By Jessica Connor
Apportionment payments to the S.C. Conference of the United Methodist Church are up compared to this time last year.
As of Aug. 31, the conference had received 46 percent of its apportionment payments, or 2.7 percent more than the 43.3 percent it received this time last year.
While that percentage seems small, the dollars are not. Conference Treasurer Tony Prestipino said it translates to about $705,000 more.
It s kind of amazing to see, Prestipino said, noting he has no idea what is driving the increase, whether the improved stock market or church cost-cutting (see article, here), or something else entirely.
Typically, churches pay at least 80 percent of the $18 million conference budget, and the more they pay, the more United Methodist agencies and organizations receive for their programming. Last year, churches paid 83 percent of the $17.5 million total conference budget for 2010, or $14.6 million.
Apportionments are paid to the conference by all UMCs in the state; the money funds various items the conference has committed to support, such as missions, campus ministries, administration and more.
If churches don t pay apportionments adequately or on time, then these items suffer.