The Christian Methodist Newsletter

Volume 16, Number 3 June 2006

Stewardship in the United Methodist Church

Believing that the laity are unaware of much of what is happening within the United Methodist Church (UMC), we are presenting the following information on the expenditure of church moneys. This data is by no means comprehensive, but provides a means of showing what the priorities are of some of our denominational employees and agencies. It represents a compilation of stewardship data from financial reports published by the general boards and agencies themselves. Raw financial data is presented with how this money is used, analyses offered, and overall observations made of what our United Methodist Church is doing.

     The adage "follow the money" holds true in giving a reliable indicator of what one, be it individual or institution, deems important. When a person is asked to give to the apportionment, it is necessary to understand the reality of how money is spent. The Bible tells us that we, both individually and church officials corporately, will be held accountable for the wise use of resources in doing His work (Luke 16:2, etc.). In other words, "How efficiently is the money given in the name of the Lord actually translated by the institution of the church into its intended purpose at its ultimate destination?" The people in the pews, who comprise over 99.4% of the membership of the United Methodist Church, work hard to provide money to support the church. It is important for all of us to use money and other resources wisely in the Lord's service.

     Consider how complicated UM funding practices can be by using the chart on this page [included in the hard copy, it is not included in the website version of the newsletter.] It shows monetary giving in a previous year; the purpose of this chart is only to show the paths of financial support from the local church to the various general boards and agencies and not to be construed as stewardship levels for this year. For instance, we see that the National and/or the World Council of Churches (NCC & WCC) are funded not only through the International Denominational Cooperation Fund but also through the United Methodist Women, and by World Service apportionments through general boards and agencies: the General Boards of Global Ministries (GBGM), Church and Society (GBCS), Discipleship, Higher Education and Campus Ministry, and the General Commission on Christian Unity and Interreligious Concerns. On the following pages is selected information from just the GBCS, the GBGM (which is the largest board), and the Bishops in addition to figures showing membership changes in our UMC.

We commend this edition of The Christian Methodist Newsletter to you for your information.

                                                             - Allen O. Morris


The total value of UM Church land, buildings, and equipment as well as church-owned parsonages and furniture, as of the end of 1999 was $37,284,544,799, up from $24,079,027,2631 at the end of 1990.1 By the end of the year 2000 this had increased to $39,636,992,168.2 Total giving to the UMC in 2000 was $4,761,148,280 of which $490,835,2693 was given into the various benevolence funds.3 There appears to be a continuation of the accumulation of funds at the general church level, a trend noted in his study by The Reverend Ed Ezaki, CPA, in a past report.; he is a past member of the Audit and Review Committee for the General Council on Finance and Administration (GCFA). In addition some local churches are experiencing increased apportionment problems, sometimes at a rate increase of 12% or more in a year. References: 1. Letter received from the GCFA, dated March 14, 2002. 2. 2001 General Minutes of the Annual Conferences of the UMC (Evanston, Illinois: The GCFA, 2002), p. 30. 3. Ibid, p. 31.

The General Board of Church and Society (GBCS)

With offices at the Methodist Building in Washington, DC, GBCS engages in political activism by lobbying our country’s leaders. Activism by members of the GBCS are its active opposition to the war against Iraq and initiatives to overturn the United Methodist Church’s position opposing the practice of homosexuality.1 In October 2005, the GBCS passed a resolution calling on the United States to withdraw its troops from Iraq. "As people of faith, we raise our voice in protest against the tragedy of the unjust war in Iraq," the resolution stated. "We urge the United States government to develop and implement a plan for the withdrawal of its troops."2 More recently Jim Winkler said that President George Bush should be impeached to advance the kingdom of God.3 References: 1. United Methodist News Service (UMNS); Washington; 10-28-71B{170}; March 25, 2003. 2. UMNS, "96 bishops decry 'unjust and immoral' situation in Iraq"; November 11, 2005. 3. News broadcast on WCLN radio station, May 24, 2006.

The General Board of Global Ministries (GBGM)

With offices at 475 Riverside Drive this board is designated by the United Methodist Church's Book of Discipline as the "missional instrument" of the UMC and has a primal responsibility in translating God’s commands into action around the world. The largest agency in the UMC, it receives more money than does any other. In the past, American Methodism fielded over 2500 foreign missionaries in the 1920s, far more than any other Protestant denomination. By the 1960s it had declined to 1500 and to 516 in 1985, 323 in 1993, 320 in 1995, and 287 in 1996. The present total of overseas foreign missionaries for the World Division is 1791 This reflects a continuation of this downward trend. These figures are consistent with the observation made by professors William H. Willimon and (the late) Robert L. Wilson of Duke University in their book Rekindling the Flame that only 13% of UM money was actually translated into true mission and benevolence in 1983, down from 16% in 1970. If one were to project that figure out to 1996 and beyond, the estimate would be 10%, which is consistent with these figures.

