Endowment funds are long-term funds, and they are appropriately invested in diversified portfolios of varying asset classes based on expectations about how each asset class will perform over the long term – typically, 10 years or more. Asset classes in an endowment portfolio will likely include equities and fixed income, US and international, large caps and small caps, and so on.
Yet in the short term, economic conditions and market forecasts may change. Think of recent events such as Covid and the Ukraine war, as well as stimulus funding, inflation, and interest rate hikes. The upshot – short-term asset class expectations may vary from long-term expectations. In response, some investment managers adjust endowment portfolios over the short term – effectively making tactical decisions – while staying grounded in overarching long-term – or strategic – decisions. This process is intended to add to the return of the portfolio.
Representatives of the congregation bring the people's offerings of bread and wine, and money or other gifts, to the deacon or celebrant. The people stand while the offerings are presented and placed on the Altar.
Book of Common Prayer p. 361
It’s called the Offertory.
When I was a child, my mother would hand me a quarter to drop in the plate that was passed along the pew, adults would add greenbacks, or maybe a check. We don’t see (or hear) that much anymore. Especially since Covid. Now a lot of folks pay their pledges online. Or in some churches, they use a QR code printed in the bulletin to make an offering. Other churches have a place to put checks on a Sunday morning, but don’t process them forward. Still, the Offertory often includes an anthem sung by a choir. In many churches, there is a hymn sung by the congregation in addition or instead. And in some, The Doxology still rings out.
A few years into my priesthood, I began to realize how little I knew about the professional lives of my parishioners. Parishioners with flexible professional schedules often came to meet with me at the church building, but I hardly ever went to their offices or workplaces. I had a little more visibility on the work lives of parishioners who donated their professional services to the church, but even that didn’t feel complete or authentic.
So, I started asking people to invite me to visit them on the job, and “Take Your Priest to Work Day” was born. So far, I have visited a farm, a soap factory, a flight simulator, a grain elevator, a cotton gin, an Army Corps of Engineers construction project, and several other places. I have even petted a possum at our local nature center.
As church leaders we are continuously thinking about communication, whether it’s the clergy pondering their sermon’s effectiveness, the wardens wondering how best to share financial news with the congregation, or the ad-hoc communication team wrestling with the complexities of a hybrid service. We have all said with some variation that The Episcopal Church is a well-kept secret. Many in our wider communities are unclear who and where we are, many life-changing programs offered from the Church Center (815 Second Ave, New York City) and other Episcopal organizations go unheard, and some dioceses are constantly struggling with proving relevance with congregations unaware of the myriad of benefits that the staff provides.
Yesterday afternoon, my husband and I opened the door to our home to unload groceries from the car. The door was open for about 20 seconds before the fire alarms went off in the house. I looked at the security app on my phone, and it said, “excessive heat.”
The “real feel” here in Phoenix was somewhere around 119 degrees, and when the security alarm rep called, he said that having that inferno blow past the heat sensors in our alarm system was enough to set it off, because the change in temperature in the house was so rapid and so extreme, it mimicked that of a fire.
Later that evening, we stepped into the back yard to go for a swim. For the first time in the 18 years that we’ve lived here, something felt wrong. Though we’ve become accustomed to excessive heat, especially during July, this was different. It was oppressive on a level that we’ve never felt.
A healthy diet is a balanced diet that includes a wide variety of foods in appropriate proportions. Each food group serves a different purpose – dairy products provide calcium for strong bones, carbohydrates provide energy, and fruits and vegetables provide vitamins and minerals. A body’s immediate needs may fluctuate, but over time all food groups work together to provide the nutrients that a body needs to function properly.
How does this relate to endowment investing? Like a healthy diet, a healthy long-term investment portfolio contains different types of investments – stocks and bonds, for example – that serve different purposes. At the simplest level, stocks may provide long-term growth despite going up and down in value over the short term. Bonds may provide steady income without necessarily appreciating in value as a company grows. Together, over time, they provide important balance in an investment portfolio.
On my birthday, I took our Boxer, Dustin, to the vet because he had a bad cough that had persisted for a day. He hadn’t slept the night before, wandering the house rather aimlessly. This was not in any way keeping with his usual sleep habits that we had grown accustomed to over the past 10 years.
We live in the desert, and our first thought was Valley Fever, a common illness among dogs. I left Dustin at the vet for his exam, and when I went back to pick him up, the look on the vet’s face said it all: something was terribly wrong.
