Apportionment percentage holds steady
The percentage of Apportionment money provided in 2015 by Oklahoma’s churches very nearly matched that of 2014.
For 2015, Apportionment support was 92.59 percent for the shared ministries within and beyond this annual conference. The 2014 percentage was 92.66.
Treasurer Brian Bakeman expressed gratitude and surprise. "Our economy in Oklahoma is challenged. The final results were much better than I expected," he said.
"I feel good that the percentages stayed up there."
He made clear, however, the "insignificant" percentage drop doesn’t translate as equal in actual dollars.
Fewer Apportionment dollars were sought in 2015, totaling $15,374,713, compared to $16,663,047 for 2014.
Tom Junk of Tulsa said he appreciates the reduced budgeting for connectional ministries. "The people can see that it’s not a runaway train," said Junk, who chairs the Council on Finance & Administration.
Bakeman wrote in his February Treasury Notes, "I need to say thank you to all the churches that paid 100 percent in 2015. Thank you also to those churches that tried their best to reach that goal."
Oklahoma ranks near the top in Apportionment support among the annual conferences of the South Central Jurisdiction, he said. "Several conferences in our jurisdiction are barely making 80 percent."
In 2015, Apportionment giving by Green Country District’s churches averaged 97.16 percent, highest among all eight districts.
A church is assigned a portion of the costs for each shared ministry, or line item in the Apportionment budget, according to the Conference’s decimal plan, calculated on that church’s expenditures.
Apportionment support for Project Transformation topped 130 percent last year, Bakeman reported. Cookson Hills Center and Skyline Urban Ministry received 99 percent; Circle of Care, 96 percent.
Oklahoma churches gave to the denomination’s six apportioned funds at percentages between the high 80s and low 90s.
Bakeman saw a "significant" drop in contributions from the 30 churches assigned the greatest amounts in 2015. Their support fills about half of all the budgeted connectional ministry needs.
However, "the other 400-plus churches did better last year than in 2014," Bakeman said. They "stepped up. I celebrate that the medium and smaller churches did well."
The 2016 Apportionment budget is even lower, $14,882,701, as the Conference shifts more of the active-clergy health care costs out of that budget and over to direct-billing of churches with full-time active clergy. This move, prompted by the federal Affordable Care Act, is being implemented over four years. — Holly McCray