First Quarter Giving
The title of this blog is a paraphrase of the familiar song we sing, but the idea is the same. I was reminded of that song title as I looked through our giving trends for the first quarter of 2017.
This is the first year for the Central Conferences to contribute to apportionments in a formal way. Work of the leadership in the Central Conferences, the Economic Advisory Committee, the Standing Committee on Central Conference Matters and others helped us get to this point. Their work developed a formula that is being used this quadrennium to fully engage Central Conferences in general Church apportioned giving. Developing this formula honors the tradition of many conferences outside the US that informally participated prior to this year.
We have started the year with great participation. Through March, the collections are 13.1% of the full year’s apportionment. This rate is comparable to that in the U.S. and is a great beginning to this new process. Globally, Special Sunday collections are 6.8% higher than last year thanks to the generous giving of our members on World Communion Sunday.
Apportionment collections through March are $1.1 million, or 6.4%, higher than the same period last year. We recognize that for many members, local churches, and annual conferences connectional giving is a priority even if locally finances are tight.
It is apparent that many recognize the value of “getting together” to support global ministries to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world in all the ways that we do this in The United Methodist Church. The evidence proves that the people of The United Methodist Church are committed to giving to supporting global ministries.
Each of the seven funds shows increased collections compared to last year. The overall collection rate through March is 12.4% compared to 11.9% a year ago. The highest collection rate is Africa University at 15.1% with its collection up 10%! With over 6,000 alumni, this funding will provide an education for many more people in Africa. It also demonstrates the importance of this mission to all United Methodists.
Other funds that show increases above 10% are the Black College Fund and the General Administration Fund.
All of these trends demonstrate the generosity and commitment to God’s mission by those in The United Methodist Church. When we all come TOGETHER for the benefit of the global ministries of the denomination, great things happen for those whom we serve. Thank you for your faithful witness of fruitful giving.
Chief Financial Officer
The General Council on Finance and Administration of The United Methodist Church