Stewardship News Archive
Bishop Reports Highest Rate of Connectional Giving in Two Decades
I am happy to report to the North Alabama Conference that we received 82.86% of the 2011 Conference budget through connectional giving this past year. This is our highest collection rate over the last 19 years (from 1993 – 2011)! Personally I am thrilled that my last year as bishop I got to witness this wonderful result. This rate of giving is particularly noteworthy considering our huge response to the Easter week storms of 2011. (By my conservative estimate, our churches gave about two...
Capital Stewardship Workshop to be held August 2
On August 2, 2011, The Gage Group and the North Alabama Conference are presenting a one-day Capital Stewardship Workshop at Huntsville First UMC.
During the workshop participants will learn a proven campaign strategy and receive valuable resource materials to facilitate a successful campaign, start to finish. Resources include a proven campaign strategy with easy-to-use training materials including a detailed working calendar and timelines; leadership team selection guide; prayer strategy;...
Conference Treasurer Scott Selman Shares Key Financial Notes for Annual Conference
Many of our pastors and lay members to Annual Conference have been actively involved in relief efforts since the tragic tornadoes on April 27. So, I’m wondering how many folks have had time to study all of the reports in the Preconference Book. Just in case you are a little behind in your reading, here are some key financial notes:
Council on Finance
The Council on Finance is recommending a 14.97% decrease or a $1.6 million reduction in the Conference budget for 2012. Such a...
New rule for UM seminaries: More clergy, more funds
United Methodist schools of theology that educate more students for ordained ministry in the denomination will get more church funding in 2012 under a new formula for distributing money from the Ministerial Education Fund.
The Directors of The United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry had approved the changes last fall, but tweaked the formula at the spring 2011 meeting to include money for full-time United Methodist faculty and senior administrators at the seminaries. That...
Northwest District’s Oscar Butler Scholarship Fund helps student-pastors with educational costs
The Northwest District’s Oscar Butler Scholarship Fund has been providing financial support for student pastors in the Florence area for more than 50 years.
Many young pastors leave seminary with a large debt because of the cost of theological education. This debt puts a financial burden on the pastors and her or his family as they enter the ministry. The Florence District Laity Club recognized this issue many years ago and began to help young pastors with their educational costs.
A Word of Gratitude and Celebration from the Cabinet
As the Cabinet of the Annual Conference we are extremely grateful to the sacrificial giving of the churches in support of Connectional Giving. Your prioritization of Connectional Giving in your church’s budget allows for meaningful ministry to take place across our conference and around our world.
While we celebrate with you the increase in giving, we also want you to know that the conference has worked diligently in reducing spending. Among other areas, we reduced the overall spending...
North Alabama celebrates increase in connectional giving in 2010
Conference Treasurer Scott Selman reports that the connectional giving of North Alabama United Methodist Churches saw an increase of over 3% in 2010 compared to 2009 giving.
He explains that the Conference received 81.47% of the 2010 Conference budget compared with 78.43% in 2009. Conference budget receipts totaled $8,844,168 in 2010 compared with $8,517,802 in 2009. This is an increase of more than $326,000.
Additionally, in 2010 there was an increase in 100% churches. Selman notes that a...
Workshop teaches churches about Turning Tippers Into Tithers
The Center for Congregational Development offered a conference-wide training for pastors and church financial/stewardship teams entitled Turning Tippers Into Tithers on October 16, 2010 at St. Andrews UMC in Cullman. Jim Griffith from “The Griffith Group” taught concepts on how to help pastors encourage the congregation to fulfill the biblical principle of giving.
Throughout the day Griffith taught attendees how to communicate to different levels of givers in a meaningful and...
Video conversation helps churches better understand clergy benefits
The United Methodist Church has three mandatory benefits programs for its clergy in the United States – health insurance, pension and disability.
One program which often causes confusion among local churches is clergy pension. So recently, Bishop Will Willimon and North Alabama Conference Treasurer Scott Selman sat down to discuss this topic. A video of this conversation is below.
One thing that makes this an important issue for local churches today is that beginning in 2007 clergy...
One Great Hour of Sharing is March 14. Materials now available
When the first tremors of the earthquake in Haiti rocked that island nation, UMCOR (United Methodist Committee on Relief) staff were already in country, strategizing how United Methodists could help improve the lives of the people there.
Their work is a direct result of the One Great Hour of Sharing Offering, which supports the operating expenses of those who bring healing and help in our name. It makes it possible, when United Methodists respond to an emergency like Haiti, to know that 100%...
