When it comes to church finances, the buck stops — and starts — with each individual giver.
That’s why Sandra Kelly Lackore, the United Methodist Church’s chief financial officer, reminded delegates to the denomination’s top legislative gathering that their budget decisions are “not just about dollars” but about gifts to God.
In her April 29 report, Lackore told delegates to use the $585 million proposed quadrennial budget by the church’s General Council on Finance and Administration as a starting point for their decision-making. She advised them to look to the future and preserve what is worthwhile, eliminate what isn’t and be “innovative” in the process.
The final budget, she said, must reflect what the delegates believe are the missional and financial priorities of the church. “Do not think of it as a budget of dollars, think of it as a sacred trust.”
Action items during the April 29 morning session included 24 nominations for four openings on Judicial Council and 17 nominations for four posts on the University Senate.
The nine-member Judicial Council is considered the supreme court of the United Methodist Church. Two clergy and two lay members are elected for eight-year terms. Voting is scheduled for May 3, after brief biographical sketches of the 24 nominees are printed in the Daily Christian Advocate.
The University Senate is a body of professionals in higher education that determines which academic institutions meet the criteria to be affiliated with the United Methodist Church. Four senate members will be elected by General Conference on May 3; the remaining 21 members are selected by other groups.
One church member, Eunice Jones Mathews, was singled out during a 90th birthday tribute. The wife of Bishop James K. Mathews, she is the daughter of E. Stanley Jones and Mabel Lossing Jones, Methodism’s premier missionary couple of the 20th century, and a longtime activist for mission herself.
The day also included a hands-on demonstration of putting mission into action as bishops and delegates transferred 50-pound bags of potatoes from a tractor-trailer in the convention center loading zone to a Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank truck. The “potato drop” was sponsored by the Society of St. Andrew, an ecumenical nonprofit organization, and United Methodist Men.
The salvaged potatoes were shipped from a company in Maine and are expected to help feed 120,000 Pittsburgh-area residents served by the food bank. General Conference participants were asked to fast for one meal and donate money to help cover the shipping cost.
*Bloom is a United Methodist News Service news writer.
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