United Methodist Church Experiences Steep Decline in Giving and Some Blame It On Denomination’s Decision to Uphold Biblical Teachings Against Homosexuality

The Rev. Joe Harris presides over the legislative committee while the results of a vote approving the Traditional Plan as amended by 461-359 are displayed. The vote still needed to be approved by the plenary session on Feb. 26, the final day of the special session of the 2019 General Conference of The United Methodist Church in St. Louis, Missouri. | United Methodist News Service/Paul Jeffrey

The United Methodist Church saw a steep decline in regional body apportionment remittances in the months leading up to and following their special session General Conference on LGBT issues held earlier this year.

Delegates at the special session held last February in St. Louis, Missouri, voted to approve a “Traditional Plan” on LGBT issues, maintaining the UMC’s official opposition to homosexuality while strengthening the punishments for disobeying the Book of Discipline’s ban on same-sex marriage and ordination of noncelibate homosexuals.

The UMC General Council on Finance and Administration met last week in Dallas, Texas. There, it was reported that annual conference apportionment remittances to general church funds for the first half of 2019 was $4.6 million less than the first half of 2018.

The United Methodist News Service described the drop as a “financial hangover from the 2019 General Conference” and quoted North Texas Conference Bishop Michael McKee, GCFA board president, noting that as a possible factor.

“There was an initial reaction to St. Louis that just happened dramatically, and I think we ought to name that,” said McKee, as reported by UMNS.

However, Sharon Dean, chief officer of communications for GCFA, would not credit the special session as the reason for the differing numbers, telling The Christian Post on Tuesday that giving to the UMC “increases and decreases over the course of a quadrennium for many, many reasons.”

“The General Council on Finance and Administration apportions to the annual conferences and they do not report why giving increases or decreases during any period of reporting,” said Dean.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Michael Gryboski