NASHVILLE – The Board of Directors of the General Council on Finance and Administration (GCFA) held its quarterly meeting in Nashville, November 17-18. The fall meeting is historically the meeting when the board approves the general agency spending plans for the upcoming year.
In addition, the board approved a 3 percent increase in the salaries of jurisdictional bishops. In other action, the board approved expenditures from the World Service Contingency Fund to fund the Commission on A Way Forward.
General Secretaries of several agencies of the Church took part in a panel discussion addressing the board and answering two questions about the work of their respective agency. Each General Secretary outlined the specific ways their agency aligns programs with each other and how their programs are designed to help local churches make disciples in their areas. All of them specifically mentioned ways their agencies have ministries in jurisdictional and central conferences. Video segments of the sessions will be made available soon on the GCFA website.
GCFA Data Services gave a report on the 2015 US membership statistics of United Methodist churches. In 2015, there were 7,067,162* members in the US, which represents a slight decrease of 1.6 percent. The board celebrated that giving to general Church apportioned funds in support of connectional ministries of the Church were up about 4 percent year to date for 2016.
The Audit and Review Committee made recommendations to the board on several matters. The committee recommended and the board approved:
- The restoration of episcopal office funds to the West Angola Annual Conference as they have submitted their 2015 independent financial statement audit report.
- The restoration of episcopal funding to the Liberia Annual Conference as they have completed certain actions required by GCFA to safeguard the funds. These actions were determined to be necessary by GCFA in response to financial reporting issues and is currently being investigated by the General Board of Global Ministries (GBGM).
- On October 21, the board approved suspending the housing and office funds for the Russia Episcopal Office as of January 1, 2017, if a discrepancy is not paid. At this meeting the board approved no change in this position.
The next meeting of the board will be in Cambodia in March 2017. Bishop Larry Goodpaster, who has been appointed by the Council of Bishops to serve in Cambodia, spoke to the board about mission work in Cambodia. He shared the historical tradition of Methodist ministry in Cambodia and will serve as the episcopal leader for the board during the trip.
The General Council on Finance and Administration coordinates and administers financial resources, safeguards the legal interests and rights of the Church, and provides administrative resources to enable the fulfillment of the mission of The United Methodist Church.
* This number was incorrect in previous versions of this story.