On a quarterly basis, I plan to send a Summary Budget Report to the members of our Annual Conference. This is an effort to report back to those who voted and approved this budget and update you on our Conference Finances. Our Council on Finance and Administration (CFA), led by Chair Jack Stubbs, is committed to Clarity/Transparency, Fairness/Justice, and Accountability. Year-to-date reports will also be available in the Finance Office section of our website under Conference Budget.
2017 Financial Results
Our 2017 apportionment receipts totaled $6,629,625, a $103,367 increase over the amount received in the prior year ($6,526,258). We celebrate having 297 churches give 100% of their apportionment covenant! Although we had an increase in the total dollars received, the 2017 apportionment receipts represent 80.1% of the amount apportioned to our churches. The increase in giving did not keep pace with the 1.9% increase in our Conference budget.
As our Conference’s ministry work and budget increased by 1.9%, our total expenses increased. Our total expenses for 2017 were $6,843,122 out of the budgeted $7,032,028. Total expenses increased by $377,753 over the prior year expenses ($6,465,369). A significant part of our expense increase was due to paying our general conference apportionments in full. Conference Policy 10.3.0 General Conference Apportionments was suspended in the last quadrennium but resumed in 2017. This policy states that the Conference Treasurer shall pay the general conference apportionments in twelve monthly installments. In 2017 we gave a total of $1,724,195 to the General Church. This was a $298,723 increase over the prior year ($1,425,472). In the previous quadrennium, we paid our General Conference Apportionments at the percentage rate of apportionment receipts from our churches.
At year end our expenses exceeded our revenue by $213,497. Fortunately, the deficit was covered by our Conference reserves, which helps us to manage the fluctuations in income and expenses over the course of the year. After covering the deficit we had a balance of $298,155 remaining in the reserves.
Apportionment receipts increased by $103,367 over the prior year and 297 churches gave 100% of their apportionment covenant! There were many churches who contacted our Treasurer’s Office excited about paying in full when they were not able to do so in previous years. One such church was Wesley UMC in LaCrosse who took this proud photo the Sunday after paying their apportionments in full for the first time since 2010!
In 2017, our Annual Conference Offering for the Milwaukee Urban Ministry Imitative was granted to Central City Churches. Over 24,000 people were assisted in the year 2017 with emergency food, hot meals, use of computers, faxing, copies, job referrals and connections as well as referrals in clothing, furniture, computers, appliances, housing, health care and vouchers. Just $1,000 helps to feed 40 families up to 3 days. It will help purchase beverages and breakfast treats in their daily hospitality area which is open Monday through Thursday and serves 350 to 400 people a week.
In September our Wisconsin Conference gave $106,000 to help with disaster relief. Then in October we followed up with another $148,000. We came together to respond to the disasters in the US by giving to relief work in areas such as Puerto Rico, Texas, Louisiana, Florida, Georgia and more. It is estimated that last year’s hurricanes caused over $200 billion in damage. Click here for more information on the ongoing support for recovery.
We supported the General Church’s Ministerial Education Fund which helps The United Methodist Church to live out its mission to make disciples by investing the training and support of the next generation of pastors and leaders. Click here for a video and more information.
Our Conference hosted various events and trainings including Clergy Day Apart, School for Ministry, Laity Convocation, Boundaries Trainings, Annual Conference, Academy for Spiritual Formation, Inquiring Ministry Candidate Retreat, Archives/Heritage Retreat, Camp retreats and so much more. We held so many conference-wide events in 2017 and even more district centered events and trainings! We continually identify ways to support our churches through learning and connecting opportunities. Click here for pictures from the various events!
As a Conference, we paid our General Conference Apportionments in full in 2017! We received a note of thanks from the General Council on Finance and Administration (GCFA) acknowledging our commitment and recognizing us as one of twenty-nine Annual Conferences who paid 100% last year!
In 2017 our Wisconsin Conference did great things through our United Methodist Connection. And yet there is more to do! The year of 2018 is already underway. I continually ask that you remember our Annual Conference theme for this year “One With Each Other” and our vision to Imagine Wisconsin Anew. As always, please do not hesitate to contact me with thoughts and suggestions.