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Tempered success

Apportionments come in at 83 percent, same as 2009

By Jessica Connor

United Methodist agencies and organizations are wiping their brows this week after news that about 83 percent of apportionments have been paid.

Conference Treasurer Tony Prestipino had been projecting the conference would come in at 83 percent (about $14.6 million), which is the same percentage paid in 2009.

But many organizations were nervous in spite of Prestipino’s estimation–in mid-December, payments had only reached 66 percent conference-wide.

Some heavy last-minute outreach to late-paying churches helped the conference bring in what was needed, Prestipino said, and the conference extended the deadline to Jan. 19 to allow churches a little extra time to make their payments.

The extra effort paid off, and now the conference is relieved it can close 2010 books at just where it expected to be–and conference-funded organizations can count on receiving what they had anticipated.

The Columbia District had the strongest percentage, with about 99 percent of apportionments paid. The Florence District had the lowest, with about 66 percent.

“Our goal’s always going to be 100 percent, but at the same point, we saw a lot of large and small churches really step up and make a valiant effort,” Prestipino said. “Given the economics (of the nation), it’s wonderful we got to this point.”

Apportionments not only support conference and district administration and efforts of the General Church, but also ministries such as United Methodist colleges and retirement homes, camps and retreats, advance special ministries like Rural Mission or the Bethlehem Center, and new or struggling churches who need support.

Dr. Colleen Perry Keith, president of Spartanburg Methodist College, said the school can’t say enough to the conference for its faithful support.

“We know that many, if not most, churches are facing shortfalls, yet they believe in the church’s education mission and have paid their apportionments so that this mission can be fulfilled,” Keith said.

Keith said the funding SMC receives supports student scholarships and its religious life program. Without that help, she said many students might not be able to continue their education.

The Rev. James McGee, president of United Methodist retirement home The Oaks, in Orangeburg, said he is extremely proud of the generous United Methodists in this state.

“The outpouring of caring about others displayed in the giving to apportionments, in an extremely difficult economic time, is evidence of the continued concern of Methodists for others,” McGee said. “The generosity of our churches enables The Oaks to continue to assist those in our community who need our help in the waning years of life.”

Now, Prestipino said his office can focus on what can be accomplished in 2011; he projects the same percentage of apportionment giving this year.

He said the dialogue with local churches has been extremely helpful and will aid in planning the 2012 budget, which is in development now.

“It does take a lot of money to run the Annual Conference,” Prestipino said. “But it is always evolving.”

For more on the 2010 percentages, visit www.umcsc.org/treasurer.html.

 

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