Conference Claims : LUSENET : A.M.E. Today Discussion : One Thread

How much do you pay for connectional church assessments, also referred to as "conference claims" and how was this amount determined?

Do you pay annually or divvy it up into weekly or semi-annual payments.

-- Anonymous, April 04, 2001


Hello Larry: I wish you had posed this question several months ago when the PE in my District went over these figures at our District Lay Meeting. Unfortunately I was not paying full attention to his remarks and the paper he circulated. My inattentiveness is inexcusable but distractions happen to even the "best" of us :-) I'll ask around to get an answer. QED

-- Anonymous, April 04, 2001

What was once referred to as "Conference Claims" was $4.00 per member per year and was reported at the Annual Conference. This system no longer exists in that form. However, the Connectional Budget is predetermined by the Bishops' Council and General Board and voted on by the General Conference. After the General Conference passes it, it is then divided among Episcopal Districts according to their ability to pay. This is based on such factors as number of churches, number of members and the geographic and economic conditions present in each Episcopal District. Bishops in turn pass this process down through their Presiding Elders who pass it on to Pastors and their Local Churches. Again what is assessed is determined by factors mentioned above. At my church the Official Board has voted to take it from the Church Treasury Account rather than to assess individual members. I believe this is paid twice a year and the Bishop reports it following his Series of Annual Conferences.

-- Anonymous, April 04, 2001

Robert, you are fortunate to be able to have enough in the general treasury to take care of the budget assessment. We keep (and for simplicity, I'll still use the term "conference claims" or "CC") these funds in a separate account and ask each adult member to pay $75.00 per year and organizations are asked to pay $100.00.

One change I would make in your statement about how the amount is determined would be to say "a PERCEIVED ability to pay". Without diealing with figures, the congregation that I attend is one of the larger congegations in the 3rd district, but expenses of running the church are also high and some of the smaller congregations are probably could have a larger share of the budget. BUT we are PERCEIVED to be in better financial shape than we actually are.

-- Anonymous, April 10, 2001

Thank you, Mr. Clark for your comments about the PERCEIVED ability to pay. Not only are the expenses for running the church facilty high but the assessments continue to rise without regard to the dwindling sizes of these congregations due to attrition, just like many other churches in this country. People are elderly, on fixed incomes eaten away by inflation, people die and move out of the neighborhoods into new communities when they can afford it. This denomination pretends not to notice but I'm so glad the Lord sees it all. So many of our buildings are in old, changing neiborhoods and we cannot afford to do repairs or updates in our churches because the conference leave us with nothing to work with let alone attempt an outreach to the neighbors like other churches do that are not so burdened with these huge assessments of over $20,000 a year. The Bill Collectors, (PE's) don't want to hear that the congregatons are hurting. "Just where is the money?" Sometimes I feel like the council and Board who gouge us like this are comparable to the sadducees and pharacees who devoured widows houses like Jesus said. I believe a few people are making their voices heard loud and clear by saying a reality check is needed in the AME Church or there won't be an AME church as it stands now. I see a cloud in the distance the size of a man's fist. Should the King's children be taxed like this? May the Lord have mercy on them.

-- Anonymous, August 14, 2001

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