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We are a contemporary spiritual community inspired by the ancient and timeless example of Jesus' life. We welcome all people to join us for worship, service and connection - as visitors, friends or members. We are a Reconciling Congregation, open to full participation of all persons. We celebrate the diversity of race, gender, national origin, religious background and sexual orientation. 

The Church Council passed this resolution on May 20, 2019:

Resolution on Apportionment Payments

Proposed to Church Council on May 20, 2019

This resolution is in response to the adoption of restrictive and punitive language by the 2019 Special Session of the General Conference of The United Methodist Church and major portions which were affirmed and strengthened by the Judicial Council to become part of the Book of Discipline and active in January, 2020.

As the key body of The United Methodist Church is the Annual Conference

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Decisions on the priority of apportionment payments to the General Church and Annual Conference missional priorities are made by the Annual Conference

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Apportionment payments to the General Church go to efforts and agencies that directly contravene the missional commitments of First United Methodist Church in the area of inclusion of all of God’s children, especially those among us who are LGBTQA+. And, the actions of the General Conference have made sanctions and punitive measures aimed at LGBTQA+ persons more severe and include pastors and churches who seek to be inclusive through full membership and the rites of the church

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The Church Council has a stewardship and fiduciary responsibility to the contributing constituents of First united Methodist Church and their commitment to its stated mission, affirmed in the appointment process by the Bishop and Cabinet in 2016

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First United Methodist Church has a long record of 100% payment of apportionments that confirms a broad support of the missional priorities of the Annual Conference and the thrust of ministry across the General Church

Be it resolved: That apportionments through January and February 25th, 2019, be paid in full.

Be it further resolved: That apportionment payments from February 26th, 2019, through June 30th, 2019, be withheld (this is not to include any pension, health insurance or insurance on our building) pending the decisions of the 2019 Wisconsin Annual Conference regarding any petitions that empower the local church and annual conference to pay apportionments that do not support the measures adopted by the 2019 Special Session and move the church in a direction of inclusion and justice.

Be it further resolved: That the Church Council or its appointed Task Force will re-visit this resolution in the next meeting following the Annual Conference with the inclusion of our Annual Conference delegates and the Conference Chancellor to propose next steps. These may include a congregational gathering to bring our constituents up-to-date.

The Church Council ALSO passed this statement on May 20, 2019, To be submitted to the Annual Conference in June, by several Madison Area Churches including First Church.


Proposed Change to Conference Policy

Finance Policy 10.3.0
General Conference Apportionments
The Conference Treasurer shall notify local churches annually of their share of apportionments, separated into two categories: 1) General Conference Apportionments, and 2) the Wisconsin Conference Apportionment. Local churches submitting apportionment payments shall indicate on remittances how much is designated for the various General Conference Apportionments and how much for the Wisconsin Conference Apportionment. The Conference Treasurer shall pay General Conference Apportionments in twelve monthly installments of equal amount on or about the last day of the month. within thirty days of receipt of funds so designated. This policy shall go into effect July 1, 2019.


Rationale
Currently churches must combine support of General Conference and Wisconsin Conference apportioned ministries into the same payment. The proposed language will align support of General Conference ministries with the amount that the local churches actually contribute toward these ministries.
In 2018, the Council on Finance & Administration ordered emergency budget cuts in the middle of the year. Numerous ministries within the Wisconsin Conference were forced to implement severe cutbacks, and several employees of the Wisconsin Conference lost their jobs. However, because of how Finance Policy 10.3.0 is currently written, General Conference ministries were supported at 100%, while Wisconsin Conference ministries received far less than 80%.
More recently, churches have begun withholding apportionment payments, as a protest to the General Conference for its decisions on LGBTQ issues. Although these protests are directed at the General Conference, they will have the unintended effect of significantly curtailing support for local Wisconsin Conference ministries, unless the policy language is changed.

 

The Church Council passed this statement on March 18, 2019:
The Church Council of First United Methodist Church refuses to accept the United Methodist stance that homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching. We affirm the rich diversity of sexual orientations and gender expression as part of God's good creation. All people are beloved children of God embraced by God's prevenient, justifying and sanctifying grace. We are seeking to embody grace and hospitality in the manner of Jesus that will ensure the full inclusion of LGBTQIA+ people in the life of the UMC.