References: Information from the GBGM Treasurer’s Report. 1.BGM Now Hiring Missionaries; UMNewscope, April 14, 2006.

Selected Financial Statistics for the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries

Year: 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003

Assets: $295,956,199 $387,994,505 $409,210,898 $451,013,320 $485,333,518 $530,756,314 $500,793,417 $464,753,721 $389,728,059 $387,924,775

Income: $133,173,640 $173,348,658 $191,551,170 $187,536,100 $198,899,393 $204,193,966 $126,694,401 $144,613,389 $ 98,481,545 $158,877,904

Distributions and Grants to organizations: $44,310,043 $70,734,241 $96,465,479 $69,178,316 $79,366,027 $ 94,018,217 $ 99,718,911 $74,348,612 $69,223,237 $68,059,529

% of GBGM

income: 33.27% 39.02% 50.36% 36.89% 39.90% 46.04% 78.708% 51.412% 54.097% 42.838%

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Direct Support

of Persons in

Mission: $16,392,710 $22,731,586 $19,241,794 $18,867,604 $34,268,159 $32,861,249 $18,724,677 $36,296,137 $33,289,755 $32,426,471

% of GBGM

income: 12.309% 13.110% 10.045% 10.06% 17.23% 16.093% 14.779% 25.099% 26.015% 26.015%


Direct Support of

Persons in Mission

(World Div.): $11,361,989 $15,572,143 $10,787,894 $14,630,793* $27,995,664* $17,002,705* $13,761,154* $29,845,342 $28,827,666 $27,827,847

% of GBGM

income: 8.532% 8.981% 5.632% 7.80% 14.075% 8.327% 10.862% 20.638% 22.528% 17.515%


Women's Division

Assets: $92,911,935 $108,991,817 $110,983,970 $105,842,546 $111,740,127 $108,799,444 $ 95,865,966 $ 80,654,936 $61,576,262 $69,363,543

Income: $34,341,262 $52,471,182 $39,989,923 $55,501,858 $49,238,137 $43,198,513 $35,441,145 $25,058,876 $14,464,518 $42,715,150

% Change of

income from

Previous Year: 16.68% 52.79% 23.79% 38.79% 11.29% 12.27% 17.96% 29.29% 42.28% 195.31%

Decrease Decrease Decrease Decrease Decrease Increase Decrease Increase Decrease Increase


Numbers of overseas

career, long-term

missionaries: 320 303 287 Figures N/A Figures N/A Figures N/A 367 367 Figures N/A 179


UM Bishops

The Iraqi war. Our church leadership has continued their opposition to the Iraqi war. At its November 2005 meeting the Council of Bishops approved a resolution opposing the U.S. military effort in Iraq. According to the Institute on Religion and Democracy (IRD), a separate unofficial statement, signed by over the half of the active U.S. bishops, more harshly denounced the "unjust and immoral invasion and occupation," while charging that Americans are being "sent to Iraq to kill and be killed." "How woefully absurd," commented the IRD’s United Methodist spokesman Mark Tooley, "that church prelates condemn the United States for attempting to build democracy in Iraq, but refuse to condemn the Sudanese regime’s deliberate destruction of hundreds of thousands of lives in pursuit of an Islamic theocracy."* In the unofficial statement, signed by 96 active and retired bishops, Iraqis were described as "needlessly" dying. But the bishops did not identify who was killing the most Iraqis (i.e., the insurgents), nor did they describe how this killing would stop if the United States were to withdraw. Neither of the statements from the bishops mentioned the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis killed by Saddam’s regime or the millions who were oppressed by it. Nor did either mention the national elections held in Iraq since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. Nor did either acknowledge that the United States is spending tens of billions of dollars on Iraqi schools, hospitals, electrical grids, water supply, and other infrastructure. 1 The bishops also called on President Bush to establish a timetable of withdrawal from Iraq – a move that would guarantee military failure in that country and precipitate a blood-bath by the terrorists against the population. "The bishops…fell back on a superficial anti-Americanism, which assumes that all global evils, everywhere, are somehow traceable to the United States. Even more sadly, the bishops express no interest in human rights, except as a point on which to criticize the United States for its treatment of prisoners," observed Tooley* In all of the pronouncements proffered by bishops they have failed to recognize the significance of a successful free democracy established in Iraq with freedom of worship – the establishment of a beachhead for Christianity in that country.

