Apportionment giving by South Carolina United Methodists surpassed 87 percent in 2020 – “an amazing performance” in light of a year disrupted by a pandemic that severely restricted the ability of local churches to gather for worship.
The 2020 rate of 87.16 percent was down from 90.02 percent in 2019, said Beth Westbury, conference treasurer and director of administrative services for the South Carolina Conference.
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.
Bishop L. Jonathan Holston said he was not surprised by the generosity reflected in the “astounding” apportionment numbers.
“During a year that seemed destined to be remembered across our nation only for insecurity, injustice and infighting, you chose – through your apportionment giving – to invest in mission and ministry, remaining focused instead on seeking a more excellent way,” Bishop Holston said. “I am inspired and energized, but not surprised in the least, by your generosity and the innovative ways the South Carolina Conference – from our local churches, through our districts and across the conference – adapted and found ways to continue the day-to-day work of kingdom building.”
Westbury reported that 724 of the conference’s 964 local churches – more than 75 percent – paid 100 percent of their apportionments last year. Seventy-nine percent of churches paid at least 75 percent of their apportionments, and more than 84 percent paid at least 50 percent.
“That is an amazing performance in the face of a pandemic,” Westbury said. “I am humbled by the generosity of our churches. They have persevered and overcome the obstacles placed before them with trust in our Lord to lead them. My heart swells with pride.
“We have learned of the renewed importance of providing multiple ways for members to give to their local churches, and we encourage continued innovation by all churches on this front.”
Other highlights from 2020 apportionment giving included:
• The Orangeburg District was the only district to increase the percentage of its apportionment giving – hitting 95.87 percent, compared to 93.83 percent in 2019.