General and Jurisdictional Apportionments: Western Jurisdictional Fund

September 21, 2020
Editor's note: This is another 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 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, can 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.

The Western Jurisdiction includes approximately 1.87 million square miles across Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, Arizona, Nevada and California, Guam, and other areas of the Pacific region. In this huge swath of geography, there are seven Annual Conferences, comprised of just under 300,000 members and approximately 1800 UMC churches.  The Mountain Sky Annual Conference is one of the seven conferences in the Jurisdiction, along with Alaska, California-Pacific, California-Nevada, Desert Southwest, Oregon-Idaho, and the Pacific Northwest Annual Conferences.

Overseeing this vast Jurisdiction are five bishops. Following on the UMC mission to make disciples for Jesus Christ, the Western Jurisdiction sets the values and vision for the multi-state region.  That vision statement says, “A home for all God’s people, gathered around a table of reconciliation and transformation: the Western Jurisdiction of The United Methodist Church is multicultural and inclusive, engaged in the life of its communities, with confident, effective lay and clergy leadership who, in diverse ministry settings, form disciples who live out the Good News of Jesus as global citizens.” In support of this vision, the monies for the Western Jurisdiction supports ethnic ministries such as the Hispanic and Korean ministries, finances delegate travel to the Western Jurisdictional Conference, and provides program and leadership training events to support the annual conferences. A final responsibility is to select members for the general boards and agencies.

For 2021, it is estimated that about 3.3 percent of the Mountain Sky Conference budget for connectional support beyond our conference will go to support the Western Jurisdiction.

Table 1 below shows the percentages of the General and Jurisdictional Apportionments allocated to each of the Connectional Support funds. The Western Fund is but 3.3 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.

More information about the seven General/Connectional Support Funds is available on the GCFA website. Several articles on this topic can be found on the Mountain Sky website. 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 Conference website.
Graphic for Table 1: MSC General and Jurisdictional Funds
Table 1: Mountain Sky General and Jurisdictional Funds

This article was written by Sharon Langfeldt, a clergy member of the Conference Council on Finance and Administration. Sharon is the Senior Pastor of Christ Church United Methodist – Denver.