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UMC General Council Admits Excess Funds

April 16, 1998

Give it away or let's give up our non-profit, tax exempt, ‘charity' status!!!

Posted by Stan Sager, Chair, Audit and Review Committee, General Council on Finance and Administration, United Methodist Church.

"A report of excess funds was presented to the General Commission of Finance and Administration by their chief council, who is the originator of the report."

As chair of GCFA's Audit and Review Committee, I believe you will be pleased to read that action was taken last year in response to the size and nature of general agency financial reserves. The report referred to above, originating with GCFA's Committee on Audit and Review, came into existence because the Committee takes seriously the need for faithful stewardship of United Methodist Church resources. The Committee on Audit and Review, acting under its Disciplinaryauthority, recommended to the Committee on Financial Services, which has responsibility for quadrennial budgeting, that the committees jointly consider a policy addressing the level of reserves.

The GCFA Board of Directors, at its fall '97 meeting, unanimously adopted the following recommendation:

...that GCFA formulate a policy to establish logical and explicit maximum, minimum and optimal reserves for general agencies and make spending-down of excessive net assets a part of quadrennial budgeting as well as considering other alternatives for addressing the use of net assets, and that (a staff team with assistance of the GCFA auditors) research and recommend ... a policy based on their findings and that those findings be shared with the Connectional Ministry Funding Patterns Task Force.

The policy guiding the use and level of reserves into the future will impact how apportionments and budgets for the '01 - '04 quadrennium are built.

I believe that GCFA shares the concerns that are being expressed about high levels of reserves at some general agencies, and the 1997 GCFA Board action is a reflection of that concern. We ask for your trust -- and your patience -- that we will do this work, and we will be accountable to the general Church, as is our charge!

Accurate figures on reserves are available by sending a self-addressed, stamped envelope to GCFA, Internal Audit, 1200 Davis St., Evanston, IL 60201. Request "Reserves Report". The information is of public record.

The Committee on Audit and Review comprises 10 persons selected for their expertise. None are staff members.

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