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UM News Service Georgia Mt. Bethel Church Report in Error

UMAction Responds to UMNS Story

by Mark Tooley - June 5, 1998

A United Methodist News Service story of June 3 ("Georgia Church Reverses Decision to Withhold Funds") quoted the allegation of the pastor of Mt. Bethel United Methodist Church in Marietta, Georgia that UMAction had distributed incorrect information to members of his church. Specifically he was quoted as saying that UMAction had confused liquid assets with property and buildings when reporting on the large assets of some United Methodist agencies.

UMAction has not published any information about the assets of United Methodist agencies. The quotation from the pastor of Mt. Bethel UMC seems to reflect confusion between UMAction and the publication of another organization. The pastor has expressed regret over the quotation. And the story’s author has said she plans to publish a clarification.

Information about the assets of national church agencies has been available on the internet and was published in the newsletter of another United Methodist renewal group.

UMAction is concerned about the very large assets of some church agencies. We do plan to give this issue some attention in the future. In doing so, we will specify what assets are restricted and not restricted in their use.

Our largest United Methodist agency, the General Board of Global Ministries, reported assets of $402 million at the end of 1997. According to the board’s budget disclosure, property assets stood at only $5.5 million. Cash and stocks comprised the majority of assets. Cash assets were listed as $51 million. Marketable securities were at $258 million. Forty percent of the assets, or $160 million, were unrestricted. Thirty-four percent were temporarily restricted. Just over one fourth of the assets were permanently restricted. The board’s expenses in 1997 were just over $131 million. Total revenue for the board in 1997 was over $192 million.

Anyone who wishes to receive UMAction info should send their mailing address and fax number to UMAction

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