I’ll never forget the feeling I had when I opened that letter. It was addressed to the church from a local attorney, and I had a hard time imagining what it might contain. Was it good news or bad news? Was someone in our congregation in trouble? Was it a marketing letter? Was I in trouble?
Then I opened it and began to read. What the letter contained took my breath away. A dear member of our church who had passed away had made a gift to the church in his will. In fact, he had designated one tenth of his estate—a tithe—to the church. He had never told me about his plans, but in many ways I wasn’t surprised. He had tithed to the church from the moment he joined. It was part of who he was. It was one of the ways he followed Jesus. He had been a faithful and generous disciple in life and was now continuing that discipleship even beyond his death.
To be honest, I had never thought about designating a tithe to the church in my will. David and I have wills. After all, he’s an attorney and works with estates all the time, and we know how important it is to talk openly and to plan. We know how much comfort it can bring to a family when someone has already decided how they want their possessions to be shared after their death. And after receiving this letter, I have some new ideas about how to continue supporting the ministry of the church after we are gone.
Christ UMC has grown to be the vibrant congregation we are today through the grace of God and the generosity of many faithful disciples who have given generously over the years so that we might have a place to deepen our relationship with God, with one another and with God’s hurting world. Many of you have faithfully supported the ministries of this congregation and would like to continue that support after you are gone. To help us talk about these important issues, Christ UMC has established an Endowment Fund. Here are a few words from the chair of our Endowment Committee, Harry Boyko:
“The Endowment Fund was formally established on February 26, 2014, by the unanimous vote of the Board of Trustees. Its purpose is to provide members and friends the opportunity to make charitable gifts to Christ UMC that will become a permanent endowment of financial support and a living memorial. The Fund is intended for purposes that are beyond the church’s regular programs, which are funded through the annual operating budget and the regular giving of its members.
The Endowment Fund is administered by a committee of nine members, which include the Lead Pastor, Church Treasurer, representatives from the Finance Committee and/or Board of Trustees, and six people nominated by the Lay Leadership Development Committee.”
You will be hearing more about the Endowment Fund in the weeks and months to come. For more information, we have a brochure available in the church office. If you have questions, please contact Harry Boyko at 615-377-0056 or Rev. Carol at 615-790-2112.
I am so grateful for all of the faithful disciples who have built the foundations of this congregation’s vital ministry and have led the way with extravagant generosity.