Columbia District does 100%
By Jessica Connor
South Carolina United Methodist programs and agencies have more money for ministry thanks to a year-end push in apportionment giving that saw the best numbers since 2003.
S.C. United Methodist churches paid 87.02 percent of apportionments for 2012 —almost 3 percent higher than the 84.2 percent they paid in 2011.
That translates to $341,110 more for ministry this year than expected, the treasurer s office reports.
According to year-end figures provided by that office, the 87 percent translates to about $15.5 million paid to the conference in 2012 of the $17,863,269 total budget.
It s wonderful, said Conference Treasurer Tony Prestipino. What s amazing was the excitement of the churches who contributed to that. When you see that kind of excitement in the connection, that s encouraging.
Prestipino had expected the conference would be on par with last year; typically, the treasurer s office tells agencies that receive funding to estimate in the 83 percent range. But knowing apportionment payments were significantly higher than expected and the highest the conference has seen since 2003 is especially good, Prestipino said “ not only because of the extra money it brings for ministries, but because it shows churches are getting healthier overall.
I would like to see another 4 percent increase next year, and that s possible, Prestipino said.
He attributes the increase to more churches contributing “ as well as a surprise success in the Columbia District.
Columbia District breaks a record
The Columbia District paid 100 percent of its apportionments this year “ thought to be a first for the conference.
To my knowledge, that s the first time that s happened in that district and any district, Prestipino said, applauding the commitment of Columbia District UMCs in reaching that milestone.
As 2012 wrapped to a close, Columbia District Superintendent Dr. Tim McClendon had realized the district was just two churches and $4,531 shy of reaching 100 percent. McClendon brought this before the district clergy meeting, and the churches immediately seized the idea of helping the district achieve full payment.
You could feel the palpable spirit of excitement and collegiality throughout the room, McClendon said, describing how little by little, churches and pastors opened their wallets. One pastor gave $40 cash; a clergy couple gave $175. Several churches decided to donate extra money from their own collections.
Not only did the district raise the needed $4,531, but they brought in $3,000 more, which the district voted to donate to the Central Conference Pension Initiative to help pastors across the world.
At 2.7 million total, the Columbia District s apportionments mean so much not only to the ministry of this district but to the entire conference, McClendon said. It does feel good that together we can do more, and I encourage church leaders “ clergy and lay “ to understand the connection is a way we can make a bigger impact in the world. ¦ What one church cannot do by itself, together we can.
The Rev. Wayne Horne pastors Trenholm Road UMC, Columbia, which is one of many churches that stepped up to help. He said Trenholm Road felt the $4,531 was not an extravagant amount of money, and thus a reachable goal for the district. They wanted to be a part of the network that helped the district achieve 100 percent.
In the life of Trenholm Road, we ve had seasons when we were unable to pay 100 percent of apportionments in years past, and someone stepped up for us in those days, so we just wanted to be a part of the connection and be able to reach that goal and celebrate that, Horne said.
Suber Marshall Memorial UMC, Columbia, also chipped in to help. They, too, have struggled financially, but the Rev. Phil Reynolds said the church really wanted to lend its support to this effort. Reynolds said he could not commit to an expenditure that was not in the church s budget, but when he first learned of the opportunity to help the district, he took the request to his church, fully expecting to have to plead for $200 to contribute. But to Reynolds delight, the administrative council was instantly willing to pitch in. In a matter of minutes, the council quintupled that $200 and approved a contribution of $1,000 to the district apportionment cause.
As the pastor, it was and still is a truly awesome blessing to have been privileged to watch this congregation from the sidelines as they shared their gifts, Reynolds said. It is an honor to watch a congregation respond almost instantly to the call for non-budgeted funding of large mission work. It is just way cool to be a part of watching God s people fulfill His scripture of multiplying gifts so that the gifts can continue to be shared (2 Corinthians 9:6).
To see the ranking of giving by district, visit www.umcsc.org/home/?page_id=206 .
“ S.C. UMC Treasurer s Office