Voting and Action Item Recap

Date Posted: 6/13/2016

Several significant actions were taken in the areas of missions, clergy and finance.
 
According to Rev. B.T. Williamson, assistant to the Bishop, four resolutions were voted on and passed at the 2016 annual conference. “One resolution on the topic of unity challenges leaders to find ways to come together around major and controversial issues in a way that focuses on unity and diminishes what can typically be divisive,” he shares. The conference also voted to approve the historical site recognition for St. Paul UMC, Port Arthur and changed the wording on one of the rules within the nominations process. “Basically, the vote endorsed the resolution to tweak the wording on the nomination substitution process to maintain and expand diversity as it relates to age, ethnicity and clergy/lay mix.”
 
Missions

  • TAC/JFON Memorandum of Understanding was approved that affirms this United Methodist hospitality ministry to our immigrant brothers and sisters as an affiliated organization birthed by the Texas Annual Conference.
  • The Missions Endowment documentation was updated so that the funds can now be accessed for mission and the Mission Endowment was adopted as the Advance Special for 2017.
  • Fifteen new Hispanic apprentice leaders were introduced to the Annual Conference and will be starting new outreach ministry in churches within the TAC.
  • The Conroe TAC Missions Center progress report was presented, with the expectation that the Missions Center will be completed before the end of August 2016.
  • A report of the extensive disaster response provided in every single district within the TAC to address needs following a year full of natural disasters was presented.
  • Over $17,000 was collected in response to the mission focus: Back to School on the Border to help school children in great need on both the U.S. and Mexico side of the Texas border.
  • A conference-wide initiative to train churches in the 50/50 partnership mission model was introduced.  The Center for Missional Excellence is seeking one church or one team from each district to partner with churches along the Texas/Mexico border for this initiative.
  • ProjectCurate a ministry developed and launched out of a collaboration with the Center for Missional Excellence, GCORR, and St. Paul’s UMC, Houston was introduced at the Hispanic Ministries luncheon.  ProjectCurate is a deeply immersive ministry that is helping us transcend racial and socio-economic divides within the faith community.
  • Zoe ministries, the Advance Special for 2015 and 2016, reported that over 5,000 orphaned children in Africa, Guatemala, and now India, had been helped to reach self-sustainability in family and community because of the support from the TAC.
Clergy
  • Vacation Policy was approved as submitted in the Pre-Conference Journal Board of Ordained Ministry Resolution.
  • Group Health Benefits Report was approved as submitted in the Pre-Conference Journal.
  • Board of Pensions Report was approved as submitted in the Pre-Conference Journal.
  • Equitable Compensation Report – Clergy Housing -----Allowance Proposed Policy was amended as follows:
Proposed PolicyIn the case of no parsonage, the minimum housing allowance amount for clergy (and clergy couples) will be set using a rate of 25% of pension cash for each clergy.  The calculated allowance is compared to an amount (i.e. annual cost) determined to be the fair market value for homes in the respective neighborhood where the clergy home is located.  If the annual cost for fair market value is greater than the calculated housing allowance, then the allowance is increased to equate to the fair market cost. 
 
Note:  The above Clergy Housing Allowance Policy and the requirement for either a parsonage or housing allowance in lieu of parsonage pertain only to fulltime elders (including provisional elders) and full-time local pastors. The primary concern in establishing a minimum housing allowance amount was to ensure that clergy at the lower end of the compensation range and that clergy couples each receive an adequate housing allowance.
 
Finance
There were two significant action items presented by the Council on Finance and Administration and passed by the delegates of the Texas Annual Conference:

1. Amendment to the Apportionment Formula     
Two additional deductible categories (new items):
    * Program expenses paid
    * Non-Clergy staff expenditures

The rationale is to identify external programs that assist and encourage churches in making  investments toward growth. Churches who participate in a recognized program by an external party will be considered for the additional deductions. Church interested in qualifying for the deductible spending must seek approval from the Council on Finance and Administration through a written application.  The discernment process will be conducted in collaboration with the Council on Finance and Administration, the Center for Connectional Resources and the Center for Congregational Excellence.

2. New Investment Committee       
The investment committee is entrusted with the management of invested funds; fiduciary responsibility is of utmost importance. Utilization of funds will be monitored closely by the Council on Finance and Administration. Guidelines and Procedures will be set in place as voted on by the delegates of the Texas Annual Conference. The goal of investing is to provide dollars to fund current activities and to enhance the purchasing power of funds held for future expenditure.