Best year since at least 2002
By Jessica Brodie
Even a hurricane couldn’t stop the power of God’s generous people in South Carolina.
South Carolina United Methodists are celebrating this month over news that their churches brought in more than 92 percent in apportionment giving—the best financial performance since at least 2002 and possibly ever.
The 92 percent means $16.1 million was given by churches of the total $17.5 million budget for a variety of missions and ministries supported by the South Carolina Conference of The United Methodist Church, from congregational development and pastor salaries to campus ministries, retirement homes, camps and youth programming. Especially encouraging, many said, was the fact that the strong performance came during a year when South Carolina was not only recovering from the flood of October 2015 but also tremendous devastation from Hurricane Matthew in October 2016.
Bishop L. Jonathan Holston called it “a testimony” that the people of the South Carolina Conference were able to come together to affirm the mission and ministries of the UMC through their generous giving.
“Thank you for your faithfulness to a more excellent way,” Holston said.
Conference Treasurer Beth Westbury reported that 2016 figures were $232,125 higher than 2015, which at 91 percent was already the conference’s best financial year in more than a decade and $392,809 higher than 2014.
Also, Westbury said, 795 churches paid at 100 percent compared to 792 in 2015 and 768 in 2014.
“I hope churches celebrate the mission and ministry that they accomplish through apportionments and extra mile giving,” Westbury said. “For 2016 we collected $16,403,648 in apportioned funds and extra mile giving. Out of that $16 million $3,151,032 passed directly into mission and ministry in South Carolina. The total amount distributed is even higher when you consider the amounts given by various conference boards, committees and councils.
“We do more when we work together as the body of Christ.”
Westbury said the Rev. Thomas Pearson and his Walterboro District collected the highest percentage at 98.38 percent, followed by the Rev. Joe Long and the Rock Hill District at 96.30 percent and the Rev. Cathy Jamieson and the Columbia District at 96.14 percent.
“I believe that the Walterboro churches and pastors are deeply committed to apportionment giving which provides support to the mission and ministries of the entire conference,” Pearson said. “They are motivated to give because faith in God helps them meet the needs of others. I feel that United Methodists understand that whenever disaster strikes (i.e., floods, hurricanes, fire, etc.), apportionment giving is available to meet the needs of the community. I am truly grateful that the Walterboro District has led the conference with the highest percentage over the last two years.”
Westbury also praised Dr. Robin Dease and the Hartsville District for the largest percentage increase over the prior year (4.99 percent) and the Rev. Susan Leonard-Ray and the Anderson District for the largest dollar increase over the prior year ($49,737).
“Thank you to the laity for their continued stewardship and shared mission of the UMC,” said the Rev. Mitch Houston, chair of the Conference Council on Finance and Administration.
The Advocate’s April edition will include a full listing of what each church paid to the conference. For more detailed information on conference finances and administrative services, visit www.umcsc.org/home/administrative-services.
Apportionment Giving Through the Years
- 2016 92%
- 2015 91.1%
- 2014 89.45%
- 2013 89.72%
- 2012 87%
- 2011 84.2%
- 2010 83.2%
- 2009 84%
- 2008 86.1%
- 2007 86.8%
- 2006 86%
- 2005 78.7%
- 2004 78.9%
- 2003 87.8%
- 2002 90.90%
2016 Apportionment Payments by District
- Walterboro 98.38%
- Rock Hill 96.30%
- Columbia 96.14%
- Orangeburg 94.16%
- Anderson 92.53%
- Spartanburg 92.45%
- Charleston 92.16%
- Greenville 91.25%
- Marion 89.94%
- Hartsville 87.39%
- Greenwood 87.11%
- Florence 85.51%
(Figures courtesy of South Carolina Conference Treasurer’s Office)