The 2021 rate of 91.67 percent was up from 87.16 percent in 2020, said Beth Westbury, conference treasurer and director of administrative services for the South Carolina Conference of The United Methodist Church.
Apportioned funding – one of the main pillars of the United Methodist Connection – is a way of giving that proportionally allocates the churchwide budget for payment by local churches and annual conferences. A local church’s assigned portion of giving supports conference, national and international ministries.
“This level of giving is a reflection of the generosity and faithful commitment of South Carolina United Methodists,” said Bishop L. Jonathan Holston, resident bishop of the South Carolina Conference. “It is heartening to see how steadfast we remain in keeping our focus on ministry and mission.
“As we take our next faithful steps together, this investment in the day-to-day work of making disciples of Jesus Christ confirms God’s plans to prosper and not harm us, to give us hope and a future.”
Westbury reported that 781 of the conference’s 961 local churches – more than 81 percent – paid 100 percent of their apportionments last year. That was up from 75 percent in 2020. Eighty-four percent of churches paid at least 75 percent of their apportionments (up from 79 percent), and 89 percent paid at least 50 percent (up from 84 percent).
“I want the churches to recognize that they have not just recovered from the effects of the pandemic – they have grown stronger,” Westbury said. “Giving exceeded not just pandemic levels, but pre-pandemic levels dating back to 2018 (90.9 percent). We are on the path to greater success than we can imagine.
“I am grateful for the churches and their response in faith, love and generosity. I am grateful for our bishop and our district superintendents who have led our conference through these difficult years. I am grateful for the lay leadership and the way they have encouraged and instructed our churches.
“Together, this is an amazing team doing much more than we can do as separate units.”
Other highlights from 2021 apportionment giving included:
• The Orangeburg District had the highest giving rate (98.03 percent), followed by the Walterboro District (96.98 percent), and the Columbia District (96.89 percent).
• Eleven of 12 districts increased the percentage of their apportionment giving – a stark contrast to 2020, when only one district was able to accomplish that amid the ongoing pandemic.
• The percentage of churches participating in apportionment giving in some amount rose to 97.2 percent, up from 95.9 percent in 2020. The Charleston, Greenwood, Orangeburg, Rock Hill and Spartanburg districts were recognized for having 100 percent of their churches participate at some level.