By Jessica Connor
South Carolina apportionment giving is in an excellent position as the S.C. Conference Treasurer's Office readies itself to close 2011 books Jan. 18.
We re very optimistic about it, said Treasurer Tony Prestipino, estimating United Methodist churches will pay at least 85 percent of their apportionments by year s end.
As of the Advocate s press time on Dec. 15, apportionment payments were at 68.46 percent, up 2.48 percent from the 65.98 percent received this time last year.
That translates to $12.36 million received so far of the $18 million total conference budget for 2011.
Typically, churches pay at least 80 percent of the budget each year.
I m feeling extremely good about where we will be at the end of the year, Prestipino said, noting that churches are encouraged to send apportionment payments to the conference by noon Jan. 18, when his office closes the books. There are still concerns out there, but we re seeing a lot more optimism.
District-wide giving is up across the board, he said. The Columbia District is leading the conference in giving, with 83.86 percent paid to date. The Marion District is next at 74.38 percent, followed by the Rock Hill District at 71.06 percent. The Florence District is last, at 46.95 percent.
But there is still time to shift those standings, Prestipino said, as most of the apportionment payments come in at the very end of the year when churches have wrapped up their own financial accounting.
We just encourage them to think about the ministries of the conference as we move into the end of the year, Prestipino said.
Columbia District Superintendent Dr. Tim McClendon agreed.
Though it sometimes may not seem like it, apportionment payment is a tangible expression of United Methodist connectionalism, McClendon said. What we can t do alone is accomplished together through connectional giving.
To see the most updated daily apportionment percentages, visit the treasurer s page on the conference website: www.umcsc.org/treasurer.html .