The General Council on Finance and Administration, through its office of Philanthropic Services, is involved in developing strategies to assist annual conferences in identifying revenue generating opportunities designed to increase funds for ministry.
Sharon Clapp, Director of the Office of Philanthropic Services, is one of the project coordinators for the GCFA Annual Conference Partnership Initiative. Rev. Clapp and the team recently travelled to the Upper New York, Eastern Pennsylvania, and Tennessee Annual Conferences to host a financial summit. The team members are Moses Kumar, GCFA General Secretary; Gilbert Hanke, United Methodist Men General Secretary; Rev. Dr. Stephen Hundley, Virginia Annual Conference District Superintendent; Rev. Dr. Ken Sloane, Director of Stewardship and Leadership Ministries of the General Board of Discipleship; Scott Brewer, Assistant General Secretary for Connectional Relations for GCFA; and Rev. Brian Bakeman, Oklahoma Conference Treasurer.
Prior to the November event, Bishop Peggy Johnson of the Philadelphia Episcopal area issued a call to prayer from the members of the Eastern Pennsylvania conference. In her appeal to the conference, she stated the purpose of the conference is to "aid the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference to do a better job in telling the story of the United Methodist ministry, improving our stewardship and brainstorming ways to raise funds…This is an example of our general Church apportionment money working for us so that we can do a better job at our mission and ministry." Lay and clergy leaders of the annual conference were invited to the meeting.
In Upper New York, Sherri Mackey, Treasurer and Director of Administrative Services commented "We need to be reminded that we exist to be in service to each other. The GCFA/Upper New York partnership is a very exciting initiative. The time together demonstrated in very real terms the power and benefit of our connectional system." Bishop Marcus Matthews and the entire Cabinet, together with key lay leaders, participated in the conference. Brewer commented that "every engagement is designed and implemented to fit the unique goals and needs of the annual conference. This effort has been a real blessing for our team in helping us listen to the hopes and dreams of annual conference leaders and gain a better understanding of the issues they deal with. Building those connections have been very valuable and moving for GCFA."
Additional forums are scheduled after the first of the year. For more information on the Annual Conference Initiative and programs, contact Rev. Sharon Clapp at GCFA,
firstname.lastname@example.org, 615.369.2383 or Scott Brewer, email@example.com, 615.369.2381.