For the eighth time in the past nine months, October apportionment receipts declined. For the first 10 months of 2019, our churches contributed 61.4% of their apportionments. As you can see from the detailed report, this was 5.3% (and $441,000) below last year and 4.6% below our average apportionment contributions through October for the last ten years. At this rate, we project an overall year-end apportionment contribution percentage of 79%-80%. This will be the lowest apportionment year in our conference’s history.
The West district apportionments were down 1.6% from last year, the East district declined 4.2%, the South District declined 8.2%, and the North District was down 10.7%. Our overall year-to-date apportionment contributions through 10/31/19 are shown in the following graph:
Based on the projection for 2019 apportionment receipts, the Desert Southwest Conference Council on Finance & Administration (CFA) has implemented various spending reductions in the Conference budget based on input received from the Extended Cabinet. These spending reductions are based on the anticipation of receiving 80% of our apportionments by year-end, and they appear to be working as they have stabilized our cash reserves and reduced the level of our operating deficit. CFA and the Extended Cabinet will continue to work collaboratively to monitor apportionment receipts and spending very closely over the remainder of 2019 and throughout 2020. If necessary, further spending reductions will be implemented.
The current financial decline, as far as we have been able to determine, is based on the financial challenges faced by many of our churches due to the long, gradual decline that the UMC has been experiencing for many years. It has not yet been significantly affected by the turmoil in the denomination based on the human sexuality issue. The impact of that issue on our denomination could certainly accelerate future financial challenges, but that is beyond CFA’s ability to forecast right now.
In the meantime, let’s continue to remind ourselves that apportionments are a way to look beyond our own community. They are a way to connectionally reach our brothers and sisters throughout the world. Let’s do all that we can to help our churches and our ministries continue to change lives by contributing apportionments as fully as possible in the last two months of 2019. As a reminder, the last day for receiving 2019 apportionment contributions is Friday, January 10, 2020.
Thank you for your commitment; it provides financial stability for our connectional programs to work.
Find out more at https://dscumc.org/apportionments