I’ve been looking back at some statistics for 2014. Statistics never tell the whole story, but they are helpful in a number of ways. For one thing, they can alert us to trends that are happening over time which we might not notice as we live in the midst of those trends.
A trend for which I am grateful is our congregation’s record of giving. We have increased our giving each year since 2010. One trend related to our giving can be found in our congregation’s record of annual “Apportionments” paid. Some of you may not be aware of “Apportionments.” In the United Methodist Church, we are “Connectional,” meaning that we all share the worldwide ministry of our Church. This past year our congregation’s fair share was over $34,000. You might think of that money as our tithe to ministry beyond our local community and congregation. It is part of what we do for the worldwide ministry of Jesus Christ. And I am so very proud that we are part of this amazing work.
Through our Annual Apportionments we support the work of our local District (Northwest District), our Annual Conference (North Georgia Annual Conference), our Jurisdiction (Southeast Jurisdiction) and the General Conference . Just a couple of weeks ago our youth traveled to Lake Junaluska, North Carolina, near Ashville for a weekend youth rally at our Jurisdictional Conference Center. They met with youth from around the Southeastern United States for an awesome weekend to deepen their faith in Jesus Christ. Our Apportionment payments makes a place like Lake Junaluska possible. Our apportionments also make possible the work of our General Boards and Agencies including: the General Board of Global Ministry, The General Board of Discipleship, The Board of Pensions, The General Board of Global Missions, the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) and the General Board on Higher Education. We support colleges and Seminaries including the United Methodist Colleges in Georgia. In Georgia there are Paine College, LaGrange College, Emory at Oxford, Emory University, the Candler School of Theology at Emory, the International Theological Seminary in Atlanta, Reinhardt College, and Young Harris College. In addition, we fund ministries called Wesleyan Centers at almost every college and university in the state of Georgia reaching thousands of college students each year. As far as I can tell, our congregation has never failed to pay 100% of our Fair Share (Apportionments). Thank you for your faithfulness!