By Jessica Brodie
The numbers are in—and continue to climb.
South Carolina United Methodists closed 2017 at their highest apportionment giving percentage in years, if not ever, bringing in 92.34 percent of the church’s $17.5 million total budget for the year. That percentage translates to $16.2 million for church ministries, missions, programming and more in every district in South Carolina.
The 92.34 percent for 2017 is a steady increase over 2016’s 92.04 percent, 2015’s 91.1 percent and 2014’s 89.5 percent.
“While we did not reach the 94 percent goal, we are appreciative of the continuing improvement,” said Beth Westbury, treasurer and director of administrative services for the South Carolina Conference of The United Methodist Church. “We were short of the 94 percent goal by $290,803, but we collected $41,867 more than in the prior year. And our special giving increased, as well. It is amazing how our churches continually soar to new heights in every way, not just in their giving.”
Apportionment dollars support everything from congregational development and pastor salaries to campus ministries, retirement homes, camps and youth programming. Westbury said what was particularly encouraging was the fact that, of the 989 churches participating in the apportionment system, 800 paid 100 percent (compared to 789 in 2016).
Westbury said that’s “quite an improvement when you consider the number of churches that were closed after the apportionments were calculated.”
The Walterboro District had the highest percentage paid of the 12 districts in the state, collecting 100.12 percent. Westbury called District Superintendent the Rev. Thomas Pearson and his district the “king of apportionments.”
“I am truly grateful for God's grace and power that inspired the churches to take action and move toward accomplishing the goals of the UMC,” Pearson said. “The pastors and members of the Walterboro District were motivated to contribute to the needs of others and to provide for those who faced devastation due to floods, hurricanes and other disasters. I commend all who gave generously and abundantly, as well as those who gave beyond what was asked, so that we, as a team, could achieve our goal.”
The Columbia District came in second at 96.76 percent, and the Rock Hill District came in at a close third at 96.03 percent.
Also noteworthy, Westbury said: The Columbia District came in first in increased giving as measured in dollars at $66,254. The Greenville District came in second with an increase of $47,516, and the Marion District came in third with an increase of $36,325.
The Florence District took the lead in percentage point increase with 2.11. The Marion District took second with 1.99 percent and the Greenwood District took third with 1.93 percent.
Special giving increased last year by more than $88,000. In the aftermath of the 2017 disasters, South Carolina UMCs increased their giving to the United Methodist Committee on Relief by more than $500,000. As well, the conference’s homeless initiative collected more than $167,000 during the combined 2016 and 2017 years.
“Once again the Council on Finance & Administration is amazed at the extravagant generosity of the people called Methodists in South Carolina,” said the Rev. Walter Cantwell, chair of the Budget Subcommittee of CF&A. “Because churches have made apportionments a priority, ministries and missions of the South Carolina Conference are able to thrive. The council is aware that every line item of the budget represents hopes and dreams that people will experience the life-giving love of Jesus Christ. We are grateful for your support.”
Apportionment Giving Through the Years:
- 2017 92.34%
- 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%
2017 Apportionment Payments by District
- Walterboro 100.12%
- Columbia 96.76%
- Rock Hill 96.03%
- Spartanburg 94.09%
- Orangeburg 93.05%
- Greenville 91.97%
- Marion 91.93%
- Anderson 90.55%
- Greenwood 89.04%
- Hartsville 88.69%
- Charleston 87.78%
- Florence 87.62%
(Courtesy of the South Carolina Conference Treasurer’s Office)
For more on conference financials, visit www.umcsc.org/home/administrative-services.