Stronger Together—United Methodist Connectional Giving
One of the first things my family did when we were preparing to move to Oregon last year was reevaluate our budget to make sure that we were living within in our means. We budgeted basic living expenses first (like housing and food) then added all of our standing obligations (car payments and tithes). Then we budgeted for the things that are important to us but are not necessary (like saving for a vacation and entertainment). Finally, we allocated what we could to friviolous things (like eating out once in awhile and renting movies). Having a well-planned budget helps us be good stewards of our resources, make sure we are meeting our responsiblities, and helps us decide what is most important with the money we have leftover.
Just like budgeting is important to my family, so is it an important aspect of the financial health of the church. Each year your finance team asks you to make a best-guess estimate of how much of your charitable giving will go to St. Paul’s, then we use that data to plan a responsible budget that will allow us to live within our means. Most important in that budget are our standing obligations—like upkeep of our building and paying for a pastor .
One of our standing obligations is Approtioned giving. Apportionments are based on a forumla that considers our income, pastoral salary, and other factors set by the conference. This year our portion is $30,000.
Apportionments are a method of giving that proportionally allocates the churchwide budget to conferences and local churches. Together, through our connected congregations, we accomplish what no single church could hope to do alone. In this way, each individual, each family, each congregation gives a fair share for the church’s work. We combine our prayers, presence, gifts and service to make a significant difference in the lives of God’s people. Apportionments pay for our connectional ministries and ground-level mission work here in Oregon, and across the global church.
In order to accurately reflect the money pledged, balance our budget and be good stewards of the resources entrusted to us,
we made the decision to remove apportionments from our budget. Even though it is not a part of our line-item budget, paying our apportionments is still our responsibility. In order to be faithful to the connectional obligation that comes with being United Methodists, we are going to dedicate the month of May to celebrating connectional giving and learning more about where our apportionments go. You will hear stories about how giving has changed people’s lives. You will also receive in the mail a pledge card for our special apportionment fund drive, and instructions about how you can do your part to help us fulfil this important obligation. I will ask you to commit to contributing towards our apportionment fund what you are able—and what the Spirit leads you to give.
Then, on Pentecost, June 4th, I invite you to attend our special Miracle Sunday culmination of the special fund drive, where we will consecrate our giving and celebrate meeting our obligation in full for the first time in a few years.
In my family, it is a great joy in knowing that our financial obligations are met. Likewise, there is great joy in store for our congregation as we faithfully support the United Methodist connection and use that with which God has entrusted us to make disciples and to transform the world for Jesus Chrsit! Together, we are, indeed, stronger!
Love, Pastor Becca