When I was called to be your Interim Rector, I was asked to assist the Endowment Committee of St. John’s Church in developing a program to increase the assets of the endowment. I have an interest in seeing parishes ensure the future sustainability of their missions and I also have some experience in developing church endowments. Our committee, with the assistance of the Vestry and Staff, has been putting several elements in place that are necessary for development of this type of giving: an annual professional audit, a gift acceptance policy, concise descriptions of endowment funds, a legacy society, and a list of ways to give to the endowment.
Next week, members of St. John’s will receive an invitation to consider including the endowment in their estate planning. Some may think this comes too soon on the heels of our annual stewardship campaign or have concerns that the church asks for money too often. Those are understandable concerns but there is more to this invitation than that.
The Endowment Committee believes that the momentum for the endowment that has been building should continue during the transition period while I am able to be of assistance. Even more importantly, there is no reason for an appeal on behalf of the endowment to be seen as competing with our ordinary sustaining stewardship because it is a different type of giving. Permit me to explain.
When thinking about giving to Christ and his Church, there are three fairly distinct purses from which Christians share their treasure:
- Stewardship of Current Income – The ordinary day-to-day ministry of the church is sustained by gifts from our current income.
- Stewardship of Accumulated Treasure – Special projects, capital campaigns, emergency appeals, and extraordinary projects are mainly furthered by gifts from treasure that has accumulated over time (savings).
- Stewardship of Residual Treasure – We extend our giving beyond our lifetime through legacy stewardship of retirement savings in the form of bequests from funds, properties, and insurance we will no longer need after we are gone.
The Endowment Committee is inviting us to participate in the endowment by looking to the future and including St. John’s – beyond our lifetime, just as we might include members of our family, our alma mater, or some other cause that is dear to our hearts.
The central message is that we are privileged to be stewards of all of it! Whether spent, saved, or given away, every penny is a sacred trust from God. How can God’s mission at St. John’s be strengthened by the treasure we leave when we no longer need it?
It is exciting to think what can be accomplished by St. John’s if the ongoing mission of the parish is sustained by members giving generously from their current income so that extra sources of income, such as the endowment, can be used for extraordinary purposes. I hope that when the letter from these members of your church family arrives in your mailbox you will read it with an open mind and give the invitation prayerful consideration.
I’ll see you in Church!