Through March, Oklahomans had donated $395,056 to UMCOR (United Methodist Committee on Relief) for Haiti earthquake relief. Other gifts of $13,005 went to One Great Hour of Sharing, the annual special offering to meet UMCOR administrative costs.
—Conference Treasurer’s Office
News of an Oklahoma increase in Apportionment giving for the first quarter of 2010 brought a smile by Conference Treasurer Brian Bakeman.
"This is the first time since 2008 that we have approached our average giving levels," he reported in the April edition of Treasury Notes.
That’s a good sign for the Oklahoma Annual Conference, within the current national climate of economic scarcity. The United Methodist News Service reported on March 30 that the Apportionment total collected in 2009, from all U.S. churches, was $24 million short of the $150.3 million budget set at the 2008 General Conference.
Apportionments are the fuel that makes it possible for the Church to make a difference in the world, the news agency noted. In the average congregation:
12.4 cents of every dollar given supports annual conference ministries;
3.3 cents supports ministries beyond the conference; and
84.3 cents supports that congregation’s ministries.
In the Oklahoma Conference, Rev. Bakeman said, "giving to Apportionments through March increased to $2,903,644, or 18.16 percent of our annual total." The five-year average for the first quarter is 18.46 percent.
He also listed the top five reasons people give to their congregations, according to an article by Cynthia Woolever in the newsletter of the Lewis Center for Church Leadership. She wrote that people give:
Out of a sense of gratitude for God’s love and goodness;
To support God’s work in the world;
Out of a sense of duty;
Because the Bible instructs us to support our congregation; and
Out of a sense of obligation.
"How are you teaching your congregation to give?" Bakeman inquired. "Giving is something that must be taught. We can never assume that everyone knows how to give."