United Methodist conference faces ‘Unprecedented Financial Crisis’ after election of lesbian bishop

BY MICHAEL GRYBOSKI
(PHOTO: SCREENGRAB/VIMEO/ ROCKY MOUNTAIN CONFERENCE UMC)

Yellowstone Annual Conference, a part of the UMC Mountain Sky Area, released a report earlier this month which noted that they’ve experienced an “unprecedented level of deficit that could end normal operations of the conference.”

The report went on to state that lesbian Karen Oliveto’s election as bishop “is only one of many factors,” adding that “death and loss of significant givers” among local churches is another.

Jeff Walton of the theologically conservative Institute on Religion & Democracy, broke the story on Wednesday, noting that the Conference’s longstanding decline in financial giving has accelerated since Oliveto took office.

“The Yellowstone Annual Conference has faced a loss of income of $30,000 a year from 2014 through 2016, but the presentation reports that in 2017 this loss has grown to $25,000 a month under 2016 income levels in 2017,” wrote Walton.

“Forecast income for 2017 is projected to be $935,000, while the forecast deficit is $303,356. At the start of 2017, conference reserves were only $294,000.”

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