By Holly McCray
The 2013 Apportionment was set at $16,965,800, a 1.71 percent increase from 2012, by vote of the Oklahoma Annual Conference on May 30 in Tulsa.
One outcome of the recent General Conference is a decrease in the denomination’s 2013-16 budget for seven general church funds, reported Tom Harrison of Oklahoma’s Council on Finance & Administration (CF&A). That apportioned amount will be $603.1 million, which is 6.03 percent less than in the previous quadrennium. Overall, general church agencies will receive almost 10 percent less money in the next quadrennium, reported the United Methodist News Service (UMNS).
Funding for the four jurisdictional ministries also was impacted by General Conference action. The Oklahoma Conference Apportionment for those items will drop from $144,227 this year to $116,198 in 2013.
Rev. Dr. Harrison pointed out two of the largest line items in the 2013 Oklahoma Conference budget.
New in the Apportionments is $215,000 annually, limited to five years, for Saint Paul School of Theology at Oklahoma City University. CF&A views this action as a path of accountability as well as seed-money support for the fledgling UM seminary. Saint Paul at OCU secured approval to begin offering Course of Study for full-time Local Pastors this summer, and in August will hold its second commencement ceremony.
The church portion of the Health Benefits Fund for Oklahoma’s clergy will increase by $96,000 in 2013.
The Conference Treasurer’s Office reported stewardship by churches grew to $24,481,633 in 2011, from $24,133,534 in 2010. This statistic measured funds given by congregations to other organizations for benevolent and charitable ministries, including Apportionments paid and other funds supporting both UM and non-UM organizations.
The Annual Report of the Oklahoma United Methodist Foundation listed a total of $166,282,963 held with the Foundation as of Dec. 31, 2011. The Foundation received $12.7 million in total contributions, through bequests or current gifts, and distributed more than $11.2 million during the year, including more than $10 million to United Methodist entities.