Apportionments? What Are Those?
By: Marge Woods, Foothills' Bookkeeper
Maybe you’ve heard the word “apportionments” batted around the church from time to time, but I think it was a good 15 years of Foothills attendance before I ever heard the word. And when I did hear it (with a very, very brief explanation), my first thought was that I wasn’t crazy about my “joyful giving” going to administrators governing the UMC’s around the world. I also wondered why it was necessary to be connected to other churches; after all, our own church proudly boasts support of many local ministries. Couldn’t we just be independent like some of the other successful large churches in San Diego?
At a workshop last Saturday led by the Rev. Dr. Steve Hundley, I learned much more about apportionments.
One of the founding ideas of the United Methodist Church was built upon a “connectional giving” system. This idea was based upon the desire to meet the needs of God’s family NOT just in our neighborhoods, but around the world. It was also based on our need to give in order to be spiritually healthy, complete children of God.
Steve explained that the main way we “meet the needs of God’s family” is through our apportioned funds. Together, through our connected congregations, we accomplish what no single church, district or annual conference ever could hope to do alone—no matter how big they are. In this way, each individual, each family, each congregation gives a fair share for the church's work. We combine our prayers, presence, gifts and service to make a significant difference in the lives of God's people around the world.
An example of our “apportioned or connectional giving” came across my desk the other day. I hate to admit it, but I don’t always take the time to read Cal-Pac UMC news/letters—I’ve got bookkeeping to do! But this one caught my eye. It was from the Africa University Development Office praising the generous giving from the UMC Annual Conference in 2015. Africa University is the first private, fully accredited, degree-granting United Methodist–related institution of higher learning in the continent of Africa. This connectional giving has impacted thousands of lives and made education possible for those who otherwise would be deprived of both education and a better life! We have helped to empower these people through our apportionments.
One living example of this connectional giving is Mercy Nyirongo, who earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Africa University. She is now a project manager at ZOE, a ministry that provides orphans and vulnerable children ages 15-20 (who were formerly street kids, prostitutes and school dropouts) with skills and resources to overcome poverty.
Sometimes I feel so guilty and unbelievably lucky to have been born in this country where we have so much. I LOVE the idea of “connectional giving” so I can make a difference for others who are not as fortunate. And now I can HONESTLY state that I am “joyfully” contributing to our church’s share of apportionments.