August 8, 2019

Raising to the Level of Family

I have been privileged to hear many personal stories about the deep commitment people feel toward their parish. I remember a young woman recounting when she became a single parent and how her parish rallied around her providing on-going emotional support, as well as sometimes buying diapers and assisting with baby-sitting her daughter. To this woman, her parish literally became her support network and extended family.

In every workshop I do on legacy giving from one’s estate, there is one I phrase I say consistently: “When someone makes a planned gift of any kind to their parish, that person raises their congregation to the level of family in their estate plans”. Such a gift demonstrates that someone believes so strongly in the mission and ministry of his/her parish, that they would elevate them to the same status as one of their children or grandchildren for the eventual distribution of their worldly goods. Such a gift is not a simple token but demonstrates tremendous passion and conviction for the future ministry of the parish.

When someone makes this choice -- whether a bequest, remaining IRA balance, insurance policy or residuum of a Charitable Remainder Trust or Gift Annuity – that person offers a testimony: “I want to support my parish’s future ministry and to continue to participate in the mission which became so vital during my lifetime.”

Has your parish home brought you closer to God and to the people God has brought into your life? Do you want others to have an opportunity to have that same experience? Though individuals must reflect on family commitments and what fits them best, a planned gift allows anyone to become literally a part of that future ministry.

To read more reflections like this and to uncover even greater wisdom on ‘creative ways to talk about money in church’ check out The Rev. Charles Cloughen, Jr.’s book: One Minute Stewardship here.