Richmond First United Methodist News and Events
Here is the sermon we heard last Sunday from Susan Peters, Executive Director of the California-Nevada Foundation. We are moving forward with our plan to encourage giving toward the long-term future of our church. Check out the Foundation web site for more information.
Love and Hope,
Will Elizabeth Remember God? – Your Legacy to Future Generations
By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.
Corinthians 3: 10-11
Fred Craddock, awell-known theologian who passed away just recently, was known for his wonderful story-telling. He shared this experience from many years ago as a hospital chaplain in North Carolina. Fred went to the hospital one afternoon to call on patients. While there he happened upon a family of parents and grandparents standing at the nursery window admiring their first-born child and grandchild.
These people were all gathered around to see a beautiful if red faced little girl named Elizabeth, crying. Fred happened to notice that Elizabeth’s father was standing off in a corner.
Fred approached this young father and asked if hewas all right. The father said, “I know why Elizabeth is crying”. Fred asked why and the father said, “Elizabeth is angry”.
When Fred further questioned the father he said that he could just imagine that Elizabeth was quite angry for being delivered into this crazy unpredictable world. After all he said, “Elizabeth had just come from being with God where she was safe and secure in the love of God” and he could understand her anger. Fred asked this young father a very important question. Fred asked, “Do you suppose
Elizabeth will remember God”?
When I was a small child, I remember attending the church in the rural California foothill community where I grew up. It was a simple, wood-beamed church with clear windows looking out into the beautiful countryside. My parents helped build this church, both literally and financially. My dad served on the church board, and my mother sang in the choir. All our friends in town belonged to this church, and the building and the people were a very important part of our lives.
In the front of each hymnal was a bookplate acknowledging that the hymnals were a gift from my parents in memory of my grandfather, who was a Methodist lay preacher in Kansas around 1900.
The hymnals and their nameplates record memories and bear witness to lives that gave much to our church and our community. They recall gifts and sacrifices and hard work that enabled our congregation to serve faithfully in years past. It was not for themselves that they worked so hard but for those they loved, for those whom they were concerned about and for those who would come after them like you and me and Elizabeth and all the children of this church now and in the future..
We are grateful for the gift of our church buildings-large and small. We are grateful for the light that filters through our windows. But most of all, we are grateful for the persons memorialized in hymnals and other gifts. Their lives help us see the connection between that past and the present. Because they gave of themselves, we can enjoy the fellowship and nurture of the Church. Because my friends it is here where you and I remember God.
Today, you and I and all United Methodist are called upon like the skilled master builder to build a foundation for future generations of church members who will look at hymnals my parents gave and remember God. It is hard to imagine the future, but one way of having a part in it is to pledge ourselves to making sure our church’s ministries will be there for future congregations. We do this for the sake of those whose names adorn our present churches. And we do this for the sake of those future singers who will look at the hymnals my parents gave and remember God. A congregation can begin its vision for the future by establishing an endowment and encouraging members to support it.
Endowments have a number of benefits for donors:
† A way to return God’s love through extended church, family and friends to future generations
† A gift that keeps on giving – aids current ministries through use of income, while principal is allowed to grow
† A continuation of our principles of Christian stewardship, recognizing that all we have is a gift from God
Giving to endowment funds must be conceived and offered as part of a theologically sound, holistic approach to stewardship education. When we give we want to know that we are investing in people’s lives and destinies. We want to feel that we have made a lasting contribution to our church and for a better world. We want to know that our lives have touched others, many of whom we will never meet.
One person gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he or she should give, and only suffers want. A liberal person will be enriched, and those who
water will themselves be watered. It is possible to give away and become richer! Proverbs 11:24-25
In the nearly 30years I have been privileged to work in the field of development and planned giving, I have met with many people who grapple with the shock and surprise of two facts: first, that the American dream of having high-paying jobs, owning one or more homes or cars, and having a sizeable bank account doesn’t make them as happy as they had imagined it would. Second, that having money and owning lots of stuff can create as many problems, both financially and spiritually, as not having any money or stuff. Caring for what we own costs time and energy which needs to be taken from somewhere.
The question is what is enough money. In our consumer driven society we never seem to have enough money. The question it seems to me is your question: Am I being a good steward of the resources God has given me? And yes, money is a blessing when you understand it. Spiritually, trying to keep money can indeed be as much of a problem as trying to get it.
Millions of Americans seem to be chasing their money with very little idea of what they will do when they catch it. We quote phrases such as “you can’t take it with you” and “money can’t buy happiness”, but we don’t really operate that way do we? We don’t think about what accumulated money can or should mean for us as Christians.
For Christians accumulated money can provide three things. First, money provides us a place to live, food to eat, and clothes to wear. Money provides our family not only with the basic needs, but also with education and preventative health care. On a larger scale, money has
been used to send missionaries, translate bibles, build universities and medical schools, train doctors and teachers, and find cures for diseases. Money can only go so far in providing security and peace of mind, but it IS necessary for the basic needs of food and shelter (and those things we do enjoy in life).
