The 215th (2014) Annual Meeting of the Massachusetts Conference overwhelmingly approved the creation of United Church Mission (UCM) as a new way to fund our common mission through our Conference and the National setting of the UCC for those churches that opt in to UCM.
In time, the plan is for United Church Mission to replace Fellowship Dues and Our Church’s Wider Mission (OCWM) Basic Support for those churches that opt in.
The change comes in response to church members who had concerns about the OCWM/Fellowship Dues model, and after more than three years of study, conversation, prayer, and extensive vetting by local church leaders. See the Advantages to the United Church Mission model here.
All churches are encouraged to transition to United Church Mission at the start of their next fiscal year or the subsequent year if more time is needed to accomplish the change.
United Church Mission (UCM) contributions are based on a percentage of the prior year’s total income received by a local congregation as reported in its most recent internal Annual Report. Total income would include general operating income from all sources, as well as general missions giving, but not special giving such as capital campaign contributions, disaster relief, or special offerings.
Churches are asked, initially, to continue to give at least the same proportion of total income represented by Fellowship Dues and OCWM Basic Support contributions, such that the UCM contribution is not less than the combined amount of recent Dues and Basic Support given. Not unlike local church stewardship campaigns, churches will be encouraged to consider increasing this percentage gradually over time as they are able.
When notified of a church’s interest in or desire to move to UCM, Conference staff will contact the church to answer questions, to obtain relevant financial information, and to assist church leaders with presenting the change to the congregation and making adjustments to current budgeting practices. The opt-in deadline to join United Church Mission in 2017 is Dec. 15, 2016. But please LET US KNOW If your church will vote on adopting UCM at your annual meeting in 2017.
If you have questions about or wish to make the transition to United Church Mission, please contact Jonathan New, Associate Conference Minister for Stewardship and Financial Development. Jonathan may be reached at email@example.com or (508) 875-5233 ext. 231.