His chest cavity was filled with 400 milliliters of fluid. Worse still, there were spots on his lungs that were indicative of cancer. The doctor said that it would not be inappropriate to ask him to put Dustin to sleep.
In March of 2020, as businesses, churches, and schools began to close, and we started to grasp the gravity of the COVID-19 pandemic, our former Rector answered the call to become a Bishop in another diocese.
The grand celebration that we had planned to thank him for his 11 years of service to our parish was scrapped. On his final Sunday, after the 11 AM Mass, there were elbow bumps instead of hugs, tears of sorrow and fear instead of joy, and a sense that something ominous was descending on us.
At first glance, parishes and banks look as different as apples and oranges. Upon a closer look, however, the differences run far deeper than superficial appearances. One institution is a collective — a cooperative—in which individuals pool their treasure, time, and talents to create a social and spiritual community that serves its members and their communities in their search for a deeper relationship with God. The other is a bank. A bank lends money for the purpose of making profit for profit’s sake. The very mission of the bank is to concentrate community wealth in its investors’ hands. Its corporate vision is to grow larger so it can lend more and concentrate more wealth. This is not to say all banks are bad, or that none of them maintain a deep commitment to their communities. But make no mistake, the bank serves the dollar above all else and worships profit.
If you're like me, you feel like you're running around all day, every day. I wake up at 4:15am nearly every day, and then it's work and school and sports practices and cooking and housework and everything else that comes with life.
So this past week on vacation I've been learning to waste time. And if I'm right that your busyness often resembles mine, you might need some help in that area, too. Wasting time this week has helped me reorient my sense of self, build and deepen connection with loved ones, and renew my relationship with God.
It was lunchtime on Wednesday, May 18, 2016, when I sat in cool red-brick nave of Trinity Episcopal Church in Baytown, Texas. It wasn’t my church, but I found myself desperately in need of a sanctuary—someplace quiet to grieve the United Methodist Church I loved and to pray for its leaders. At the time, I served on the board for Reconciling Ministries in the Texas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, and we were facing an uphill battle. Again. It was General Conference—the every-four-year meeting to set the governance of the global Church, and we were in trouble. Conservative factions had managed to pass bills that took the Church back 70+ years to a time before women’s rights. It wasn’t just about the gays this time; the Church was after women. Only a few months into the discernment process, I felt something inside me break that day. I still felt called to ministry, but I knew it could no longer be in the UMC. I remember saying that, even if the Church did want me, I no longer wanted it back.
An endowment is a powerful tool for churches to use to achieve long-term financial stability. An endowment is money designated for the long term to serve both current and future needs. A portion of the endowment can be used each year to support the church’s mission while the remaining amount helps ensure its long-term sustainability. In this post, we will discuss three critical aspects of structuring an effective endowment fund: organizing, investing, and growing.
Organizing the Endowment
If you're thinking of setting up an endowment fund or revising an existing one, here are some basic principles you should consider:
My name is Westley Art Hodges, my pronouns are he/they, and I am the Director of Music Ministries at St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Evanston, IL. I am honored to be asked to share my experience as a queer person in our church.
I found the Episcopal Church when I was 22. I found the Episcopal Church out of desperation, which with queer folx, seems to be a common theme. My 22nd year of life was a big year for me and my identity, or should I say—owning my identity. In June of 2007, I had just been fired from my third position as Director of Music in a Baptist Church in South Mississippi. Now I have your attention!
Welcome to ECF’s curated collection of LGBTQ+ resources. At ECF, we are guided by a commitment to love and justice, seeking to create an inclusive space where all voices are heard and celebrated. Our hope is that these resources and the ideas they spark help us embark on a journey of understanding inclusion and acceptance through Christ’s eyes, honoring the sacred worth of every individual.
