The Rev. Jim West serves two congregations near St. Louis. Caledonia United Methodist Church boasts an average attendance of 70, Bismarck UMC 30. They may be small, but they are mighty.
“They have a history of always paying their apportionments,” West said. “It is important to their ethos.”
He is quite sure Caledonia and Bismarck were the first two congregations in the Missouri Annual (regional) Conference to pay their 2010 apportionments, which in 2009 totaled nearly $10,000. West delivered the check to the conference office Jan. 1. After that, they contributed more than $2,000 for Haiti earthquake relief.
West said the Caledonia UMC food pantry assists 55 to 60 families per month. “They are highly motivated to be in ministry.”
He stressed the importance of paying apportionments before tackling other projects. “Second-mile giving (such as supporting UMCOR and The Advance) is important,” he said. “But you really can’t walk the second mile until you walk the first mile (apportionments).”
Joining Caledonia and Bismarck churches in paying apportionments in full by early February were some 30 other Missouri congregations.
Lay pastor Bonnie Menough serves 36-member Atherton UMC in Lee’s Summit and 75-member Sugar Creek UMC in Independence. “They are faithful in their giving,” she said. “When money is needed, it is not unusual for someone to write an extra check to take care of it.”
Stretching beyond the church walls is important, Menough added. “They’re very good at hospitality. They’ve been welcoming and reaching out for years.” One example is a clothing ministry that aids needy schoolchildren.
At 45-member Smith Chapel UMC, Rocheport, lay minister Rick Matson said members “feel good about the work of the denomination. I tell them ‘thank you’ for the giving they have done and its accomplishments in the connection. People are delighted when apportionments are paid.”
The Mississippi Annual Conference—empowered by love, generosity, justice and apprenticeship—forms spiritual leaders, faith communities and connections so more disciples of Jesus Christ transform the world.
320 Briarwood Drive | Jackson, MS 39206 | Phone: 601.354.0515 | Contact Us
Living Out The POWER of We in Mississippi means:
2. Learning and
that is rooted in love, generosity, justice and apprenticeship.