Nashville, TN – The General Council on Finance and Administration (GCFA) is pleased to announce that twenty-six jurisdictional annual conferences and eight central conference episcopal areas paid 100% of the general Church apportionment in 2018. GCFA also recognizes that giving to the Africa University Fund still remains a high priority for United Methodists with a 93% collection rate—the highest among the seven general Church apportioned funds. Thirty-five of the fifty-six jurisdictional annual conferences paid more in 2018 compared to 2017. While the overall giving percentage was down 1.8%, the overall dollar amount increased by $19,473 compared to 2017.
“It is not always easy for an annual conference to pay its general Church apportionment”, said Bishop Michael McKee, president of the Board of GCFA. “We appreciate the hard work of each annual conference and episcopal area that contributed to the Church reaching the 90% collection rate for all apportioned funds. God be praised in our ministry together.”
Moses Kumar, chief executive of GCFA, said, “The general Church apportionments are our message that the United Methodist connectional system is a viable way to be in ministry around the world. We praise God for the faithfulness of this commitment. For the past seven years – since 2012 – we’ve been at or over a 90% collection rate. I want to thank the people of the United Methodist connection who have faithfully and continually supported the global ministries of the denomination through generous giving.”
The eight central conference episcopal areas that paid 100% are: Central and Southern Europe, Davao, Eastern Angola, East Congo, Eurasia, Germany, Liberia, and Nordic-Baltic. The twenty-six jurisdictional annual conferences are: Alaska United Methodist Conference, Baltimore-Washington, California-Nevada, Desert Southwest, East Ohio, Greater New Jersey, Illinois Great Rivers, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, New England, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma Indian Missionary, Oregon-Idaho, Pacific Northwest, Peninsula-Delaware, Red Bird Missionary, Rocky Mountain, Susquehanna, Tennessee, Upper New York, West Virginia, Western Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Yellowstone.
The General Council on Finance and Administration coordinates and administers financial resources, safeguards the legal interests and rights of the Church, and provides administrative resources to enable the fulfillment of the mission of The United Methodist Church.
It’s the same question whether it’s national government, family or church – do you want to win or do you want things to work? Sadly, more people would rather win and feel superior than roll up their sleeves, engage others, learn, grow and do the hard work of making things work. Certainly there may be times you can only remain faithful by refusing to compromise. But most of the time in most situations and with most people, God is calling you to to take that first step to make things work.
You use lots of energy when you are hurt trying to fix it. But the unfortunate thing is how much unneeded time, energy and heart you expend because you believe fixing it’s all up to you. But it’s not. In fact, it never is. That’s because God’s got your back – unconditionally, every single moment and regardless of what is going on. This reality frees you to deal with the whatever’s going on and then move past it to invest your life in far more important things – loving God, loving others and making a difference in someone’s life.
As the partial government shutdown enters its fifth week, United Methodist Churches from around the state are finding ways to aid furloughed workers and their families by providing a fresh meal and a place to fellowship.
The shutdown — centered around legislative disagreements on border security funding between congressional Republicans, Democrats and the White House — has affected more than 800,000 federal employees across the United States. In Arkansas, thousands of federal workers have missed paychecks at least twice since the shutdown began on Dec. 22, 2018.
With no end to the shutdown in sight, numerous United Methodist churches have stepped up to provide free meals to furloughed workers or those working without pay.
St. James UMC in Little Rock is one church in the conference providing free food to workers who are struggling to pay their bills and provide meals for their families.
“We decided to host this lunch to help the furloughed workers through this difficult time and let them know we’re here for them and thinking of them,” said Debbie Kelly, communications coordinator at St. James UMC in Little Rock.
In addition to handing out free lunch to affected workers, the church will also be accepting donations of non-perishable food items, personal care products, and gift cards to be handed out to those in need.
A list of churches providing free meals to affected workers can be found below.
St. James UMC — Little Rock, AR
12 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 30
Jones Hall at St. James UMC
321 Pleasant Valley Dr., Little Rock, AR 72212
Alma UMC — Alma, AR
Breakfast, 7 a.m. to 10 a.m., Saturday, Jan. 26
Starting Thursday, Jan. 24, we will be offering food assistance to federal workers who have been furloughed by the shutdown. All they need to do is bring in their Government I.D. and proof of Crawford County residency.
