General Church Funds, Shared Services and Clergy Pensions Discussed in 2014 Q1 GCFA Meeting

March 31, 2014

Central Texas Conference One of Twenty Conferences (one of two in SCJ) to Pay 100% General Church Apportioned Funds in 2013

At its first quarter of the year board of directors meeting, the General Council on Finance and Administration (GCFA) reported that 20 annual conferences paid 100% of their general Church apportioned funds for 2013. The Central Texas Conference was one of two South Central Jurisdiction conferences to meet this mark, and the lone CMG star from Texas.

In 2013, the CTC’s overall payout to Connection Mission Giving (CMG = apportionments) went up 4.08 percent from the previous year and represents an increase of $188,712. Totals which Bishop Lowry termed “Outstanding!” in a recent blog post.  
 
“Numbers never tell the whole story,” Bishop Lowry stated. “At the same time, numbers (or metrics) do offer critical insight that must not be ignored. In reality, the year-end payout is a witness to our missional generosity, our wider connection in serving the Lord Jesus Christ. Great is our faithfulness in Connectional Mission Giving! Well done thou good and faithful servants of the Lord!”
 
Over all, the 2013 totals represented an 89.73 percent apportionment payout, which was only slightly behind the 2012 payout of 90 percent, which was the highest in several years. The 20 annual conferences that met the 100 percent mark are (in alphabetical order): Alaska, Baltimore-Washington, Central Texas, Desert Southwest, East Ohio, Greater New Jersey, Holston, Illinois Great Rivers, Iowa, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma Indian Missionary, Peninsula Delaware, Red Bird Missionary, Tennessee, West Michigan, West Ohio, West Virginia, and Western Pennsylvania.
 
General Secretary Moses Kumar said “The commitment shown by each of the annual conferences to The United Methodist Church ministries is reassuring. The connection of United Methodists is strong.”

New Shared Services Department
 
Bari Watson, Chief Officer of Episcopal Services and Operations for GCFA, presented the board with a plan for the new Shared Services Department. The department will work internally with the staff and board and externally with annual conferences and general agencies of the Church to develop and support shared initiatives. Watson said, “We are excited about this new phase of working together in the United Methodist connection. Our Shared Services team members – and all the staff of GCFA – are ready to work to achieve our goals of providing an excellent customer experience for all who interact with GCFA. This supports and expands our foundational ministry of administration to the Church.”

Watson also shared the development of an integrated marketing and communications plan that will expand the agency’s connection with the UMC through the use of all forms of communication including social media. She also announced that GCFA will integrate its website into the newly revised umc.org. The new site will launch later this spring.

Clergy Pension Support
 
The board received a thank you from General Secretary Barbara Boigegrain of the General Board of Pension and Health Benefits (GBOPHB) for GCFA’s support of the Central Conference Pension Initiative (CCPI) to fund pensions for clergy throughout the global United Methodist connection.

With the Central Conference Pension Initiative reaching its $25 million fundraising goal, she reported that clergy around the world, including every eligible central conference pastor, now have reliable pension support through their conference and/or government program. Boigegrain commented that it was the work of several entities of the Church that steered this program to its fruition. Boigegrain and Tim Koch, Chief Financial Officer of GBOPHB, presented GCFA with a plaque commemorating its work in the support and implementation of the initiative.