By Kara Witherow, Editor
Despite 2020 being one of the most challenging years in recent memory, South Georgia United Methodists continued to faithfully give to mission and ministry through their apportionments.
Overall apportionment payments for 2020 stood at 84 percent, compared to 87 percent in 2019. The Northeast and Southwest Districts led in overall percentage of apportionments paid, paying 97.11 percent and 93.65 percent, respectively.
And even though actual cash collected through apportionments was down 2.67 percent from 2019, the Conference’s cash position is strong because of a $510,000 PPP loan, said Dr. Derek McAleer, Director of Administrative Services.
“We are so much better off than we thought we’d be,” Dr. McAleer said. “Even with the financial relief and assistance we provided to our congregations in 2020, we have come this far by faith and by the generosity of the people called Methodist.”
Dr. McAleer attributes the strong giving in part to the solid relationships district superintendents and congregations have developed with one another. Congregations understand where their missional giving goes and what it supports, he said.
“Relationships are critical. Money follows relationships in many ways, and I believe our apportionment collections reflect this,” Dr. McAleer said. “I’m grateful for the relationships our churches have with the superintendents, Bishop Bryan, and other conference leaders. There is a level of confidence there that shows.”
Dr. McAleer also remarked on the strong faith of the South Georgia congregations.
“2020 has been a very difficult year for our people and our churches,” he said. “Some have struggled financially, some have had so much extra work they can’t keep up, and everyone has dealt with lots of stress. In spite of this, people want to be in mission, they want to impact lives for good, and their giving reflects that strong sense of mission.”
Apportionment giving is one of the many ways United Methodists show their connection with each other and their communities, supporting local church resources and United Methodist efforts such as campus ministries, camps and retreats, new church starts, and the revitalization of established churches.
And they extend the conference’s ministry beyond the bounds of South Georgia through such efforts as the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), the General Board of Global Ministries (GBGM), and Africa University.
South Georgia churches paid $7,875,492 on a $9,326,184 budget. In addition to apportionment giving, South Georgia United Methodists gave $31,459 in gifts for approved Special Sundays and $499,199 in advance specials and other missional giving (in addition to missional giving on the local church and community level).