Bishop Willimon reflects on 2009 connectional giving
Financial Faithfulness in North Alabama
When the earthquake hit Haiti this month, the United Methodist Church was ready to step up to the challenge. Three of our lead missionaries in Haiti, leading Methodist sponsored development and aid projects, died in the earthquake. Six Volunteers in Mission teams were working in the country at the time. Within hours we began shipping supplies from our big mission warehouse in Decatur. Within a week, North Alabama Conference members had given thousands of...
The spirit of Advent giving: Alternative Christmas giving creates a new family tradition
Advent Conspiracy Opportunity: Honor Family Members with a Gift to Others
by Rachel K. Sparkman
I am part of a large extended family, and we have many special holiday traditions. When I was a child, the whole family drew names out of a hat to tell us whose present we were going to buy that Christmas. For me, choosing the gifts was almost as exciting as receiving them. I had to think very hard about the relative I was buying for, their likes and interests. Then I had to find the perfect...
The spirit of Advent giving: United Methodist Children's Home
Advent Conspiracy Opportunity: The United Methodist Children’s Home
Adam was often sick due to poor nourishment and drinking contaminated water. One day, Adam was so hungry that when a social worker came to his house, he willingly left with her and was placed in a UMCH group home.
Adam has a learning disability that makes academics hard for him. His house mother encouraged and prayed with him, and he began to trust the Lord to take care of him. At 21 years of age, Adam was able to...
Gadsden First United Methodist celebrates Methodism through Camp Meeting month
August was Camp Meeting Month at Gadsden First United Methodist Church!
This meant "Summer Shorts" at the 9 AM Celebration, a casual, contemporary worship experience upstairs in the gym. It also meant more traditional worship experience in the "Camp Meetings" at 10:45 am in the beautiful, historical sanctuary.
During the month of August each service included a "Methodist Minute." John Wesley, Susannah Wesley, Charles Wesley, and Barbara Heck helped the...
Trinity UMC, Tuscaloosa growing to 100% of Fair Share Giving
Trinity UMC in Tuscaloosa stands on the campus of the University of Alabama. Like many of North Alabama Conference churches, Trinity is a distinguished older church that has struggled to thrive in recent years. For the first time in many decades, Trinity UMC will pay 100% of its fair share of Conference mission and benevolence funds (apportionments).
“This is thrilling news,” said Bishop Willimon, “a great testimonial to the work that Trinity’s young pastor,...
One Great Hour of Sharing is March 22
- from the Faith In Action Newsletter of the General Board of Church and Society
The One Great Hour of Sharing offering, to be collected by United Methodist Churches on March 22, makes the necessities of life, such as food, shelter and clothing, a reality by sharing the goodness of life with those who hurt. When a catastrophe occurs, offerings to One Great Hour of Sharing enables the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) to reach out and ease the pain and suffering by providing...
Wall Street, Main Street and Church Street funding ministry in difficult times
Bailouts, foreclosures, credit crunch, mortgage crisis...these phrases have been much in the news in the past two weeks. Now United Methodist churches can respond.
Bishop Will Willimon says, "The great question before us this fall is 'How can the church fund its ministry in difficult times?' I have asked the North Alabama United Methodist Foundation for help and they have eagerly stepped forward to offer a great resource for our pastors and congregations. The Foundation and Stewardship...
Alabama Statewide Foreclosure Initiative: what churches should know to minister to those struggling in mortgage crisis
The following article was written by North Alabama United Methodist David Higginbotham. He is Vice President Alabama Title Co., Inc.
Bishop Willimon says, "I am pleased that David Higginbotham is involved in this initiative and has brought it to the attention of our United Methodist pastors and churches. I urge all our pastors to utilize this new hotline in their ministry to those who suffer in the current mortgage crisis."
Recently the Federal Reserve Bank branch office...
Cabinet sets goal for increase in shared giving for year
After a record year of giving in the North Alabama Conference, which saw an overall increase in giving to the Conference shared giving program (also known as "apportionments"), the North Alabama Conference Cabinet has set a goal for an increase of at least 2% in our giving for the coming year. Each of the eight districts will be challenged to increase overall apportioned giving by at least 2%.
"The North Alabama Conference is near the bottom in the Southeastern...
Conference Board of Pension and Health Benefits forms master funding task force
On Tuesday, February 19, 2008, a task force recently formed by the North Alabama Conference Board of Pension and Health Benefits met at the United Methodist Center in Birmingham.
The purpose of this new task force is to develop and recommend to the Conference Board of Pension and Health Benefits a master funding plan for pension benefits, disability/death benefits, and retiree health insurance for our clergy.
Currently, funding for clergy benefits (pension benefits,...