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World Methodist Council relies on UMC funding

The United Methodist Church will continue to provide the bulk of the financial backing to support the budget of the World Methodist Council for the next five years.

World Methodist Council members attending the PreConference Council Meeting on Aug. 30 approved a proposal by Kirby Hickey, World Methodist Council treasurer, to put the member churches' contributions at $3.2 million to fund operations and mission of the council for 2017-2021.

Per the formula approved by World Methodist Council members, The United Methodist Church in the U.S. will contribute $2.1 million, based on its membership of about 7.2 million and geographic location.

Other United Methodist regional bodies also will contribute, including about $100,000 from central conferences. Globally, United Methodist membership stands at about 12.4 million people.

Altogether, United Methodists will provide nearly 70 percent of funding for the global association of 80 Methodist, Wesleyan and related Uniting and United Churches. The association represents 80.5 million people worldwide.

Bishop B. Michael Watson, the incoming ecumenical officer for the United Methodist Council of Bishops, voiced concern that so much of the budget is provided by United Methodist entities. He urged the World Methodist Council to be "wary of depending too much on the finances of The United Methodist Church."

World Methodist Council members later voted in a new slate of officers to lead the organization for the next five years. The new leadership includes the Rev. J.C. Park of the Korean Methodist Church as president and Gillian Kingston of the Methodist Church in Ireland as vice president.

Hickey, a United Methodist lay member from Pennsylvania, was re-elected treasurer.

The 2016 World Methodist Conference is taking place Aug. 31-Sept. 3. The new council will meet for two days after the conference.

Rev. Maidstone Mulenga, bishop's assistant and director of connectional ministries in the Baltimore-Washington Conference.

One of seven apportioned giving opportunities of The United Methodist Church, the Interdenominational Cooperation Fund enables United Methodists to share a presence and a voice in the activities of several national and worldwide ecumenical organizations. Please encourage your leaders and congregations to support the Interdenominational Cooperation Fund apportionment at 100 percent.

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