There are a lot of churches that are curious about what the cost is for a church to disaffiliate from the United Methodist denomination. For the Dakotas UMC, we have an answer, and I have a spreadsheet for you! I love making spreadsheets…no matter the reason for them. Below is the link.
Disaffiliation in most Conference will deal with these three costs according to the Book of Discipline ¶2553:
- Apportionments: The Book of Discipline requires churches to current on the last 12 months of apportionments and then pay an additional 12 months. In the Dakotas UMC, we’ve determined that churches need to be current on apportionments since January 2020, but the additional 12 months will be at 20% the current apportionment rate (i.e., 3%). Part of the reason for doing this had to do with not wanting to “punish” churches for faithfully paying their apportionments even though they may be planning on leaving the denomination.
- Pension Withdrawal Liability: According to the Discipline, no matter how a church leaves the UMC, even through closing, they are responsible for their share of the pension withdrawal liability. In the Dakotas UMC, we calculate this based on years of service, and the money will be escrowed with the Dakotas Methodist Foundation. In the even that General Conference transfers the pension liability to the Global Methodist denomination or any other new Methodist denomination, those funds go back to the church along with any accumulated earnings.
- Property Transfer: All the Discipline says is that the disaffiliating church is responsible for the associated legal costs. In the Dakotas UMC, we also add $1.
- Cost of Disaffiliation Calculator: https://jctaccounting.files.wordpress.com/2022/08/cost_of_disaffiliation.xlsx
- What Income is subject to Apportionments: https://www.dakotasumc.org/media/files/CONFERENCE/5_Conf_Finance_Benefits/Apportionment/Operating_Income_Examples.pdf
- Apportionments Post: https://jctaccounting.com/2022/01/21/understanding-united-methodist-apportionments/
- Pension Liability Post: https://jctaccounting.com/2022/05/10/why-would-my-church-owe-a-pension-liability-if-we-vote-to-leave-the-umc/