Last week, the Baltimore Washington Conference held its annual meeting. This is the opportunity for pastors, staff and laypersons representing 603 United Methodist congregations across Maryland, the District of Columbia and a sliver of West Virginia gather for worship, receive reports and make decisions about the coming year. Bob Jacobs and Paul Nelson represented Calvary Church.
This is the second time in its 237-year history that the conference met virtually instead of in person. This meant that many of us were watching a computer screen to follow the business and using a cell phone or tablet to vote. I very much missed the chance to gather with colleague and friends from other parts of the conference to catch up, hug, and pray with one another.
As United Methodists, we belong to a larger church that allows us to do the work of ministry in ways that a single congregation cannot. We can learn from the experience of a black church in Baltimore and a Korean congregation in Rockville. We hear about big churches with lots of activities throughout the week and small congregations that have built strong ties to their community. And we get to be part of mission work that goes far beyond our doors.
Each year, Calvary UMC forwards funds to the larger church to pay a wide variety of projects and expenses. Known as a “mission share” or “apportionment” our payments are pooled with those form other congregations to pay for conference ministries, conference administration and communication costs and mission projects both in the United States and abroad. The more a church pays for salaries, utilities, and other operational costs, the more the church pays towards apportionments. In 2021, our apportionment payments are $102,441 out of a total operational budget of $697,500.
Since 2020 was such an unusual year, there was much conversation at annual conference around how to set apportionments in 2022. The final decision means that Calvary Church will see its apportionments go down to $100,209 or about 2%.
I will share more bits about the conference and how it impacts us at Calvary Church as time goes on.