GCFA board begins budget discussions

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Nashville, TN The board of directors of the General Council on Finance and Administration (GCFA) held its third scheduled meeting of 2014 in Nashville, Tennessee on August 21-22.

The opening session of the board gathering was held in conjunction with the members of the Finance Committee of the Connectional Table. The two groups recommended an initial budget of $611,000,000 to fund ministries of The United Methodist Church through general Church apportionments. This is a 2.5% increase in the budget approved by the General Conference in 2012. The two bodies will review and continue discussion at their respective November 2014 meetings. The General Conference is the sole body that will approve the budget at the 2016 General Conference to be held in Portland, Oregon.

The Board approved the expenditure of $300,000 from the World Service Contingency Fund for a study on vital congregations that ratifies a decision by members of the Connectional Table at their spring 2014 meeting.

Apportionment levels for all apportioned funds, except the Black College Fund, are slightly down (-0.9%). Working together to simplify financial reporting and in preparation for the development of the 2017-2020 church budget, the board was informed that the general agencies have agreed on a unified chart of accounts to provide better reporting, accountability and coordination.

Rhodes Logan, Chief Development Officer for GCFA, spoke to the board on the creation of The United Methodist Church Development Center. Logan said, “As United Methodists, we all support national and worldwide ministries of our denomination through a connectional process of giving. However, these funds cannot meet all of the current and future needs of some of our most vital ministries that serve people in the United States and around the world. The United Methodist Church Development Center was created to encourage philanthropic giving to ministries that we share as United Methodists.” The United Methodist Church Development Center will work with many agencies, racial/ethnic causes, and other affiliated organizations of the Church. The

board unanimously approved a resolution that enacts an advisory governing structure for the Center.

The Audit and Review Committee reported its continuing conversation and follow up with the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM) and the internal auditors at the General Board of Global Ministries (GBGM) regarding the audits from West Angola.

The Committee on Personnel, Policies and Practices (CPPP) has the responsibility to review and make recommendations to the GCFA board on matters of health insurance and benefits for approximately 1,400 employees and retirees covered under the United Methodist Church healthcare plan. Enhancements to the current Medicare Advantage Plan were approved for the 2015 plan year. Changes for 2015 include: Co-pays instead of coinsurance, removal of 5% catastrophic coinsurance on prescriptions, and a cap on Tier 4 prescriptions at $95 per prescription. The committee is strategically reviewing the plans for the future to assure that if increases are needed, they are introduced incrementally to minimize the effect of cost increases on individuals.

Board Member Charlie Moore reported on his recent mission trip to Zimbabwe where 54,000 United Methodists gathered to celebrate the Church and engage in spiritual renewal. “The work that we do is having an impact…and the United Methodist Connection is alive.”

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