Homosexuality. The bishops have an important leadership responsibility in the spiritual life of our church. One should therefore question why they continue to aggressively promote homosexuality in our denomination – given the moral proscriptions of that practice in the Bible (see the May 2006 edition of The Christian Methodist Newsletter). After The Rev. Ed Johnson refused to allow a man (who evidently was a confessed practicing homosexual) into membership in his church he was removed from his pulpit without pay under Bishop Charlene Kammerer’s leadership and then efforts were made to exclude him from the ministry. He appealed to the UM Judicial Council who held the he had been removed illegally and ordered that he be reinstated with back pay. The Council of Bishops then issued "A Pastoral Letter to the People of The United Methodist Church" dated Nov. 2, 2005 in which they stated [in part] that "While pastors have the responsibility to discern readiness for membership, homosexuality is not a barrier." They then cited the Social Principles affirming: "that God’s grace is available to all… (Para. 161g, 2004 Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church)." They then went on to quote, "…All persons without regard to race, color, national origin, status, or economic condition,…"etc. (Article IV, Constitution of The United Methodist Church)" What the bishops failed to observe is that - yes, absolutely, homosexuals are "people of sacred worth," as are adulterers, thieves or any other category of sinner, but the covenant of Church Membership, is clear saying those who seek membership in the UMC are to, "Renounce the spiritual forces of wickedness, reject the evil powers of the world and repent of their sin;…" (Page 136; p. 217:1, 2 of the 2004 Church Discipline). Every reference in the Bible to homosexuality is negative or condemning of the practice. Finally, the bishops imply in their quote from Article IV that homosexuality is a benign characteristic in their allusion to the phrase "race, color, national origin, status…." In this they make yet another fundamental error - there is no credible study showing that homosexuals are born with that predisposition.

The Bishops’ statement was reportedly drafted by Bishop Janice K. Riggle Huie. She had presided over the 2004 General Conference session when those pushing the homosexual agenda illegally took over the conference floor for their demonstration. Afterward, she then had everyone sing "Blessed Be the Tie that Binds" – an apparently orchestrated move. In reality, how could everyone sing the words to that song when such a divisive action had just permeated the floor of the General Conference session causing severe anguish among many who were present?

An indication of the support the bishops give to normalizing homosexuality in the UMC is demonstrated by those pushing the agenda the Reconciling Ministries Network (RMN). RMN cited their progress in pushing the "gay" agenda in the UMC in a January 31st letter that stated, "From one bishop boldly standing apart from the council for inclusion (1980)…to 43 bishops welcoming Hearts on Fire at Lake Junaluska (2005), to a unanimous bishop’s pastoral letter for inclusiveness in the UMC (2005),… 2 " They attribute great emphasis to the bishops’ support.

Finally, it is no wonder that our United Methodist Church is in decline. This continued drop in membership of the UMC in the United States needs to be directly attributed to the leadership of the Council of Bishops. As a corporate CEO must take responsibility for his company’s success or decline, so do the bishops need to take responsibility for the direction of our United Methodist Church.

References: * The Institute on Religion and Democracy news release, John Lomperis, Thursday, November 17, 2005. 1. UMNS, "96 bishops decry 'unjust and immoral' situation in Iraq"; November 11, 2005. 2. Lettter received from the Reconciling Ministries Network dated January 31, 2006.

