New England Conference continues to pay apportionments

August 12, 2019

In the weeks after the 2019 Annual Conference session, there is still some confusion about the intent and implementation of the decision not to use Conference reserve funds to pay General Church apportionments.

The New England Conference will continue to pay its apportionments.

Any amounts local churches remit under Fund 1 (or the World Service Fund) will be paid to the General Council on Finance and Administration in the month following collection.

This new policy simply means that the Conference will not use any reserve funds to make up the difference between what is received and the full amount owed.

The resolution, RS-19-214 – MAINTAINING CONFERENCE RESERVE FUNDS was approved by the Annual Conference on Friday, June 14. (Click the link to see the text of the resolution).

In addition to bolstering the Conference’s dwindling reserve funds, Conference Council on Finance and Administration (CFA) Chair Rev. Ralph W. Howe, in his remarks prior to Annual Conference, said the new policy attempt to “honor the considered decisions of local churches about whether and to what ends they will pay Fund 1 Mission Shares.”

Since Annual Conference, Rev. Howe has written a statement regarding payment of Mission Shares following the 2019 General Conference. It reads, in part:

“With respect to Fund 1, the Conference Council on Finance and Administration (CFA) voted to pay to the general church only what local churches remit. We believe that most of Fund 1 supports worthy causes consistent with the values and perspectives of the New England Conference, so we do encourage local churches to remit Fund 1 Mission Shares, understanding that some will withhold part of that as a protest,” writes Rev. Howe. 

“Please be as prayerful as possible about this. Your Mission Shares do speak, not only about human sexuality issues, but about your commitment to our New England Conference and the values we share here, as well as our common work.”

Click here to read Rev. Howe’s full statement

For the past five years, the Conference committed to paying 100 percent of its General Church apportionments (Fund 1 or the World Service Fund). In order to do that, Mission Share Fund Reserves were used to make up the difference between what was received and the full amount.

For example, in 2018, $1,299,109 was received from churches for the World Service Fund. The New England Conference obligation was $1,674,238, so $375,129 of reserves were used to make up the difference.

At its meeting in March, the CFA voted to stop using reserves in this way as of April 1, 2019, and agreed to bring the matter before the Annual Conference. The resolution was then developed by a group that included Rev. Howe and Rev. John Lucy from CFA and others. 

Fund 1 – World Missions
The World Service Fund is one of seven apportioned funds of The United Methodist Church. GCFA, in cooperation with the Connectional Table, prepares and recommends a plan of distribution of World Service receipts among the World Service agencies. The following are included in Fund 1:
  • Black College Fund
  • Africa University
  • Episcopal Fund
  • Ministerial Education Fund-Gen Church
  • Ministerial Education Fund-Conference
  • Interdenominational Cooperation Fund
  • General Administration Fund
See a detailed breakdown of the New England Conference’s payments to the World Service Fund (Fund 1) for 2018 and budgeted for 2019 prepared by GCFA.

It is important to note that GCFA has reported that New England Conference’s apportionments for World Missions will decrease by about $75,000 in 2020.