Having just come from our first Church Council Committee meeting after taking a couple of months off over the summer, we discussed our Church obligation relative to Mission Shares. For those that are new to the Methodist Church, or perhaps those that just never familiarized themselves with what Mission Shares are, we thought this would be a good forum to provide some context as to what exactly are “Mission Shares”. More importantly, we will provide some context as to why are they so important to the vitality of not only our local church, but the United Methodist Church and the world in general.
This is certainly more than can be covered in one blog entry, so over the next month or so, we will be providing additional information and context relative to Mission Shares. For this entry, we will focus on the areas that Mission Shares support.
Basically, they provide support in three areas: World Missions, New England Missions, and Ministry Support. Each is detailed below.
Fund 1 – World Missions
- Provides funding to General Conference ministries through World Service, the Black College Fund, and Africa University
- Supports the General Episcopal Fund and Episcopal office operation
- Supports the Ministerial Education Fund
- Supports 13 United Methodist seminaries
- Supports ministerial education programs carried out by the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry Division of Ordained Ministry
- 25 percent of the funds stay in the conference, providing scholarships for seminary education and ministerial continuing education
Fund 2 – New England Missions
- Provides salary and support for Camp Aldersgate, Camp Mechuwana, Rolling Ridge Conference and Retreat Center, and Wanakee United Methodist Center
- Supports the Rhode Island United Methodist Association, Spiral Arts, Urban and Town & Country ministries, addressing the needs of the poor and marginalized in their communities
- Funds campus ministries at Bridgewater State College
- Provides support for our covenants with Iglesia de Christo in Nicaragua and The West Angola Conference
- Congregational development work in forming new congregations and re-invigorating existing faith communities
- Regional youth councils and CCYM
- Provides salaries for conference resource staff
Fund 3 – Ministry Support
- Assures pastoral leadership for congregations all across the New England Conference who are unable to provide an acceptable minimum salary
- Provides salaries and office support for District Superintendents
- Funds activities of the Board of Ordained Ministry as it provides oversight and support to candidates for ministry
- Supports the legislative work of the General, Jurisdictional and Annual Conferences
- Maintains historical records and documents of our churches
- Maintains conference-provided housing for District Superintendents and conference staff
- Supports the New England Conference United Methodist Center that provides ministry resources to local churches
- Provides property/liability and workers compensation insurance coverage for conference camps/retreat center enabling campers fees to be lower
- Provides salaries for conference administrative ministry staff
The next entry will cover Rockville United Methodist Church’s financial obligation to each of these three areas.