General and Jurisdictional Apportionments: Episcopal Fund

July 28, 2020
Story by Pat Otstot
Lay member of the Conference Council on Finance & Administration
Mountain Sky Conference of the United Methodist Church

This is the first article in a series of articles for the Mountain Sky Conference to learn about the various funds that make up the General and Jurisdictional Apportionments. All of the funds are shown in Table 1 along with the requested support.  

There are seven General Church funds, including the Episcopal Fund. The eighth fund included in the General and Jurisdictional Apportionments is the Western Jurisdiction. 

Each church in the Mountain Sky Conference may choose to designate where their portion of the General and Jurisdictional Apportionments are paid. You, the local church, if you desire, are able to choose the funds you value. This flexibility was a key element of our new program to allow churches more discretion on how their funds are used in ministry. For example, if your church pays $1,000 to a particular fund, that is where your money will go. In the case of General and Jurisdictional Apportionments, your church may choose to designate specific funds or to pay towards the Apportionment Fund Pool, which is then distributed by the Conference Council on Finance and Administration.

This article introduces the Episcopal Fund, which is as simple as the name indicates: It funds Bishops, staff, travel, and nearly everything that pertains to the Episcopacy. This fund was established in 1939 when the Methodist Church was formed, as one of three initial apportionments of the General Church. 

The salaries of those supported by the fund are set by the General Conference. The fund helps to pay for Episcopal residences, staffing, and supplies, plus the Bishops’ salaries. The fund is also responsible for travel and funding of retirement for the Bishops. The General Council on Finance and Administration (GCFA) prepares the Episcopal Fund budget and monitors the activity.  

The average cost of a jurisdictional bishop (like Bishop Karen) is about $342,750 per year or $1,415,000 for the period 2021 to 2024 (a quadrennium in Methodist-speak), including all expenses. 

When you support the Episcopal Fund, you (the local church) are supporting our Bishop. 

Table 1 below shows the percentages of the General and Jurisdictional Apportionments support that goes to each fund. The Episcopal Fund is 19.2% of our General and Jurisdictional Apportionments support.  The local church assessment for 2020 was based on the proportional share of the cost of Staff – Clergy and Lay, Operations, and Programs.  Capital Expenses, Debt Retirement, and those funds sent in for Mission Shares, Special Sundays or other Church contributions locally and to the conference are excluded from the calculation.  

Responsible Stewardship will host a webinar on all of General and Jurisdictional Apportionments on Tuesday, August 11, beginning at 11 a.m. During this hour-long session, we will evaluate performance in these eight funds by total payments meeting the total assessed amount:  the mix on the funds as paid will not be a factor in our recognition process. Webinar registration details will be posted on the Conference website and in next week’s newsletter.

Additional information on this fund is available here and information on all the General Funds is available here.  Several articles exist on this topic at the Mountain Sky website with an article from Early July here.

Table 1:  Mountain Sky General and Jurisdictional Funds

This article was written by Pat Otstot, a lay member of the Conference Council on Finance & Administration.  Pat is the Lay Leader of Billings First United Methodist Church in Billings, Montana.