Recently Read: The inconvenience of apportionments


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by B. Kevin Smalls Visit his blog at

I remember growing up hearing the complaints of how costly apportionments are to some local churches. “We don’t have that many people.” “Our building is falling down around us.” “We have needs in our own backyard.”
Sadly, I’ve also seen the passive-aggressive ways of congregations to punish the connectional church for being situated outside of the bounds of their theological compass. Some congregations get mad at the annual conferences or bishops for sending them pastor’s that don’t meet their approval and the response has in some cases been, “we will not pay apportionments.”
The problem with this is that there are people in the middle of these fights, who suffer. While we are using our resources to send our denomination a message, we aren’t showing up to do our part in the line of our missional commitment and responsibility. We are leaving people stranded in life’s lowest places.

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Recently Read

Recently Read

Recently Read posts are stories the editors of The United Methodist Reporter have found interesting from other sites and wanted to share with our readers. The editors do not necessarily endorse the opinions shared in these stories, and referral here should not imply endorsement of that content.

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6 Comments on "Recently Read: The inconvenience of apportionments"

The United Methodist Reporter wants to encourage lively conversation about The United Methodist Church and our articles in the belief that Christian conversation (what Wesley would call conferencing) is a means of grace. While we support passionate debate, we cannot allow language that demeans or demonizes others, and we reserve the right to delete any comment we believe to be harmful or inappropriate. We encourage all to remember that we are all broken and in need of Christ's grace, and that we all see through the glass darkly until that time we when reach full perfection in love. May your speech here be tempered with love, and reflection of the fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. After all, "There is no law against things like this." (Galatians 5:22-23)
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George Nixon Shuler

It seems to me demands for “accountability” by the right-wing within the UMC amount entirely to the unwillingness of the demander to ascertain that he cannot have his way. Our right-wing caucus is engaged in action toward their own power and control over others and nothing else. Sneering slogans like describing themselves as “those who trust in the scripture” are meaningless phrases crafted to fool the gullible.



Many of us hated our tithes going to the GBCS, which would use them to promote a political agenda we vehemently disagreed with. I would imagine you’d be as equally angry if they went to promoting things you disagreed with. Imagine if your tithes went to promote a pro-gun, anti-abortion, anti-gay marriage , pro-military etc agenda. That is why many conservatives do not like apportionments.

George Nixon Shuler

I would answer your hypothetical question with a “Say What?” in my best Marlon Wayans imitation voice. I’m quite pro-gun myself, thank you, as well as pro-military, although opposed to the NRA’s opportunist agenda and militarism. As to the other, sure. But why would one join a church which favors justice if one is in favor of injustice? Our stance on women’s rights and dignity of all despite some archaic and unsound details is over 50 years old; if one wants one’s church body to bash women and LGBTs, why bother becoming UMC?

Richard Hicks
Most church folk have only ever walked by sight – “I see my church building, other members, pastor.” – and not by trust in the unseen. That is, those people, places, things, and ideas not in one’s immediate sight and experience. Most people worship a dinky, tiny god and they support in their dinky, tiny way. The UMC’s policy of being a large, remote corporate thing which must be fed doesn’t inspire pew sitters to feed it. Hey UMC leaders: Just keep up calling it “apportionments” and using other big words which are off putting and you’ll keep getting what… Read more »
Wes Andrews
Hmmmm, if the recipients of our apportionments were transparent and accountable then it wouldn’t be an issue. ALL non-profits are accountable to their donors except in the denominational systems within which the agencies and colleges have an entitlement mentality. The UM Publishing House produced the worst curriculums for decades. The only reason they were able to continue is that so many UM Churches thought that UM Publishing material was their only option. Transparency and Accountability for other non-profits that I have worked with in the local communities within which my churches served kept them lean and focused on their mission.… Read more »
Rev. Grady W. Mills, II
Rev. Grady W. Mills, II
I was around when the United–opps, that was even before 1968–when The best of Curriculum was put out by our church. But, in most cases it hit areas of guilt and shame. One teacher even complained that she couldn’t read the lesson on the way to the church and be ready to teach it!!! So, in came materials easy to teach without current relevance and preparation and we robbed generations of real Christian Education. The shallower the materials, the more popular they became. My home church ruled that absolutely nothing but blank roll books could be ordered from the Methodist… Read more »
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