Preparing the Way: Baptisms, Connectional Funding and Benefits
By Keith Boyette
The Global Methodist Church celebrates several recent developments – baptisms at a new church plant, the announcement of connectional funding percentages for support of general church and annual conference ministry beyond the local church, and the announcement of a significant development with respect to benefits offered to clergy and lay employees of local churches.
First, Good News of Life Church in Antipolo City, Philippines, a new church plant, conducted the first baptisms of the Global Methodist Church in the Philippines on Sunday, June 26, 2022. Eighteen new believers were baptized in a joyful outdoor ceremony. Rev. Fernando Jose, the founding pastor, is an elder in the Global Methodist Church. Rev. Jose is a former district superintendent and delegate to the General Conference of The United Methodist Church. Together with others, Rev. Jose launched the Good News of Life Church on May 1, 2022, the same day the new denomination was born.
Good News of Life Church has established a dynamic evangelistic outreach ministry to the community. Rev. Jose’s messages are grounded in the message Jesus entrusted to his disciples. The congregation’s vision is to “Reach Out & Make Disciples,” and they enthusiastically embrace the mission of the Global Methodist Church to “make disciples of Jesus Christ who worship passionately, love extravagantly, and witness boldly.”
The congregation has streamed its worship services from its inception and already offers a lively Sunday School and small group ministry, ministries for men and women, and a weekly prayer meeting. Those who attend its services are encouraged to read the Bible daily through a monthly reading plan. The church just concluded their first Vacation Bible School. And the congregation has already planted a new mission church in Mangaldan Pangasinan. The new mission church held its first worship service on July 10 along with a Vacation Bible School attended by 66 children. You can learn more about this exciting new church by visiting its Facebook page. We give thanks for this congregation’s vision, commitment, and passion for Christ.
Recently, the Transitional Leadership Council (TLC) established the percentage of local church annual operating income that will be used in calculating connectional funding contributions for general church and annual conference operations. A recent article, Connectional Funding in the Global Methodist Church, provided important information about this topic. While paragraph 349.4 of the Transitional Book of Doctrines and Discipline establishes ceilings above which connectional funding percentages cannot go, the TLC had not set those percentages until now. Local churches are being asked to contribute one percent of their annual operating income for general church connectional funding, 33 percent less than the ceiling of 1.5 percent. In addition, local churches are asked to contribute one percent of their annual operating income for annual conference connectional funding, substantially less than the five percent ceiling set by the Transitional Book of Doctrines and Discipline. During this season, annual conference connectional funding is being used to seed the organization of provisional conferences and to resource them as they begin operations. Annual operating income is determined by the local church treasurer and ¶ 349.1-3 defines that process.
As the TLC has previously announced, local churches may apply for relief from these connectional funding percentages during the period prior to the convening General Conference. The Council is mindful of the burden many local churches are bearing as they pay significant disaffiliation fees to the UM Church in order to align with the Global Methodist Church. The TLC plans to grant such applications liberally and permit local churches to decide the amount they are able to contribute for connectional funding. Of course, local churches are free to contribute more than the percentage specified for general church and annual conference connectional funding. A number of local churches have reported that their disaffiliation costs were substantially lower than what sister congregations are facing, so they want to step up their funding of the new Church during this transitional period.
Connectional funding is remitted to the Global Methodist Church at 11905 Bowman Drive, Suite 501 A, Fredericksburg, Va. 22408.
Finally, the Global Methodist Church is happy to announce it has finalized negotiations with Wespath. The latter will administer the pension, and health, life, and disability insurance plans for the new denomination. GM Church clergy who are appointed at least half-time or more to serve local churches are already making contributions to the denomination’s Covenant Retirement Plan.
Under the Covenant Retirement Plan, local churches contribute five percent of the pastor’s compensation (i.e., salary plus housing allowance or the benefit of a provided parsonage). In addition, the clergyperson can make a personal contribution up to the IRS maximum for 403(b) plans in any given year. In 2022, the maximum amount is $20,500. Local churches will match up to an additional five percent of a clergy person’s contributions on a percentage for percentage basis. Lay employees of local GM churches may also participate in the Covenant Retirement Plan. However, the amounts a local church and a lay employee contribute may be different from the retirement benefit provided for clergy depending on the plan options chosen by the local church. Full details on the Covenant Retirement Plan will be published on the GM Church’s website in the near future.
The Global Methodist Church’s health insurance plan will be available to all full- and three-quarter-time clergy under appointment to Global Methodist local churches beginning January 1, 2023. Lay employees will also be eligible to be covered by the denomination’s health insurance program under certain conditions specified by the plan. Details on life and disability insurance benefits available to clergy under appointment will also be shared in the coming weeks.
For additional questions about the benefits provided by the Global Methodist Church, please contact the GM Church’s Benefits Officer, the Rev. Rick Van Giesen, at email@example.com or at 217-685-6223.
These are exciting days for the Global Methodist Church as thousands of congregations all around the world are doing all they can to join it.
The Rev. Keith Boyette is the Transitional Connectional Officer of the Global Methodist Church, its chief executive and administrative officer.
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