Congregations give $11 million to work of the United Methodist Church throughout the world.
In a year when many churches and individuals generously reached out financially to the victims of hurricanes, earthquakes and other dramatic situations, The United Methodist churches in North Alabama not only gave almost $1 million to disaster relief efforts, they also grew stronger in their giving to other United Methodist ministries and missions.
Bishop William H. Willimon shared a report dated January 26, 2006, from Conference Treasurer Scott Selman that stated collections for the 2005 Conference shared missional giving (also called "apportionments") is over $10.1 million. The report also noted that North Alabama United Methodists had given an additional $1.3 million to other specific mission and disaster relief efforts during 2005.
We have now collected $653,000 more in apportionment dollars for 2005 than in 2004. This is with a 2005 budget that increased 6.8% over the 2004 budget, Willimon explained.
In the United Methodist Church, apportionments are a method of giving that proportionally allocates the General (international) Church and Annual (regional) Conference budget to local churches. Through a formula that takes into account a local church's membership and financial health, each local church is asked to give a portion of its funds to support the United Methodist Church's ministry throughout the world. These funds include the missional, benevolent, and administrative work of the larger United Methodist Church.
The apportionment structure, a signature trait of the United Methodist Church, allows all congregations to connect together in order to accomplish what no single church, district or annual conference ever could hope to do alone.
Individuals and local congregations also give additional dollars to specific United Methodist missions, such as United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR). This is known as second-mile giving because it is beyond what is apportioned to that congregation. The Jan. 26 Treasurer's Report also noted that second-mile giving to general church missions increased by more than $900,000 in 2005. This figure does not include North Alabama congregations' second-mile giving to local United Methodist mission agencies.
Selman noted that some congregations are still closing their 2005 books and more money may be remitted that will be credited to the year 2005.
I hope that our pastors will share this good news with our churches, Bishop Willimon said. North Alabama United Methodists are a generous people. Nearly eleven million dollars for Christ's work in the world! This is our highest level of missional, benevolent, and administrative support in 13 years. Truly, good things are happening in North Alabama.