Membership Change in the United Methodist Church

Year Membership Net Change

1969 10,789,624* First Year Tracked by C.M.1

1970 10,671,774* - 117,850

1971 10,509,198* - 162,576

1972 10,334,521* - 174,677

1973 10,063,060* - 271,461

1974 9,957,710* - 105,350

1975 9,861,028* - 96,682

1976 9,785,534* - 75,494

1977 9,731,781* - 53,753

1978 9,653,711* - 78,070

1979 9,584,771* - 68,940

1980 9,519,407* - 65,364

1981 9,457,012* - 62,395

1982 9,405,164* - 51,848

1983 9,332,712* - 72,452

1984 9,266,853* - 65,859

1985 9,192,172* - 74,681

1986 9,124,575* - 67.597

1987 9,055,145* - 69,430

1988 8,979,139* - 76,006

1989 8,904,824* - 74,315

1990 8,849,538* - 55,286

1991 8,785,184* - 64,354

1992 8,723,034* - 62,150

1993 8,646,466* - 76,568

1994 8,584,199* - 62,267

1995 8,534,891* - 49,308

1996 8,499,744* - 35,147

1997 8,457,227* - 42,517

1998 8,405,746* - 51,481

1999 8,356,816* - 48,930

2000 8,334,204* - 22,6122

2001 8,303,5612 - 30,643

2002 8,257,4952 - 46,0663

2003 8,192,495* - 65,0004

2004 8,074,697* - 66,402+

+Note: We realize the final statistics do not "add up" mathematically, but these figures are the ones provided by GCFA and annual conference sources. We believe that actual membership losses were greater through the years but understand that data GCFA receives from the 63 conferences may have errors.


The Good Stuff

His name was Fleming, and he was a poor Scottish farmer. One day, while trying to make a living for his family, he heard a cry for help coming from a nearby bog. He dropped his tools and ran to the bog. There, mired to his waist in black muck, was a terrified boy, screaming and struggling to free himself. Farmer Fleming saved the lad from what could have been a slow and terrifying death.

The next day, a fancy carriage pulled up to the Scotsman's sparse home. An elegantly dressed nobleman stepped out and introduced himself as the father of the boy Farmer Fleming had saved. "I want to repay you," said the nobleman. "You saved my son’s life."

"No, I cannot accept payment for what I did," the Scottish farmer replied waving off the offer. At that moment, the farmer’s own son came to the door of the family hovel.

"Is that your son?" the nobleman asked.

"Yes," the farmer replied proudly.

"Let me provide him with the level of education my own son will enjoy. If the lad is anything like his father, he'll no doubt grow to be a man we both will be proud of." And that he did.

Farmer Fleming’s son attended the very best schools and in time, graduated from St. Mary's Hospital Medical School in London, and went on to become known throughout the world as the noted Sir Alexander Fleming, the discoverer of Penicillin.

Years afterward, the same nobleman’s son who was saved from the bog was stricken with pneumonia.

What saved his life this time? Penicillin.

The nobleman? Lord Randolph Churchill.

His son's name? Sir Winston Churchill.

Spiritually Speaking: Six Priorities for being a Disciple

1. Christ before others…No rivals in devotion to and love for Jesus Christ (Luke 14: 26; Matthew 10:37).

2. Christ before self… "No rights beyond what Christ desires for me" – He is always right! (Luke 14:26; Luke 9:23-24).

3. Christ before things…No Reservations in forsaking everything to live sacrificially for my Savior (Luke 14:28-33; Phil. 3:7-8).

4. A daily commitment to personal Bible study (John 8:31-32; 2 Cor. 3:18; Psalm 19:7-11).

5. Christ-like love for all believers, regardless of denomination (John 13:35; 1 John 3:14).

6. Consistent and daily fruit-bearing (John 15:18)

- Dr. Ralph Richardson, Bible Alive ministry. March 8, 2006

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Kids’ Stuff

- A grade school class wrote essays on the subject "What's Wrong with Parents Today?" One child said it all: "We get our parents so late in life that it is impossible to do anything with them."

- The Navigators’ Daily Walk 4/4/97

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Thought for the Month

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take but by the moments that take our breath away.

Apology: In a previous issue of The Christian Methodist Newsletter we had included the name of Bishop Alfred W. Gwinn as one of the bishops who had sent greetings to the convenors of the "Hearts on Fire" conference held at Lake Junaluska. We had been given this information from another news source which we trusted. We later received information from another source that he did not send such greetings; this was verified by him. I would like to extend an apology to Bishop Gwinn for the mistaken information we had published.

– Allen O. Morris

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Lest we forget.................

- It is the VETERAN, not the preacher, who has given us freedom of religion.

- It is the VETERAN, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press.

- It is the VETERAN, not the poet,

who has given us freedom of speech.

- It is the VETERAN, not the campus organizer, who has given us freedom to assemble.

- It is the VETERAN, not the lawyer, who has given us the right to a fair trial.

- It is the VETERAN, not the politician, Who has given us the right to vote.

It is the VETERAN, who salutes the Flag, served under the flag, and who is buried under the flag.

Published by: Concerned Methodists, P.O. Box 2864, Fayetteville, NC 28302. Tel.: 910/488-4379 FAX: 910/488-5090

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