Memorandum Number 666
Legality of Selective Adjustments in Apportionments to Local Churches.
During the 1991 session of the Maine Conference, Bishop F. Herbert Skeete was asked in writing to make a decision of law on the following question: "Doesthe Council on Finance and Administration have the authority under Â¶ 711.1 to make selective reductions in conference apportionments which include World Service and other apportionments from the General Conference?"
The bishop ruled:
Once it has received from the General Council on Finance and Administration the amounts of the general funds apportioned to the annual conferences, the conference must apportion the same to the churches without reduction (as indicated in Par. 711.1). However, the annual conference may develop an apportionment formula which will raise the amount in full and which could enable local churches facing financial problems to be addressed through an apportionment review program.
The bishop's ruling is correct. Par. 711 gives the Annual Conference authority to determine, upon recommendation of the Conference Council on Finance and Administration, "the methods or formulas by which the approved budgeted amounts for ... apportioned causes shall be apportioned to the districts, churches, or charges of the conference." It is further provided that these amounts may be apportioned "by whatever method the conference may direct, but without reduction."
There is nothing to prevent an Annual Conference from including in its apportionment formula a procedure whereby the Conference Council on Finance and Administration may conduct a review of a local church's finances and make an adjustment in that church's apportionments, so long as the total amount apportioned within that conference for general fund askings is not reduced below the amount apportioned to the conference by the General Council on Finance and Administration.
The proponent of the question does not quarrel with the answer to the question but indicates that the intent of his question was to challenge the apportionment review process. The latter question was not propounded to the bishop and is not before the Council.
The ruling of the bishop is affirmed.