(Editor's note: The following letter was issued by CCFA chair William Adams following the final calculation of apportionment receipt for 2013).
Dear Illinois Great Rivers Annual Conference member,
Thank you for being part of our effort to reach and disciple people for Jesus Christ and for your love and worship of Jesus Christ. Through your efforts and generous stewardship our Annual Conference was blessed to receive 91.66 percent of our apportionments for a record $12,195,120. That percentage of apportionments received is the sixth highest of all 59 Annual Conferences in the United Methodist Church within the United States. Thank you for hearing God’s call and responding in faith. Well done!
Through your faithful support we have once again paid our General Conference apportionments at 100 percent which include World Service, Ministerial Education Fund, African University Fund and UM Black College Fund. We have been able to increase our recruitment and education of new clergy and offer continuing education to our current active clergy. We continue to provide and promote connectional ministries throughout our conference and beyond our conference for both laity and clergy. Missions and ministries are supported as we continue to, as Lovett Weems writes in his book Focus, “steward and extend the United Methodist witness within the bounds of our Annual Conference”
Over the past few years we have seen many changes both in our economy and the church. The economy continues to struggle to recover and regain a robust and steady pattern of growth. The church has seen its share of financial problems as well.
The one thing the church has that gives us hope is our faith in God and the promise of new life through Jesus Christ. The national and world wide economy stalls and falters when people overreach, falter and become personally fearful. The church can experience the fallout from economic downturns too because resources can become scarce and the needs for assistance, real practical help in our communities and around the world, can grow. However, as Christians, although we need to be prudent and careful, we do not need to sustain or perpetuate the sense of fear that others have. Why, because God and Jesus have promised to always be with us. Our goals for the Conference then, and your local church, are not to raise funds or make sure we get or hold on to what is ours. Rather it is to do the will of God and join Jesus in his ministry of love, redemption and reconciliation.
I would encourage you to continue to invest in the eternal impact our Annual Conference has in the world while at the same time trusting God completely by bringing the full tithe to His church. I know that God will greatly bless your faithfulness with His tangible and intangible favor. Thanks again for being part of the Illinois Great Rivers Conference. God bless you.
William Adams, Chair
Council on Finance and Administration
Illinois Great Rivers Conference