2022 Annual Conference: Agenda, Special Offering, Resolutions, Disaffiliation Info.

South Georgia apportionment giving remains steady

2/14/2022

By Kara Witherow, Editor

The 2021 financial books have closed, and the story is much the same as last year. 

United Methodist churches in the South Georgia Conference paid 85.16 percent for total 2021 giving, compared to 2020’s 84.21 percent, according to the unaudited figures.

The amount collected was, however, a $319,006 decrease from the amount collected in 2020 because last year’s budget was $735,096 lower than 2020’s budget.

That translates to $7.5 million of the Conference’s $8.8 million total budget for the year for church ministries, missions, and programming across the conference’s six districts. The Conference spent nearly 78.5 percent, or $6,912,970.

The apportionments collection rate in 2019 was 87 percent and in 2018 was 89.5 percent.

Of the 567 local churches in the Conference, 350 paid 100 percent of their apportionments and an additional 74 churches paid more than 100 percent of their apportionments. 

The Southwest District saw the highest percentage of apportionments paid, with a collection percentage of 96.39 percent. The Northeast District came in second at 91.90 percent.

“I am incredibly grateful for the faithfulness of the Southwest District,” said Rev. Doreen Smalls, dean of the Cabinet and superintendent of the Southwest District. “Even in the midst of uncertainty, they remain committed to our connection and missions of the church.”

Dr. Derek McAleer, Director of Administrative Services and Conference Treasurer, is grateful for South Georgia’s continued faithful response.

“The strength of our connection continues to be high,” he said. “In the midst of the stress in the denomination, the fact that churches are continuing to support our shared ministry is pretty encouraging.” 

Apportionment monies support conference, district, and global efforts to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. Clergy salaries and retirement benefits, congregational development efforts, campus ministries, missionaries, and the Africa University fund all receive apportionment funds.

Dr. McAleer recognizes that, while worship attendance has suffered because of the ongoing pandemic, most South Georgia United Methodists continue to give faithfully. 

“People are still very connected to their congregations,” he said. “It does appear that people who are not physically attending still feel a connection and are still supporting (their local church), for which we give thanks.” 

In addition to apportionment giving, South Georgia United Methodists gave $225,000 in disaster relief, including conference disaster relief, disaster response outside the South Georgia Conference, and giving to the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR). This amount is in addition to missional giving on the local church and community level. 

The 2022 budget of $8,437,218 is $735,096 lower than the 2021 budget - an 8 percent decrease - which follows a 6 percent decrease the previous year. Since 2010, the Conference budget has dropped 32 percent. 

“The Council on Finance and Administration is mindful of where local churches are,” Dr. McAleer said. “We are having the same conversations that are being had in the local church. Local churches are where ministry happens. We hope we help enable some ministry jointly that couldn’t be done singly, but local churches are where disciples are made and where hearts are warmed to Christ, and our goal is to be supportive of those missions.”

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