Conference passes two motions regarding funds from separating churches

By Jessica Brodie

GREENVILLE—Annual Conference passed two motions on the final day of its gathering regarding funds from separating churches.

Much conversation and concern had been circulating over the large amount of money the conference received from churches allowed to leave the denomination over sexuality issues. In 2023, the South Carolina Conference of The United Methodist Church received $17.5 million from the 113 churches that separated from the UMC, and on June 11 at this year’s conference, an additional 112 churches separated (that second amount is not yet known).

Some expressed concern that the Conference Board of Trustees was deciding what to do with the funds without input from the full annual conference. Others expressed concern about not understanding where that money would be going, feeling the conference had not communicated this adequately.

The Conference Board of Trustees noted it had released information both in a two-page document and through the Advocate detailing where those funds would go.

The Rev. Shannon Bullion restated that breakdown before the body; the breakdown includes a Hope Fund of $7.48 million that would provide direct ministry grants for congregations in need (see sidebar below for details).

On the last morning of Annual Conference, the Rev. Amiri Hooker proposed a motion regarding equity in fund distribution over concerns that “BIPOC congregations”— Black, indigenous and other people of color congregations—might not get the funds they need because of a lack of awareness or voice in the decision-making. 

Hooker moved, to ensure equity from funds that come from separations, both previous and current, that a minimum of $5 million be considered for Black, indigenous and other people of color congregations, with Black Methodists for Church Renewal and the office of Congregational Development helping as advisors.

The motion passed.

More than an hour later in the morning’s session, the body also considered a motion from the Rev. Patricia Parrish that all expenditures from the Hope Fund and all funds received from separating churches be reported at the next annual conference so the conference is fully aware of what is happening with this money.

That motion also was approved.

Where were funds from 2023 separating churches disbursed? Click here to read more.

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