In a year when many churches only met in-person for a few months and all congregations adapted how they worship, how they connect, and how they meet the needs in their communities, our shared ministry remained a priority. At the close of 2020, North Georgia United Methodist churches had paid 90 percent of our apportionment budget.
Early in the pandemic, our Annual Conference adopted the motto to "lean into the connection." Our Conference Board of Pension and Health Benefits offered a 3-month holiday from clergy insurance premiums, paying those premiums with reserve funds. Our Center for Congregational Excellence developed and compiled shared digital resources, moved training and collaboration opportunities to virtual platforms, and launched technology grants for local churches. Our Annual Conference, meeting virtually for the first time, passed a 2021 budget that reduced our shared expenses by nearly 20 percent.
Congregations increased their opportunities for online giving, they pursued PPP Loans through the CARES Act, and they turned their focus outward.
Bishop Sue Haupert-Johnson celebrates the support of the connection and continues her commitment to a streamlined Annual Conference so that more dollars remain in our local churches.
"My priority is the local church," said Bishop Sue. "Most of the resources must stay in the local church where disciples are made."
Conference Treasurer Keith Cox and our Conference Council on Finance and Administration strive every year to reach alignment between connectional giving and church budgets. To have 90 percent of giving reached in a year with so much uncertainty highlights this alignment.
Find helpful resources on apportionment giving on the North Georgia Conference website at http://www.ngumc.org/giving.