Living the Plan - Churches fund 94% of Apportionment needs
By Holly McCray
In 2009, your church’s support of the Oklahoma Conference Apportionment—a portion of your church’s budget—made possible:
Giving to the Apportionment in 2009 totaled $2,754,935.33, according to Conference Treasurer Brian Bakeman. Also given were $94,047.61 in Special Sunday offerings and $4,740.87 to the Youth Service Fund.
"Apportioned funds enable United Methodists to do together what no church, district, or annual conference could do alone. By combining several smaller gifts into a larger amount, we can effect change across the world. Individual churches can minister to a small area; however, as a connectional church, we can do big things, all in the name of Jesus Christ," declares to a statement on the denomination's Web site, www.umc.org.
Rev. Bakeman said, "The Apportionment is a defining characteristic of who we are."
Bakeman reported total revenue of $15,479,040 for Oklahoma Conference in 2009. The year’s budget was $16,628,898. Thus the churches’ contributions provided for 94.17 percent of that amount.
Bakeman wrote in a memo, "After the snow and church closings for Christmas Eve and the last Sunday of the year, I was fearful our numbers would be down dramatically."
In 2008, the percentage was 96.67.
"The people, our pastors, and our district superintendents worked hard to make this happen, and I am so appreciative of their efforts," he said.
Tom Harrison of Tulsa, chairman of the Council on Finance & Administration, agreed. At the January CF&A meeting he said, "The payout is commendable considering it’s been a bad economic year" across the nation.
"We had a great year when you look at all the circumstances," Bishop Robert Hayes Jr. said. He also reported that 2009 Apportionment giving totaled 93 percent for the Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference.
Conference reserve and investment funds grew by year’s end, Bakeman said. "The Conference remains in a healthy position financially."
Throughout the year, the Treasurer’s Office tracked revenue and shared reports. That enabled leaders to make timely financial adjustments, Bakeman said. For example, the Annual Conference Council reduced staff and continued restructuring efforts under the Strategic Plan. Other groups drew from reserve funds.
By making such adjustments, the Oklahoma Conference ended 2009 with a net surplus of $24,013. Bakeman said he was relieved.
Support for Special Sundays
Special giving for denominational programs—amounts not considered for the Apportionment—was highest in 2009 for "One Great Hour of Sharing," which supports UMCOR (the United Methodist Committee on Relief). Donations to that Special Sunday collection totaled $54,960.21. This year March 14 is designated for that offering.
Other special giving: Human Relations Sunday, $8,437.66; Peace With Justice Sunday, $4,118.50; Native American Ministries Sunday, $5,353.70; World Communion Sunday, $13,407.54; and United Methodist Student Day, $7,700.
Bartlesville District tops in giving
The treasurer also reported other statistics to CF&A.
CF&A will meet again in late March as its work progresses on a budget proposal for 2011. It will be presented to delegates at the 2010 Annual Conference, May 30-June 2 at Tulsa-Boston Avenue UMC.