Designated Relief Giving Soars in 2010: Missionary Support Holds Even

Date Posted: 3/3/2011

Total United Methodist designated mission giving soared in 2010 as a result of response to the earthquake in Haiti. Designated gifts for missionary support held steady from 2009 to 2010.

Figures released by The Advance for Christ and His Church, a designated mission giving channel, indicate that the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) received $62,338,768 through this source last year. Of this, $43,909,314 was earmarked for relief and rehabilitation in Haiti, devastated by an earthquake in January 2010. A total of $721,988 was received for relief in flood-ravaged areas of Pakistan.

Designated giving for missionary support through the General Board of Global Ministries remained constant at $6,157,043 in 2010 compared with $6,151,628 in 2009. These funds do not include allocations for missionary support from World Service, the apportioned benevolence fund of the denomination. For the 2011 budget, 37 percent of missionary support is projected to come through World Service.

Giving through The Advance

The total mission giving through The Advance in 2010 was $79,233,112, with $10,742,716 designated for worldwide mission projects other than UMCOR or missionary support.

"The generosity of United Methodist people has powerful and specific impacts around the world," said Bishop Hope Morgan Ward of Mississippi, who is chair of the Advance Committee. "One hundred percent of every Advance gifts goes for the designated purpose.  Through The Advance, we are together a welcoming, healing, and helping presence in the lives of children, women, and men around the world."

Thomas Kemper, chief executive of Global Ministries, thanked United Methodists for their strong giving through The Advance in 2010. "Our church has a wonderful record of response to natural and human-caused disasters," he said. "UMCOR continues to be a remarkable expression of our sense of humanitarian responsibility.

"The 2010 total for missionary support through The Advance is also encouraging, indicating a renewed commitment to evangelism, church development, and a wide range of other ministries around the world. We are particularly grateful for increases in designated missionary support in 18 of the 59 US annual (regional) conferences, increases that offset decline in many others.

More Support, More Missionaries

"It is the Board's aim to increase the number of missionaries, and the more support through The Advance the quicker we can do this."

Increases in missionary giving were charted in all jurisdictions, with jumps of more than $100,000 in the Virginia Conference, $90,000 in California Pacific, some $70,000 in Greater New Jersey, $50,000 in Florida, and in the $30,000 range in the Baltimore-Washington, Iowa, and Texas Conferences. The Virginia Conference gave a total of $636,367 to designated missionary support last year.

The Virginia figure accounted for a large percentage of the $1.8 million for missionary support from the Southeastern Jurisdiction, which has the largest membership of the five US jurisdictions. Other jurisdictional totals were: North Central, $1.54 million; Northeastern, $1.0 million; South Central, $925,636, and Western $662,346.

A total of $8,733,106 came through The Advance from sources other than through annual conferences in 2010. Of that, $184,774 was for missionary support and the remainder for projects, notably UMCOR.

Importance of World Service

"World Service remains primary in the funding for our missionaries," said Roland Fernandes, general treasurer of Global Ministries. "Yet designated gifts through The Advance significantly expand our missionary outreach. In addition, the Covenant Relationships between missionaries and congregations promoted by The Advance are among the most effective means of mission education."

The Development Office of Global Ministries, which includes The Advance, puts a strong emphasis on missionary support and covenants in 2010--an emphasis that is continuing. Missionaries are prominent in the ongoing educational initiative called 10-Fold, which presents mission and missionary opportunities through digital communication, including webcasts and social networks. UMCOR projects are also prominent in the 10-Fold emphases.

Making a Difference in the World

"We are reaching a new generation of United Methodists and potential church members through 10-Fold, while underscoring the importance of persons and families that have been involved in mission for many years," said the Rev. Shawn Bakker, associate general secretary for Development and director of The Advance.

"United Methodist people want to make a difference in our world," said Bishop Ward. "We want to relieve suffering, to increase hospitality and healing, to promote peace and well-being. Through The Advance, our hope of impact is realized, even as those helped are a means of grace to us."

Go to: The Advance Financial Reports

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