South Carolina’s United Methodist churches paid just over 92 percent of their apportionment giving for 2016, surpassing the 2015 rate of 91 percent.
Leaders of the S.C. Conference of the United Methodist Church cheered the increased giving rate – to 92.03 percent in 2016 from 91.13 percent a year earlier.
“It is truly a blessing that – for the fifth consecutive year – we have had an increase in our apportionment giving,” said Bishop L. Jonathan Holston. “But, more importantly, it is a testimony that the people of the South Carolina Conference have come together to affirm the mission and ministries of our church.
“Thank you for your faithfulness to a more excellent way!”
Apportionment giving is one of the many ways United Methodists show their connection with each other and their communities.
It supports United Methodist efforts ranging from campus ministries, camps and retreats, and retirement homes; to support for new church starts, expansion of established churches and making sure pastors are paid what they should.
It ensures that Early Response Teams are properly equipped and trained to assist when disaster strikes, and that more than a dozen Advance Special Ministries have enough resources to reach out to and serve the most vulnerable in our communities.
And it extends the conference’s ministry beyond the bounds of South Carolina through such international efforts as World Service dollars and Africa University.
“This measure of apportionment giving reflects the strength of the United Methodist Connection,” said the Rev. Kathy James, the conference’s director of Connectional Ministries. “It shows how we can do so much more together than we could on our own.
“This is a clear indication that South Carolina United Methodists recognize our opportunity to make a difference in the world.”
Conference Treasurer Beth Westbury reported that 795 churches paid 100 percent of their apportionment giving, compared to 792 in 2015.
“We celebrate our churches that continue to reach deeply and faithfully to share their blessings,” Westbury said. “We are grateful for the way the churches continue to stretch themselves.
“The increased giving stretches our ability, as the body of Christ, to do mission and ministry.”
All told, the state’s United Methodist churches paid more than $16.1 million in apportionment giving in 2016 – up from just under $15.9 million in 2015.
Eight of the conference’s 12 districts posted increased apportionment giving over 2015, while giving in seven districts exceeded the conference’s average of 92 percent.
“We know what we as an annual conference desire to do and what we are accountable for in preparing new places for new people, and a big part is preparing new leaders in local congregations,” said the Rev. Sara White, the conference’s director of Congregational Development.
“This level of giving means that we can set aside funds for coaching of local congregations who desire to do more without losing a potential new start. We can provide support for congregations who are wanting to do more or to create a new way forward.
“This level of giving is really faith in action and calls forth new energy, focus and potential.”