it will cause us to re-evaluate many other items in our budget, but mostly it will call for an increase in faithful giving of the tithe by our churches,” said Coyner.
For future apportionments, Conference Treasurer Jennifer Gallagher reports that our general church apportionments for 2011 will be $5.7 million, which is about $139,000 less than our 2010 general church apportionments of $5.8 million.
According to Coyner who serves on the General Council on Finance and Administration, the reason for the Indiana Conference drop in 2011 general church apportionments is due to the fact that the GCFA formula to figure apportionments takes into account changes of the economic situation in each conference. So a decrease in the state economy, along with a decrease in local church expenditures, means a decrease in the conference’s general church apportionments.
There are only 14 annual conferences that gave 100 percent of the general church apportionment in 2009.
According to GCFA statistics, United Methodist congregations in the United States on the average spend about $22 per $1,000 of their expenses on general church apportionments. These funds support the global mission of the church.
GCFA reports that 2009 apportionment receipts were $126.3 million. Total apportionments were $150.3 million, meaning the general church received 84 percent of what was apportioned to the annual conferences. GCFA’s Economic Advisory Committee had predicted a receipt rate of 84 percent.
In addition to general church apportionments, Hoosier United Methodists also gave more than $70,000 collectively to the six Special Day Offerings of the denomination beyond the apportionment. Of this, more than $42,000 was given to One Great Hour of Sharing. This ministry outreach supports the United Methodist Committee on Relief, which receives no funds from general church apportionments.
Because of this church-wide offering, UMCOR is able to give 100 percent of what was given for its relief efforts. The five other Special Offerings include: Human Relations, Peace with Justice, Native American Ministries, World Communion Sunday and United Methodist Student Day. More information about each of the Special Day Offerings is available online at www.umcgiving.org.
Indiana Conference approved plan to give 80 percent of the general church apportionments in 2010.