By Jessica Brodie
As South Carolina United Methodist churches enter their final countdown for year-end apportionments giving, the conference treasurer is optimistic we could see the best year for giving since 2002.
“Because we are doing so well compared to last year, we are within reach of breaking the 90 percent barrier, and we could possibly get to 91 percent, which would be the best we’ve done since 2002,” said Conference Treasurer Beth Westbury. “We’re just in a really good place to see a new benchmark.”
The treasurer’s office said that as of Nov. 13, the conference is nearly $280,000 ahead of where we were last year: 67.8 percent ($11.82 million) this year, compared to 66.6 percent ($11.54 million) last year.
The conference ended 2014 with 89.5 percent collected, which is the second-highest amount paid since 2002; 2002 saw 90.90 percent collected.
“I hope churches will be motivated by the challenge of reaching new heights,” Westbury said.
Plus, Westbury said, 283 churches have already paid 100 percent of their apportionments, compared to 264 this time last year. As of Nov. 13, the Walterboro District is leading in the highest percentage collected, at 80 percent, while the Columbia District is leading in the highest dollar amount collected, at $2.1 million.
“I am especially thankful for the churches that have already paid 100 percent of their apportionments,” Westbury said. “These churches are leading by example by making apportionments a top priority in their financial commitments. And to already have 283 churches achieving 100 percent compared to 264 churches last year demonstrates a level of excellence that is inspiring.”
Conference Council on Finance and Administration Chair the Rev. David Surrett said his team agrees with Westbury and anticipates breaking through the 90 percent barrier and moving to 91 or 92 percent. He said they appreciate all the things congregations do in their sacrificial giving toward apportionments and ministry beyond their walls, and that moving higher in the percentage of apportioned giving is always a goal of the council.
“We are extremely pleased with our progress thus far this year,” Surrett said. “Such extremely strong giving provides more resources for the many needs for ministry and mission by our Annual Conference agencies and groups. Thanks, thanks and more thanks for what all of our churches are giving, offering and striving.”
2015 apportionments are due to the treasurer’s office no later than 4 p.m. on Jan. 12, 2016, to be credited toward 2015. Because of the short amount of time that office has to remit payments to the General Council on Finance and Administration, any payments received after that time will be credited to 2016.
For those churches making payment electronically through VANCO, the payment must be initiated one day earlier: by 4 p.m. Jan. 11, 2016.
“It is also very important to indicate which year’s apportionment you are paying,” Westbury said. “We get a large volume of payments in early January, and some may be for 2015 and some may be for 2016. The churches can help us credit the payment to the correct year by including the appropriate year on the memo line of their check. If paying through the website, we are adding a field to the second page for you to indicate which year to which we should apply the payment.”
For month-by-month apportionments performance by your district, visit www.umcsc.org/home/administrative-services or call 803-786-9486.