With our denomination’s own finances declining, we cannot afford to keep carrying dead weight.
Decades of steady U.S. membership decline are finally catching up with the United Methodist Church. Some parts of our bloated denominational bureaucracy are now being forced to make significant cuts.
But one area where denominational expenditures have remained relatively high is in funding the notoriously leftist National Council of Churches (NCC).
For years, IRD has documented serious problems with the National Council of Churches (NCC), from our high-profile exposes of its funneling American offering-plate money to pro-Marxist groups during the Cold War to its more recent zeal for demonizing and opposing more conservative Christians to its ongoing exploitation of the names and resources of its affiliated churches to promote divisive, partisan political causes. With yawning predictability, the NCC continues devoting its energies to supporting whatever the lefty political priorities of the day are, such as defending a large welfare state, gun control, liberalized immigration, one-sided critiques of Israel, and opposing U.S. policy towards Cuba. NCC rhetoric can tend to suggest that there is no room for disagreement within the body of Christ on such issues, and that there is no place in the already-shrinking NCC-affiliated churches for people uncomfortable with offering-plate funding of the NCC’s knee-jerk leftist activism. We have also documented how the NCC sometimes promotes liberal agendas on sexual morality and abortion, in direct opposition to the positions of many of its own member communions.
Efforts to confirm details of NCC finances are somewhat hindered by the NCC’s now having an official policy, according to an NCC staffer’s email to IRD, “not to disclose financial records to the public.” The broadly worded nature of staffer Lisa Greer’s terse explanation of the NCC’s commitment to financial non-transparency contrasts with the fact that at last Springs NCC governing board meeting, I asked for and received copies of some NCC financial information, albeit not as much as was made available in previous years. And it of course raises questions about what exactly the NCC is trying to hide from the church members whose money they take and for whom they purport to represent.
In any case, the information presently available indicates that total UMC denominational contributions to the NCC have declined only slightly (and not consistently) over the last half-dozen years to $425,541 in the last calendar year. The UMC’s 2012 contributions amounted to between 32 and 37 percent of the NCC’s annual denominational income by that point, similar to our earlier contribution percentages.
At the last NCC governing board meeting, the NCC formally adopted a policy of not expecting to have any one NCC member communion contribute more than 25 percent, with the added caveat they will still “gladly accept all donations.” It is unclear how much this policy will actually change in practice.
In any case, even 25 percent of denominational income is high for the UMC, since our 7,526,642 U.S. members constitute just 18.8 19 percent of the 40 million U.S. members of NCC-affiliated churches.
Roman Catholic, some Eastern Orthodox, and the bulk of Protestant churches are not NCC-affiliated.