By Jessica Brodie
With its treasurer calling it a demonstration of “great faith” in a year filled with uncertainty, the South Carolina Conference of The United Methodist Church closed its books with 89.22 percent of apportionments paid.
That translates to almost $15 million of the $16.7 million conference budget paid by local churches in the UMCSC.
While the number is down from last year’s 91.67 percent, it is up from 2020’s performance and generally on par with giving across the last two decades (see sidebar).
“Our churches have endured the hardship of the pandemic and the upheaval of our denomination but continue to give generously in support of the mission and ministry of the South Carolina Conference,” said Beth Westbury, the UMCSC’s treasurer and director of administrative services. “While total giving is not quite where it normally is, I believe the churches have responded with great faith to support the hands and feet at work outside their local community. I am thankful for all of our churches and their leadership.”
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 nearly $250,000 in “extra-mile” giving for United Methodist colleges and homes.
Of the 958 churches that pay apportionments, Westbury reported 773 paid 100 percent of their apportionments.
The Orangeburg District again saw the highest percentage of apportionments paid, with a collection percentage of 98.23 percent. Columbia District came in second place at 96.16 percent, and Spartanburg District came in third at 94.23 percent.
Collection has begun for 2023 apportionments; the budget for 2023 is $15.6 million. The Conference Council on Finance and Administration has been working hard to reduce apportionments in hopes that more churches will participate and reach 100 percent. The 2024 budget is being drafted now and goes before the conference for approval in June.
Apportionment giving through the years: