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Churches increase apportionment giving amid pandemic

Posted: February 19 2022 at 04:17 PM

The Northern Illinois Conference is thankful to its many churches for their faithful apportionment giving and celebrates those who paid in full, despite challenging times. In 2021, 198 churches paid 100% of their calculated apportionments compared to 159 in 2020. Forty churches paid over 100% and nearly 50 went the second mile as Mission Links churches. The Conference also celebrates the 42 churches that have consistently paid 100% for ten years. 

Several churches made significant increases in their apportionment giving. Hartzell Memorial UMC in Chicago went from 58% in 2020 to 100% in 2021. Rev. Andrea Davidson, who leads Hartzell, credits the congregation’s deep commitment to connectional giving.

“Over the last three years, we have received a special offering for apportionments on the second Sunday each month,” said Davidson. “As their pastor, I explained that our church can do far more missionally when we join with other churches in our conference and around the world. In giving to apportionments, we give to the larger mission that God is doing through our church locally and globally.”

Davidson says the church’s finance team was also diligent about sending in monthly payments even if designated gifts didn’t cover the full amount, so the apportionment bill didn’t add up and become overwhelming at the end of the year.

“This was, perhaps, the biggest challenge – ensuring that connectional giving was as high a priority as our other financial commitments,” said Davidson. “We are thrilled to have reached this milestone, and give thanks that God has continued to bless us to be a blessing, even in a pandemic.”

Ron DeBaun, part-time pastor at Hope UMC in Joliet, said that like many churches, the past couple of years with the persistent pandemic along with diminishing active membership and giving put them in a difficult financial situation.

“With these reductions, it was getting hard for the church to stay financially solvent,” said DeBaun. “Tough decisions had to be made and unfortunately, paying apportionments became less of a priority to the church. In 2020 the church only paid about 9% of their apportionments.”

During Lent 2021, the church returned to in-person services and DeBaun said they began to see greater engagement. He says that while they were still struggling with giving and expenses, it was getting better when he arrived last July.

“Over the first month or so, more of our church family started to return to worship and financially support our efforts at Hope,” said DeBaun. “Now we are averaging 45 people in service weekly with 60 to 65 coming at least a couple of times a month.”

DeBaun says from the beginning of his appointment, his message to the church leadership and congregation regarding apportionments has been very simple.

“If we as Christians want to lead a righteous life, we need to honor our covenants, just as God honors his covenants with us,” said DeBaun. “I believe that as a member of the Northern Illinois Conference of the UMC, we at Hope have a covenant to pay our apportionments to the conference.”

Grace UMC in Naperville increased to paying 100% of its apportionments for the first time in five years. Senior Pastor Rev. Cindy Marino said the people of Grace are committed to being responsible for sharing God’s generosity with others.

“They are more than aware that if Naperville Grace is experiencing difficulties, it can only mean others are as well,” said Marino.

While Grace was not able to meet the high amount of apportionment originally billed to them, the leadership prayerfully determined that they should commit to at least a tithe of their projected contribution to put aside each month as their share of conference expenses, said Marino, who added that the leadership also restructured staff to lower costs and appealed for a lower apportionment, efforts which helped them reach paying in full.

“This models a biblical basis of giving for our congregation,” said Marino. “Whether as individuals or as the church, we give because it’s what God asks of us as a people of faith.”

The results of being faithful are becoming evident at Grace, said Marino, who added that giving to the operational budget increased for the first time in several years.

“God has been working through the people of Grace, who have stepped up to raise enough in one year for a much-needed new roof. They continue to support ministries that address food insecurity and housing, among others,” said Marino. “It seems being faithful in one area carries over to others.”

The Conference apportionment total 2021 receipts increased 11% from 2020. Because of the increase in giving, the Northern Illinois Conference will be able to pay 100% of its General Church apportionments (one of eight annual conferences) and fund the conference budget for programs and ministries both locally and globally – connecting your church to the world. Read more about denominational giving dropping for the third year.

