New England Conference
Conference Council on Finance and Administration
Rev. Ralph W Howe, Chair
April 12, 2019
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
Across the connection there is great concern over the outcome of the General Conference 2019 (CG19). Your Council on Finance and Administration (CCFA) has been focused on this and how our Conference and local churches will wish to respond.
I am working with those drafting resolutions for Annual Conference to provide accurate information and to support measures that will position our Conference and local churches as well as we can for what appears to be a division of The UMC, unless the prevailing side at CG19 relents in 2020.
Many have asked questions about where our General Church Apportionments (Fund 1 on your Mission Share billings) go in the church. To that end, Bishop Devadhar has already obtained a statement from the General Council on Finance and Administration (GCFA). I am providing that to you all as an attachment to this letter.
In the passions of the times, it is important to see that the highly diffuse structure of the denomination benefits an even more diverse array of programs, persons and objectives. We find it difficult under this structure to get the emotional satisfaction of applying consequences to those who have voted to exclude the vast majority of Methodists in our Conference from the full life in Christ that we seek.
The CCFA has voted that we will pay 2019 Fund 1 remittances to GCFA each month, but do not plan to pay above what local churches remit using our dwindling reserves.
CCFA is looking forward to learning the informed will of our Annual Conference in June as to how to proceed beyond this. To that end, I am looking into various alternatives and listening to what other annual conferences are proposing with respect to payment of General Church Apportionments. I hope after May 1, 2019 to have further information to share with you all.
Please be in prayer about the call of God to our personal souls, our local churches, our conference and denomination or any new denomination that may be created. God’s wisdom may not be what we sense at first blush. It may not be all that satisfying to us, as the Wesley Covenant prayer so clearly puts it. But we are, I think, called to a time of decision, action, and sacrifice — a kairos moment — when we must choose to follow God’s call or find ourselves wandering far longer in the desert of our opinions and narrow interests.
Also, please be in loving prayer for those in our midst and those who have not felt welcome yet in our midst who are most personally and adversely affected by the decisions of GC19 and the previous legislation on human sexuality. Take time to listen, to support and to embrace ALL.
Yours in Christ,
Rev. Ralph W Howe
General Funds - New England Conference