I am an accountant. I am fiscally conservative. I have a tendency to view the financial glass as half empty rather than half full. So when I first look at our June 2020 apportionment receipts, I see much the same thing I see around the country and the world. I see continued fluctuations. Just like the COVID-19 cases, just like the stock market, there are periods of improvement and periods of decline. And there likely will continue to be until an effective COVID-19 vaccine is developed and widely available.
The June apportionments just happen to be one of those periods where we fluctuate down a bit. Being the typical accountant that I am, I expect to be a little depressed. But for some reason, I am not. In fact, dare I say it, I find myself even feeling somewhat optimistic. Wait a minute – what’s wrong? Or maybe I should ask, what’s right? It turns out that there are a number of things right. There are a number of reasons I am feeling upbeat despite the fact that we remain in a time of societal and financial uncertainty:
- Our cash position continues to be very strong and is expected to remain so through the end of 2020 and beyond.
- Our spending is well below budget in many administrative and other areas.
- We received a PPP loan of nearly $465,000 this year. Thanks to recent legislative changes, we expect the full amount of this loan to be forgiven.
- We were able to recover over $200,000 of legal fees this year through the sale of the former Camp Verde UMC parsonage.
- We just concluded our 2019 audit, which was done 100% remotely due to COVID-19. We received a clean opinion. This means our auditors are satisfied with our financial condition, including our liquidity (our ability to meet all financial needs) for at least the next year.
- Our Covenant Council just approved an amended 2021 apportioned budget that includes increases for important new work in the ministry areas of the Conference Commission on Religion and Race and the Ethnic Local Church Concerns Committee. Yet we were still able to reduce our overall conference budget by 3.8% from 2020, thus reducing 2021 apportionments for most churches.
So, strange as it may seem, I am feeling hopeful right now. It may or may not last, but I ask you to keep the above factors in mind as you too consider the June 2020 apportionment results.
For the first six months of 2020, our churches contributed 34.3% of their apportionments. This was 3.8% (and $283,000) below last year and 6.2% below our average apportionment contributions through June for the last 10 years. Based on these results, we currently project that we will receive about 72% of our 2020 apportionments by the end of the year. Apportionment receipts through June 2020 are shown graphically as follows:
Remember that apportionments are a way to look beyond just ourselves. They support great connectional ministries like urban ministries, campus ministries, camps, new church starts, missionaries, and many, many more. Please continue to 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 six months of 2020. Thanks again for your commitment; it truly provides the financial stability for our connectional programs to work.