Note: We will update this list as new resources are made available. If you have a relevant resource to share, please send it to email@example.com
I. LGBTQ+ Resources at The Episcopal Church and Dioceses
LGBTQ+ and the Church: The Episcopal Church’s stance on LGBTQ+ inclusivity and resources, such as:
LGBTQ+ Pride Issue of Vestry Papers by the Episcopal Church Foundation:
ECF’s first celebration of Episcopal LGBTQ+ laity and ministry
Anyone involved in ministry, either as clergy or as a dedicated lay volunteer, knows that work in the church can inexplicably be joy-filled and spiritual yet exhausting and overwhelming - all in the same breath. We often experience work like Jesus’s parable of the Sower (Luke 8, Matthew 13). Some of our work is fruitful right away but dies quickly. Other work gets trampled on or eaten by birds…proverbially. Other work still falls on deaf ears or dies in committee. But, real growth happens in the darkness and stillness of night, when the good seed, planted in ripe soil, has a chance to take root and grow, to absorb water and nutrients and, when the time is right, break out into the sunlight.
I had the privilege of participating in a pilgrimage to the Holy Land sponsored by St. Bartholomew’s Church in New York City – May 17 – 27, 2023. I also had the pleasure of sharing this powerful experience with my son David who is the rector of the Church of the Heavenly Rest in Abilene, TX. There were 24 of us on this trip led by Bishop Dean Wolfe, Rector of St. Bart’s and our local tour guides, Canon Iyad Qumri and Rami Qumri. Iyad and Rami are Palestinian Christians with an extensive background and knowledge about the history, culture, geography, architecture, and politics of one of the most sacred and volatile places on earth. In addition to their knowledge and experience, Iyad and Rami also shared their personal stories and struggles of what it means to be Palestinian living in the modern state of Israel. We learned that the number of Christians in the Holy Land has declined precipitously over the last several years representing only about 2 percent of the total population. Many Palestinian Christians have left the area because of the political turmoil and the unrelenting restrictions on their personal liberties.
The work of Racial Justice and Reconciliation is hard but necessary for us to, indeed, be a beloved community.
As Christians, we believe that we are all created in the image and likeness of God. Jesus came down to earth and reaffirmed that fact with his message of love. This message was so powerful that he even got in trouble with many of the leaders of his day. When asked what the greatest commandment is, he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22: 36-40)
Yet, we still have division and hatred in our world. So why is it so hard to love one another?
El trabajo de la Justicia Racial y la Reconciliación es arduo pero necesario para que realmente seamos una comunidad amada.
Como cristianos, creemos que todos hemos sido creados a imagen y semejanza de Dios. Jesús bajó a la tierra y reafirmó ese hecho con su mensaje de amor. Este mensaje era tan poderoso que incluso se metió en problemas con muchos de los líderes de su época. Cuando le preguntaron cuál era el mandamiento principal, respondió: "—“Ama al Señor tu Dios con todo tu corazón, con toda tu alma y con toda tu mente.” Éste es el más importante y el primero de los mandamientos. Pero hay un segundo, parecido a éste; dice: “Ama a tu prójimo como a ti mismo.” En estos dos mandamientos se basan toda la ley y los profetas". (Mateo 22: 36-40 DHH)
Sin embargo, todavía tenemos división y odio en nuestro mundo. Entonces, ¿por qué es tan difícil amarnos los unos a los otros?
I was recently asked, “Are you fully out in the church?” This prompted me to recall the series of church events, which thrust my coming-out experiences.
Coming out is an everyday experience in the world and in the church. I came out in my early 40s in response to a call for an LGBT (we didn’t have the “Q” yet) ministry in my first parish, Grace Church Van Vorst (GCVV) in Jersey City. It was 1998 and the Rector issued an invitation to the lay leaders of our congregation to initiate outreach to the LGBT community. He added, “it would be wonderful if that person is also a member of the LGBT community.” I got up and without missing a beat said, “I am, and I will do it.” All jaw bones dropped and the rest is history.
Hace poco me preguntaron: "¿Has salido tu totalmente del armario en la iglesia?". Esto me llevó a recordar la serie de acontecimientos en la iglesia que impulsaron mis experiencias de salida del armario.
Salir del armario es una experiencia cotidiana en el mundo y en la iglesia. Salí del armario a los 40 años de edad en respuesta a un llamado para desarrollar y establecer un ministerio LGBT (todavía no teníamos la "Q") en mi primera parroquia, Grace Church Van Vorst (GCVV) en Jersey City. En 1998 el rector invitó a los líderes laicos de nuestra feligresía para que iniciaramos un alcance a la comunidad LGBT. Dijo además: "sería maravilloso que esa persona fuera también miembro de la comunidad LGBT". Me levanté y sin perder un segundo dije: "Yo lo soy y yo lo haré". Todos se quedaron boquiabiertos y el resto es historia.