20 Ash St., Alma, AR 72921
First UMC Rogers — Rogers, AR
Free lunch at 12 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 24
307 W. Elm St., Rogers, AR 72756
Greenwood UMC — Greenwood, AR
Free dinner, Wednesday, Jan. 24. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 479-996-6397 for more info and to RSVP
10 W. Denver, Greenwood, AR 72936
Prairie Grove First UMC — Prairie Grove, AR
Free dinner, no questions asked. 6 – 8 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 28
1401 E. Parks St., Prairie Grove, AR 72753
Clarksville First UMC — Clarksville, AR
Free meal, 5 p.m. every Wednesday night until shutdown ends
215 W. Sevier St., Clarksville, AR 72830
If you know a church that is providing free meals to furloughed workers, please email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org with the time, date and place where the free lunch will take place.
Confirmation is an important step in the spiritual journey of United Methodists, and Camp Tanako is hoping to give more young adults the opportunity to go through confirmation thanks to their Confirmation Camp weekends.
“Confirmation Camp began as a response to conversations that I was having with pastors throughout the Arkansas Conference who were having trouble doing confirmation at their churches,” said Kim Carter, Director of Camp Tanako.
The weekend camp came about in 2016 as a resource for small membership churches who didn’t have the time, resources or enough people to undergo confirmations at their churches.
The three-day experience will take place twice in early 2019. The first camp is Feb. 8 – 10 and the second camp is April 5 – 7.
The age in which a young adult goes through confirmation varies from congregation to congregation, but typically kids will go through the process somewhere between the 5th and 7th grade.
Confirmation classes focus on understanding the Trinity and what it means to be a United Methodist. The process of confirmation is closely linked to baptism in the church, and although confirmation is not a sacrament in the United Methodist Church, it is an essential step in a church members’ spiritual journey after baptism.
During the Confirmation Camp weekend, campers will experience a variety of sessions that cover every aspect of confirmation in the United Methodist Church. Topics covered include: “What is Confirmation,” God, Jesus, The Holy Spirit/Trinity, John Wesley, sacraments, and vows.
Various Arkansas Conference employees will lead sessions. So far, that list of leaders includes Youth and Young Adult Ministries Coordinator Michelle Moore, Lead Equipper for the Center for Vitality Michelle Morris, Children’s Ministry Coordinator Melinda Shunk, Assistant to the Bishop and Director of Connectional Ministry Jim Polk, and Conway First UMC Pastor Zack Schrick.
“As an extension of the Conference, the Camping/Retreat Ministries goal is to help local churches meet the trajectory set forth by the Conference, and confirmation is a vital part of what it means to be a United Methodist,” Carter said.
After the weekend is over, confirmands will be sent home with lessons to discuss with parents and local pastors. The take-home lessons cover topics beyond confirmation, such as creeds, the Bible, prayer, service/mission outreach, and heritage and history of the church.
Campers will also get a chance to worship together each evening before heading back to their cabins.
Rod Hocott – director of the MIDphyouth ministry at Pulaski Heights UMC and developer of the confirmation camp curriculum – sees the lasting value of confirmation camp for every United Methodist youth.
“To prepare our young people to become United Methodist Christians is one of the most daunting, yet highly rewarding responsibilities we undertake in the area of youth ministry,” Hocott said. “When asked to help develop curriculum for a conference-wide confirmation camp, along with Dee Ann Daniel and Laura Stinnett, I thought what a wonderful idea to make confirmation training available to churches of any size, regardless of the number of confirmands available in any given local church.”
For Carter, there’s nothing else quite like Confirmation Camp.
“The United Methodist Church, at its heart, is connectional, and through camp, we’re able to bring young people and their mentors together from across the state. Confirmation is a coming of age experience that occurs at the right time to instruct young adults before they join the church. It’s a vital part of the life of a local United Methodist Church.”
For more information on Confirmation Camp, visit Camp Tanako’s website. You’ll also find links to register for the April 2019 Confirmation Camp.