When I began work as an auditor way back in 1979, one of my first clients was Titanium Metals Corporation of America in Henderson, Nevada. TMCA had a fascinating production process. They would take big piles of raw materials that looked like sand, mix them together, and heat them under extreme temperatures to produce titanium ingots. They would then put these ingots through an extrusion process that exerted great force, and out the other side would come wonderfully helpful products. Rods for space flight. Artificial knees to help people walk. Medical instruments to help doctors save lives. It was only by going through tremendous forces that these amazing products could be created to help the world.
I have to admit that I am tremendously stressed by the unbelievable force that COVID-19 is exerting on seemingly all aspects of our lives these days. I don’t know how long this process will last. I don’t know what we will look like when we come out on the other side. But I do know that we go through this with God and with each other. And I am hopeful that, like the titanium ingots, we will be shaped into amazing products that will help the world.
I wish that part of going through this process with each other would mean that the conference could tell all churches not to bother contributing apportionments for the next month or two. But we can’t say that. I feel like I have failed all of you by not helping to establish sufficient cash reserves to allow for an apportionment holiday. I am sorry. We do have cash reserves to help us weather a downturn, but not for a total holiday and not for an extended time period.
So we truly are in this together. The conference is simply the aggregation of all our churches working in concert. Unfortunately, we cannot simply print more money to grant to churches. We will all need to do the best we can do and go from there. Continue to give what you can and we will do what we can to help you through this process. And though we cannot give out direct financial support, we can provide you with educational resources to help giving continue at your churches during these times.
We can provide information on Small Business Administration loans under the Payroll Protection Program that can eventually be forgiven and turn into grants. We can get you details on filing a business interruption insurance claim under your Church Mutual policy. We can pay for individuals to help you set up electronic giving at your church should that be needed. We can accept electronic contributions for your church and send those funds on to you should that be needed right away. And we soon hope to be able to offer a conference program of financial assistance to help your respond to the effects of COVID-19 on your church. We will do all we can to support you and get through this to see how we have been amazingly re-shaped when we get to the other side.
As we work through this process together, we will be paying close attention to apportionment receipts and we will adjust spending long before it is necessary to be in line with actual receipts. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the March apportionment numbers. Our year-to-date apportionment contributions are likely not as low as they may get if the COVID-19 impact lasts for many months. Those 03/31/2020 apportionment receipts are shown in the following graph:
As you can see, for the first 3 months of 2020, our churches contributed 17.3% of their apportionments. This was 1.8% below last year and 2.4% below our average apportionment contributions through March for the last ten years. At this rate, we project an overall year-end apportionment contribution percentage of about 72%-76%. Again, we expect this projected year-end apportionment figure will likely go lower as the COVID-19 impact continues.
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 2020. Thanks again for your commitment; it truly provides the financial stability for our connectional programs to work.
I look forward anxiously, but hopefully, to working through these times with you. See you on the other side!
Click here or visit dscumc.org/apportionments to find the detailed report for this month and previous months.