Please reference Schedule A and Schedule B for a summary of the conference budget through December 2014. As a result of the faithful giving of EPA local churches to the connectional ministries fund or CMF we ended 2014 with a very strong result of $3,309,573. While this was short of the budget goal of $3.4 million by $90,427, it was a reasonable variance. Given the ongoing struggles of many churches we are pleased and grateful for the commitment made by many to support this vital ministry.
Schedule D shows monthly giving by churches to the connectional ministries fund from 2008 to 2014, a period of seven years. Giving totaled $499,439 in the month of December 2014. This was the largest amount received in any single month during the seven year period. Giving was lagging compared to 2013 through the first eight months of the year. The Conference Council on Finance and Administration (CCFA) was concerned about the drop in receipts. The committee took action, sent a letter to every pastor offering help, and made a number of follow up calls. We thank the fiancé committee for their work and we especially thank all of the local churches for their strong commitment to this ministry. There were 347 or 82% of all churches (Schedule E) that paid over 50% to CMF and 295 churches or 70% of all churches paid 100% of the CMF apportionment in 2014.
The conference expense budget was managed very effectively in 2014 by all committee, boards, agencies and others. Total expenses were $2,797,460, $136,779 or 4.7% less than the 2014 budget of $2,934,239. In addition, the 2014 conference budget included a line item of $500,661 to be directed to the Pre-82 Unfunded Liability and the year ended producing $547,013 to the Pre-82 Pension Liability. Lower expenses helped to offset the shortfall in giving. In the first three years under resolution 2012-21, the conference budget has directed a total of $1,278,394 to the Pre-82 Pension Liability.
Schedule C is a summary of all funds billed to the EPA local churches showing the amount billed, amount paid and balance remaining. This information is reported for the current year through December 2014 with comparative information for the previous year at the same period. In addition, the schedule shows the paid results for two previous full years, 2012 and 2011. Through December 2014 a total of $16.3 million or 90% of the total billed was paid by local churches for all funds. This is the fourth year in succession (2011-2014) that churches have paid 90% of the total billed for all funds.
Schedule E, is a chart depicting the giving in 2014 for the three apportioned funds (CMF, WSF, GCF) and for some of the larger billed funds (RCPHO, former Direct Bill, CRSP Defined Benefits, Property & Liability, and Clergy Group Insurance). We are most grateful for churches that paid 100% or a significant percentage of what was billed. However, as the chart shows there are a significant number of churches that are paying less than 50% and some churches paying nothing at all. A full report listing all funds for all churches is provided each month to CCFA and the Cabinet.
To date, a total of $118,718 has been incurred for expenses related to Rev. Frank Schaefer’s trial and other complaint expenses.
There is good news to report in that the most recent figure received in October 2014 from the General Board of Pension & Health Benefits shows the Pre-82 unfunded liability for the conference at $8,290,272, a decline of $2 million from the unfunded liability figure from a year ago. The 2014 conference budget included a line item of $500,661 to be directed to the Pre-82 Unfunded Liability according to Resolution 2012-21. The year ended producing $547,013 to the Pre-82 Pension Liability. This sum will be added to the balance in the account at December 31, 2014 of $774,464.66, bringing the total to over $1.3 million in the first three years.
As to the strategy in the resolution on church sales, since the resolution was passed there have been four church sales that generated net proceeds of $398,516. Fifty percent (50%) or $199,258 has been directed to the Pre-82 Pension Liability and the balance in the account as of December 31, 2014 is $215,625. A total, from these two strategies directed to the Pre-82 unfunded liability after three years is $1.5 million
Fulfilling Our Covenant Stewardship Campaign is the third strategy included in Resolution 2012-21. The goal was to raise a minimum of $3 million. As of December 31, 2014, a total of $3.9 million has been pledged from individuals and churches. The total paid as of December 31, 2014 was $1.9 million with $234 thousand going to the churches participating in a local campaign and campaign expenses totalling $353 thousand. This leaves a net balance of $1.3 million from this strategy.
The grand total for all three strategies is $2.8 million at the end of 2014. Separate accounts for each fund are established at Fulton Bank and managed by the Mid Atlantic Foundation of the United Methodist Church.