100% Churches

*indicates above 100% 
^ 10 years in a row

  • Alden
  • Algonquin: Christ
  • Alsip: Christ
  • Antioch *
  • Apple River *
  • Argo Fay *^
  • Arlington Heights: First ^
  • Arlington Heights: Incarnation
  • Blaine
  • Bolingbrook: Crossroads of Faith ^
  • Bolingbrook: Friendship
  • Brookfield Compassion
  • Brookville
  • Buffalo Grove: Kingswood *
  • Burlington
  • Carol Stream: St. Andrew
  • Cary
  • Cedarville
  • Chadwick: Hope *
  • Chana ^
  • Chicago: Adalberto Memorial
  • Chicago: Berry Memorial
  • Chicago: Big Shoulders
  • Chicago: Chicago Lawn *
  • Chicago: Church of 3 Crosses ^
  • Chicago: Clair Christian ^
  • Chicago: Edison Park
  • Chicago: El Redentor/Redeemer of Calvary ^
  • Chicago: Emanuel
  • Chicago: Englewood/Rust *
  • Chicago: Faith
  • Chicago: First (Temple)
  • Chicago: Gorham *
  • Chicago: Grace of Logan Square
  • Chicago: Hartzell Memorial *
  • Chicago: Humboldt Park
  • Chicago: Hyde Park Korean *
  • Chicago: Indo Pak
  • Chicago: Lincoln
  • Chicago: Mandell
  • Chicago: Morgan Park
  • Chicago: Resurrection
  • Chicago: South Shore
  • Chicago: Southlawn
  • Chicago: St. Mark
  • Chicago: Union Avenue
  • Chicago: United Church of Rogers Park
  • Chicago: Wesley ^
  • Chicago: West Ridge
  • Cicero: Wesley
  • Coleta *^
  • Compton *
  • Crystal Lake: First
  • Dakota Rock Grove ^
  • Davis Junction *^
  • Deerfield: Christ
  • DeKalb: First *
  • Des Plaines: First
  • Dixon: First
  • Dixon: Grace
  • Downers Grove: First *^
  • Durand
  • Earlville ^
  • Elgin: First
  • Elgin: Journey of Hope *
  • Elizabeth
  • Elk Grove: Prince of Peace
  • Elmhurst: Christ
  • Elmhurst: First *
  • Erie
  • Esmond ^
  • Evanston: Emmanuel
  • Evanston: First *
  • Evanston: Hemenway ^
  • Evergreen Park: First
  • Fenton ^
  • Flossmoor: South Suburban Korean
  • Forreston
  • Franklin Park: First
  • Freeport: Faith
  • Freeport: Harmony *
  • Freeport: Red Oak ^
  • Galena
  • Geneva
  • Genoa: Faith *
  • German Valley
  • Green Garden ^
  • Hampshire: Zion
  • Hanover *^
  • Harding
  • Harmon ^
  • Harvey: Transformation Community
  • Hinckley: First *
  • Hinsdale *^
  • Hunter ^
  • Itasca: The Center
  • Joliet: Grace
  • Joliet: Hope
  • Kaneville
  • Kingston ^
  • La Moille: Community
  • Lanark
  • Leaf River *
  • Leland
  • Lemont
  • Leon ^
  • Libertyville ^
  • Lockport: First
  • Lombard: First
  • Machesney Park: New Life UMC
  • Malden
  • Malta
  • Manhattan
  • Maple Park: Grace
  • Marengo
  • McHenry: Mount Hope
  • Melrose Park: Cosmopolitan
  • Mendota: First
  • Mendota: Zion
  • Millbrook
  • Milledgeville ^
  • Morris: First ^
  • Morrison *
  • Mount Carroll *
  • Mount Morris: Disciples
  • Mount Prospect: Sam Mool Korean
  • Naperville: Community
  • Naperville: Grace *
  • Naperville: Wesley *
  • New Lenox ^
  • Northbrook: North Northfield
  • Northbrook: Northbrook
  • Norway
  • Oak Park: Euclid Avenue
  • Oak Park: First
  • Oak Park: St. John's
  • Orland Park: Faith *^
  • Orland Park: First Korean
  • Oswego: Good Shepherd
  • Oswego: Wellspring
  • Ottawa: First *
  • Park Forest: Grace United Protestant *
  • Park Ridge: First
  • Paw Paw *
  • Pecatonica
  • Plattville *
  • Polo: Faith
  • Princeton: First ^
  • Red Oak (Bureau)
  • Reynolds ^
  • River Forest
  • Riverside
  • Rochelle
  • Rockford: Aldersgate *^
  • Rockford: Beth Eden *
  • Rockford: Centennial Multicultural
  • Rockford: Christ
  • Rockford: Evans ^
  • Rockford: Grace ^
  • Rockford: Harlem
  • Rockton
  • Roscoe
  • Roselle
  • Savanna: First *
  • Scales Mound
  • Schaumburg: Our Saviour's
  • Seneca: First
  • Serena
  • Shannon: Bethel
  • Sheridan
  • Shirland ^
  • Skokie: Jesus Loves Korean (NFC) *
  • South Elgin: Community
  • Sterling: First
  • Sterling: Wesley ^
  • Steward
  • Stockton: Wesley *
  • Sugar Grove
  • Sycamore *
  • Tampico *^
  • Thomson ^
  • Triumph ^
  • Urban Village
  • Van Brocklin - Florence
  • Waterman ^
  • Wauconda: Federated Church
  • Waukegan: First
  • West Chicago: First
  • Western Springs
  • Wheaton: Gary
  • Wheeling: First Korean
  • Willow
  • Wilton Center Federated Church
  • Winfield: Community ^
  • Winfield: South Asian *^
  • Woodridge
  • Yorkville: Trinity
  • Zion: Memorial 

Mission Links Churches

  • Antioch
  • Argo Fay
  • Arlington Heights: First
  • Brookville
  • Cary
  • Chana
  • Chicago: Humboldt Park
  • Chicago: Wesley
  • Coleta
  • DeKalb: First
  • Des Plaines: First
  • Earlville
  • Elgin: Journey of Hope
  • Esmond
  • Freeport: Faith
  • Galena
  • Hanover
  • Hinckley: First
  • Hinsdale
  • Kingston
  • Leland
  • Lemont
  • Leon
  • Libertyville
  • Lockport: First
  • Manhattan
  • McHenry: Mount Hope
  • Mendota: Zion
  • Milledgeville
  • Morris: First
  • Naperville: Community
  • New Lenox
  • Norway
  • Oak Park: Euclid Avenue
  • Oswego: Good Shepherd
  • Ottawa: First
  • Princeton: First
  • Rockford: Aldersgate
  • Rockford: Christ
  • Rockford: Evans
  • Roscoe
  • Schaumburg: Our Saviour's
  • Sheridan
  • Sterling: Wesley
  • Tampico
  • Thomson
  • Triumph
  • Winfield: Community
  • Zion: Memorial

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