What’s in the budget?

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U.S. conferences distribute their apportionments among seven general-church funds. Each fund supports a different category of ministry: bishops, ministerial education, general administration, the Black College Fund, Africa University, ecumenical work and the World Service Fund, which supports the work of most general agencies.

Central conferences — church regions in Africa, Europe and the Philippines — also pay apportionments but only to the Episcopal and General Administration funds.

The General Council on Finance and Administration recommends the allocations for the Episcopal and General Administration funds.

The Connectional Table recommends allocations for the other five funds, comprising most of the budget. On May 18, both the GCFA and Connectional Table boards separately voted to approve these allocations.

The current budget proposal reduces:

  • The World Service, Ministerial Education, Black College and Africa University funds each by 42.4%.
  • The Interdenominational Cooperation Fund, which supports The United Methodist Church’s engagement in ecumenical groups, by 69.2% because of its high reserves
  • The Episcopal Fund by 25.2%
  • The General Administration Fund by 17.2%. 

The General Administration Fund proposal currently includes $7 million for an additional weeklong General Conference. The Judicial Council, the denomination’s top court, in a 5-4 ruling, called for an additional regular session of General Conference in the next four years to get the legislative body back on track after the COVID-19 pandemic postponed the 2020 General Conference to 2024.

The Council of Bishops supports having a General Conference in 2026. However, the General Council on Finance and Administration has asked the top court to reconsider. If another General Conference is not necessary, the $7 million could be taken out of the budget and not redistributed.

Dawn Wiggins Hare is the convener of the General Secretaries Table, which brings together the top executives of the denomination’s general agencies. She noted that most of the World Service Fund-supported agencies took a cut of 45.2% to ensure the smaller, justice-oriented agencies and programs would remain whole. 

The Commission on Religion and Race, the national ethnic plans and her own agency of the Commission on the Status and Role of Women will see no reductions in the current budget proposal. 

Nevertheless, all agencies, she said, are adapting to ensure they continue their respective missions going forward.

“People have been making adjustments so that we can continue to provide the critical ministries that identify us as United Methodist,” Hare said. 

Read Connectional Table and General Council on Finance and Administration press release.

Return to story, As church exits rise, proposed budget drops.

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