General Conference approves $604 million budget

Lonnie Chafin, Northern Illinois Conference, speaks on the GCFA budget May 20 at the 2016 United Methodist General Conference in Portland, OR.

Portland, OR — After a long session of conversation, debate, and even a little laughter, the General Conference of the United Methodist Church passed a budget for the next four years of $604 million. This budget contains for the first time an apportionment for the Central Conferences of the church and includes an additional $5 million for educational efforts in the Central Conferences than originally proposed.

Bishop Sally Dyck of the Chicago Episcopal Area presided at the second Friday morning session of the conference, which was focused on the presentation and adoption of the budget. Moses Kumar, General Secretary of the General Council on Finance and Administration (GCFA), and Jessica Vargo, chair of the Financial Administration legislative committee presented the calendar items related to the budget, and the conversation seemed to drag as they considered the budget for the World Service  and Ministerial Education Funds. As has been true throughout the conference, the conference was slowed by continued parliamentary requests, delaying voting as a result.

One of the issues of concern was a proposal to increase the funding for the Central Conferences Education Fund by and additional $5 million from the $599 million budget originally proposed by GCFA. That proposal passed, leading to the total budget amount of $604 million.

Given the pace of the debate, there was fear that the conference would be unable to complete their work on the budget if each fund was considered individually. A motion was made to combine the remaining calendar items into a single bundle for consideration. That motion passed, and the conference was then able to move through conversation fairly rapidly until the budget was finally approved.

Contained in the bundle was Calender Item 422, which proposed an apportionment being made to the Central (non-U.S.) Conferences for the first time. Previously Central Conferences have made voluntary donations to the UM Episcopal Fund to help offset the cost of their bishops. Now the Central Conferences will be expected to contribute to the overall ministry of the denomination, using a formula developed especially for those conferences.

The budget does not contain the so-called “$20 million dollar carve out” proposed in committee to establish a “Standing Committee on Strategy and Church Growth.” That proposal was ruled unconstitutional yesterday by the Judicial Council in Decision 1320.

The conference will continue meeting throughout the day, picking up a debate on divestment from energy-related companies which was started in the morning session. The conference is scheduled to adjourn at 6:30 p.m.

Jay Voorhees, Former Executive Editor

The Rev. Jay Voorhees is the Executive Editor of The United Methodist Reporter and the Chief Creative Officer for CircuitWriter Media LLC which operates this site and Jay is an ordained elder in the Tennessee Annual Conference. Jay has written on life and the practice of faith in The United Methodist Church at Only Wonder Understands since 2003.

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Richard F Hicks
Richard F Hicks

We pew peasants have the purse power. We’re the ones who approve budgets. Just wait. Thank you, Richard F Hicks, OKC


wait .. for .. what?

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