By Jessica Brodie
Just a few weeks remain until the 2019 books close, and conference financial leaders are hopeful.
As of Dec. 16, the conference had collected 76.95 percent of its apportionments, compared to 77 percent this time last year, said Beth Westbury, conference treasurer. That translates to $13.7 million collected so far of the budgeted $17.8 million for 2019. The percentage collection goal is 91 percent, though the ideal is for 100 percent of churches in the conference to pay their apportionments.
“We are doing really well in the number of churches that have paid 100 percent,” Westbury said. “Last year at this time, 425 churches had paid 100 percent. Currently, 473 churches have paid 100 percent. And we have fewer churches at the 0 percent collection rate (99 last year and 87 this year).”
Westbury said the top three districts are the same as last year at this time: Walterboro, Rock Hill and Columbia. All three of these districts have increased their collection percentage over the prior year.
Other goals, Westbury said, include having each church in the Annual Conference pay something toward apportionments so there is 100 percent participation.
“We would like to increase the number of churches that pay 100 percent,” Westbury said. “Last year, 781 churches paid 100 percent. We would like to see 800 churches at the 100 percent mark.”
Apportionment monies pay everything the UMC is responsible for in South Carolina and throughout the global UMC connection, from clergy salaries, congregational development, campus ministries and United Methodist retirement homes in South Carolina to the global Africa University fund.
Some churches are doing special events to raise extra funds to pay their apportionments, such as festivals, special collections and other events.
The last day to pay apportionments is Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020. Payments must be in the treasurer’s office by 4 p.m. If the church is paying electronically, the payment must be initiated by 3 p.m. the Friday before, which is Jan. 10, 2020.