Not unexpectedly, the COVID-19 pandemic negatively impacted our churches and our apportionment receipts from them in April 2020. For the first 4 months of 2020, our churches contributed 21.4% of their apportionments. This was 4.3% below last year and 5.5% below our average apportionment contributions through April for the last 10 years.
If we project for the rest of 2020 based on April alone, we will end the year receiving about 56% of our 2020 apportionments. This would likely be our worst-case scenario. If we project based on the first 4 months of 2020, we will end the year receiving about 67% of our 2020 apportionments. This may be our best-case scenario. The mid-point of those two scenarios is about 61%, so that may be our most-likely projection for 2020 as of now.
Apportionment receipts through April 2020 are shown graphically as follows:
Rest assured that the Conference is doing all it can to support our churches and our ministries during these challenging times. Specific actions we have taken or will take include:
- We will utilize cash reserves and designated funds as much as possible so that we do not have to make hasty decisions on possible ministry reductions.
- We are working on getting a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan funded from the Small Business Administration (SBA) to help support our financial operations over the next few months.
- We are providing informational support to our churches that ask about their own PPP loan applications with the SBA.
- We are proposing a 2021 conference budget that is 5.2% below the 2020 budget. It is our hope that this will help reduce the financial stresses on our churches while not unduly restricting our conference ministries.
- To help short-term financial needs, we are offering our churches interest-free conference loans of up to $10,000 that can convert to grants.
- In the end, we will do whatever we need to do to live within our financial means in the coming months and years.
Remember that apportionments are a way to look beyond just ourselves. They support great connectional ministries like urban ministries, campus ministries, camping (if and when they can ever open back up!), new church starts, missionaries, and many, many more. 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 8 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.