Dear Members and Friends of the Desert Southwest Conference,
Grace and peace to you in these days when we joyfully celebrate that we are people of a resurrection faith!
Recently, your Conference Council on Finance and Administration met in one of its regular quarterly meetings. Among other topics, we discussed General Conference 2019 and its aftermath. Of interest to us was whether the Desert Southwest Conference would continue to encourage our churches to pay their apportionments and whether we as a Conference would continue our long-standing practice of paying 100% of our General Church apportionments. There has been discussion of whether we would accommodate or facilitate the withholding or redirection of a portion or all of a church’s apportionments as a means of protesting the actions of the General Conference.
We understand the depth of pain that has been and continues to be experienced by many because of the restrictive, punitive, harmful actions of General Conference. We acknowledge that faithful persons on both sides of the debate about the inclusion of LGBTQIA persons in the life and ministry of The United Methodist Church are hurting because of the deep divide that threatens the unity of our church. Because of this deep pain and disappointment, some would like to resist the injustice of the Traditional Plan by withholding apportionments.
The matter of apportionment giving is very complex. It is not as simple as withholding a percentage of the apportionments from the General Church because some extraordinary ministries depend on your apportionment dollars. For every apportionment dollar contributed by one of our churches, 82 cents stay in this conference supporting our efforts to promote growth and vitality in our congregations and ministry settings. We respectfully ask the churches of the Desert Southwest Conference to continue to fully support the wide breadth of extraordinary ministries of our churches and our conference.
- This year, part of your 82 cents per dollar goes to financially support 13 new faith communities.
- You support our campus ministries at four universities in the Desert Southwest Conference.
- Because of your generosity, lives are touched with love, grace, and acceptance at our social service agencies.
- You help feed the hungry, provide shelter and haven for many who live on the margins of society.
- Your apportionment dollars come back to the DSC to assist churches who receive salary supplements through the equitable compensation grants. Today, 23 congregations are receiving this support.
These are just a few of the examples of the way your apportionment dollars give life to ministry in the Desert Southwest Conference. On the global scene, out of every dollar, 18 cents go to fund other ministries in the wider United Methodist connection.
- Throughout the world, the love of Jesus Christ is made known through United Methodist hospitals, orphanages and schools supported by your apportionment dollars.
- Through UMCOR which springs to action to assist when there is a disaster across the globe, your love and caring love are made known.
- The Ministerial Education Fund which assists in the recruiting and educating of ordained and diaconal ministers primarily through our United Methodist seminaries is supported.
- The Episcopal Fund supports our bishop and his office as well as all active and retired bishops in our denomination.
Because of the many ways apportionments support the ministries of the Desert Southwest Conference as well as the mission of the global church, your CFA urges all of us to continue to support the apportionments.
Your CFA understands that the much-anticipated ruling by Judicial Council may result in some consequences both expected and unexpected. To this end, the CFA is carefully watching developments, keeping abreast of the possible changes that may be necessitated by the ruling. We will be meeting in May to assess where we are in our stewardship and vitality. And we will continue to keep you apprised of any decisions that will impact local churches and ministries in this very challenging time for United Methodism. But for this moment, we ask you to keep faithfully supporting the many ministries that are made possible by your continued support of global and local ministry.
If you have any questions related to the information we are sharing, please contact our Conference Treasurer’s office. Randy Bowman stands ready to assist with information or suggestions (602.266.6956 ext. 212, or at email@example.com).
As we walk into the future, let us remember always that God is with us. We lean on our Creator God even in times of uncertainty because “we know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to God’s purpose.” (Romans 8:28) We hold you in prayer with the hope that we will all live into this high calling we have because of the God who gives us life; who offers us hope in Jesus Christ, and who through the Holy Spirit, walks alongside of us and never lets us go.
In the peace of Christ,
Bishop Robert T. Hoshibata
Resident Bishop, Phoenix Area
Rev. Matthew Ashley
Chairperson, Conference Council on Finance and Administration