Our apportionment contributions make a difference in our congregations, our communities, our country, and our world. They connect us with each other and with God, allowing us to do much more ministry together than we could ever do on our own. So it’s always great to hear of apportionment success stories like the one at Desert Chapel UMC in Apache Junction, Arizona.
Desert Chapel UMC had a decades-long history of running in the red – borrowing from designated funds to stay afloat during the summer and hoping for a year-end miracle. In October 2014, their leadership decided to pay apportionments weekly, 1/52 of their apportioned amount being the first check they wrote each week. Their leaders hoped to model stewardship for their entire congregation.
2015 was tough, but by the grace of God and some unexpected gifts (a bequest and some donated stock) they made it. And in the end, they had not only paid 100% of their apportionments, they had also retired their $23,000 roof debt.
In 2016, they again paid 100% of their apportionments and ended the year not only in the black, but with nearly $20,000 in the bank to help them through their summer attendance and giving dip. In prior years, they were lucky to have $10,000 in the bank – nowhere near enough to make it through the summer.
Their 2016 Christmas offering was designated for 2017 apportionments, and brought their weekly payment down from nearly $800 to about $550 this year.
Reverend Sharon Pajak reported that she just grinned as she saw the following figures in their 2/28/17 financial reports: a checking account balance of $66,000 (including $30,000 of capital funds raised to redo their parking lot), a general fund balance $13,000, and an emergency reserve balance $23,000.
Rev. Pajak is convinced that their decision 2½ years ago to be faithful givers was the catalyst that helped them on their way to much greater financial stability. She sums it up best when she says simply “God is good!”
We are grateful to Desert Chapel. And we are grateful to all of you for supporting our connectional ministries through your faithful and generous apportionment contributions.
The stories – the lives changed – are what are important. But for those who want numbers, our year-to-date apportionment contributions through March are shown in the following graph:
For the first 3 months of 2017, our churches contributed 20.3% of their apportionments. As you can see from the detailed report, this was 1.3% above last year and 0.9% above our average apportionment contributions through March for the last ten years. At this rate, we project an overall year-end apportionment contribution percentage of over 90%!
Remember that apportionments are a way to look beyond just ourselves. Please do all that you can to help our churches and our ministries continue to change lives by contributing apportionments as fully as possible in the last 9 months of 2017.
Thank you all for your commitment; it truly provides the financial stability for our connectional programs to work.
Randy Bowman, Conference Treasurer