By Jessica Brodie
The South Carolina Conference of The United Methodist Church closed its books for 2023 with 88.8 percent of apportionments paid—only a slight dip from last year’s performance at 89.2 percent.
That translates to $14.6 million of the $16.4 million conference budget paid by local churches in the UMCSC.
This amount includes apportionment funds paid by the 113 churches who separated from the UMC in June.
“I greatly appreciate the confidence our churches have shown in the mission and ministry of the conference,” said Beth Westbury, the UMCSC’s treasurer and director of administrative services. “We remain faithful in our efforts to develop our church leaders, engage our communities, and grow disciples. We could not do this without our churches and their dedicated support. I give a heartfelt thank you to each one.”
Apportionment monies cover clergy salaries, congregational development, campus ministries and other items in the conference budget, as well as global efforts such as the Africa University fund.
In addition, churches gave about $203,000 in “extra-mile” giving for United Methodist colleges and homes.
Of the 953 churches that paid apportionments in 2023, 760 paid 100 percent of their apportionments; 56 churches paid $0.
The Orangeburg District again saw the highest percentage of apportionments paid, with a collection percentage of 98.9 percent. Charleston District came in second place at 93.8 percent, and Columbia District came in third at 93.1 percent.
Collection has begun for 2024 apportionments; the budget for 2024 is $13.2 million.
The 2025 budget is being drafted now and goes before the conference for approval in June. UMCSC financial leaders said in the fall they expect a leaner budget for the conference for 2025, given the churches that separated in 2023 and in anticipation of more separating churches in 2024. They have urged ministries to prepare by reducing their own budgets.