Editor's note: This is the fourth article in a series of articles for the Mountain Sky Conference to learn about the various funds that are make up the General and Jurisdictional Apportionments. A list of all of the funds is shown in Table 1 along with the requested support from the Mountain Sky Conference.
Submitted by the Rev. Sharon Langfeldt
Senior Pastor, Christ Church United Methodist, Denver, CO
Member, Conference Council on Finance & Administration
There are seven General Church funds, including the Fund for General Administration. The eighth fund included in the General and Jurisdictional Apportionments is the Western Jurisdiction. Each church in the Mountain Sky Conference may designate, as they desire, how their portion of their General and Jurisdictional Apportionments are allocated. The local church, as we desire, are able to choose the funds that we value, and fund them accordingly. This legislation passed at our 2019 Annual Conference gives churches more discretion on how their funds are distributed. For example, if your church puts $1,000 to a specific fund, the money from your church will fund that activity at the General Conference level. Simply put, each church designates the amount of funds they put into the General and Jurisdictional Apportionments.
This article will share more information about the General Administration (GA) Fund. While the General Administration Fund is not the coolest or snazziest of the General and Jurisdictional Apportionment funds, it is important to understand the value of the GA Fund. It is the fund that pays for the non-visible “business of the UMC Church.” When we begin to read things like “underwrites and finances general church activities” and “administrative in nature,” we might seriously consider a nap. But this General Administration Fund is about paying the bills – paying the bills for the legislative work of General Conference; paying the bills the work of the Judicial Council (which is basically the UMC equivalent of the Supreme Court).
Money given to this GA fund also enables delegates from all over the world to gather every four years and discern the future of the UMC through General Conference and it finances the gathering and maintaining of United Methodism's official documents and historical artifacts. That is, the GA Funds are used to designate historical shrines, landmarks and sites, and to support the archiving of the history of the Church. Also funded is the work of the General Council on Finance and Administration.
While that may seem to be another dull concept, this is the group that coordinates and administers the finances of the church! It receives, disburses, and accounts for the church's general funds, safeguards the denomination's legal interests and rights, compiles and publishes denominational statistics AND maintains the church's records. Finally, just as most of us try our best to maintain a “rainy day fund” for those emergency times, the General Administration Fund supports something called “contingency reserves,” which hold the funds for the unforeseen or emergency situations in the UMC. Again, not flashy, but so important in times of need.
While not as visible as Missions or Ministerial Education, the existence and work of the worldwide connection and work of The United Methodist Church would be not be possible without The General Administration Fund. The proposed budget for the General Administration Fund for the 2021-2024 quadrennium is $31,352,000, for all areas it covers, worldwide.
Table 1 below shows the percentages of the General and Jurisdictional Apportionments allocated to each of the Connectional Support funds. The General Administration Fund is but 5.9 percent of our General and Jurisdictional Apportionments support. The local church assessment for 2020 was based on 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.
These eight funds supported by our Apportionments, and the Western Jurisdiction Funds are continuously evaluated with respect to the total payments of the Mountain Sky Conference.
For additional information on the General Administrative Fund, check out the “Did You Know” flyers that can be found at this link: General Administrative Fund Did You Know?
More information about all of the General/Connectional Support Funds is available on the GCFA website
. Several articles on this topic can be found on the Mountain Sky website under "Responsible Stewardship
." A succinct article about the allocation of General and Jurisdictional Funds based on local church values, written in July 2020 can be found on the Mountain Sky Conference News page
This article was written by the Rev. Sharon Langfeldt, a clergy member of the Conference Council on Finance and Administration. Sharon is the Senior Pastor of Christ Church United Methodist in Denver.