Second, accumulated money and time is most helpful when invested so that it does what it can for others. As investors, we control a large pool of productive resources. It is our responsibility to consider how those resources affect humanity as well as how much return they produce for us.
Third, accumulated money may be given slowly over the years, or as a one-time estate settlement, to those people, churches and United Methodist agencies and other charities that make a significant difference in the lives of others. Proper planning can make this as efficient as possible.
Educating yourselves about Planned Giving is important for everyone in your congregation, so that you may give a portion of your accumulated assets to those loved ones you will leave behind, and have the opportunity to leave a testimony about what you believe and value about charity, about our neighbors, and about the church and its agencies.
Planned giving is what its name implies: one simply plans to give in the future. It is a complement to, not a replacement for, regular and ongoing support for the causes one cares about. Planned gifts are a wonderful way to leave a legacy to your church’s endowment.
† Endowment gifts provide an annual reminder of the faith and witness of each donor
† Multiplies giver’s gift by putting it with others’ money so it grows, under professional management
† Encourages givers to choose to endow their annual pledges, tithe their assets, or give a percentage of what they have received over a lifetime
† Shows potential givers that the local church knows how to use major gifts for ministry, focused on mission and financially accountable
† Offers a tax deduction, reduces estate taxes, and avoids capital gains taxes
† Gives church members and friends the opportunity to give the largest gift of their lives to support their favorite ministries and personal priorities
I believe the church has amission to respond to the need for congregation members to be good stewards of the assets they have accumulated in their lifetime. This is part of the varied means of responding with one’s gifts to God’s call. The church, through its teaching, preaching, counseling, and administration, enables itsmembers to become better stewards of their assets for the sake of themselves and their families. Drawing a will and preparing an estate plan are acts of stewardship.
It is interesting to note that 7 out of 10 Americans die without a Will. Not only families lose, but churches, universities and charities depend upon being names in wills for their continued existence. In the next 15-25 years, it is estimated that the largest transfer in history of accumulated assets will occur.
I’ll share a story that illustrates this point:
Tina was a very lovingperson in her local church. Because she had no children of her own, she adopted many in the
congregation. She asked questions, celebrated successes, and remembered important dates. She was an organized, detailed person, with a sense of responsibility. Last fall she was diagnosed with cancer,yet she continued with asmuch energy and gusto as she had at her command. While visiting one day, her pastor discussed her death and her funeral arrangements. Apparently, all details had been cared for. Following her death, her family asked the pastor questions about her attorney, her papers, her wishes, and in particular — where was her will? They searched everywhere. It was not to be found. Family members told the pastor stories of Tina’s wish to leave the church a substantial gift.
Where was the will? It was never made. Talked about. Outlined. But never executed. Tina’s intentions were strong during life. Her wishes were heard and usually respected. It was hard to believe she hadn’t followed through. Too bad that Tina’s wishes were not legally binding. If only she had communicated her wishes in writing with her family, her attorney, or other trusted advisor.
One perplexed pastor friend of mine asked one of the
members of his church why he had just given 25 million dollars to the University in town knowing that he had given so little to the church. The donor said because they asked. The reality is many times in the church we are denying people a chance to give by not asking and provide them the opportunity to do what they really want to do.
Giving to the church through your estate is an investment in the future ministry of the church. Endowment giving is a response to what God has so abundantly bestowed upon us.
† Gives income for even large projects without taking funds
from future ministries
† Offers a channel for gifts that won’t overwhelm the congregation or discourage ongoing stewardship giving
† Positions church leaders to be intentional and proactive in their focus on present and future ministries
† Provides a welcome alternative to a major gift without restrictions, and the conflict that might result from it
† Gives stability and hope of a future for a congregation on the edge of survival
† Can add a future component for buildings or ministries in a capital campaign
Mrs.Smith is one of the longest and oldest members in her church in Northern California. She has been most faithful in the stewardship of her time, talent, and treasure over the years. Recently, she has made major outright gifts to provide for building renovations, especially the historic organ. She has shared with church leadership her desire to sustain the church’s ministry of music for years to come. She wants to do this because of her gratitude for the nurture the church has provided her and her family for many years. She is also grateful for the church’s outreach in the community. She feels confident about the church’s leadership, especially in regard to the endowment fund. Mrs. Smith’s gift is an everlasting act of stewardship that will shape the future of her church long into the future.
Developing and encouraging gifts to the endowment fund in the life of the congregation is ultimately an act of faith in the future of the church and its mission in the world. It is in your hands and in your faith to do just that. In the Parable of the Talents Jesus commends multiplying what we have been given, in order to serve a greater usefulness. Endowments, managed prudently for God’s mission, can be a blessing, enlivening members to engage in mission
It has been said that the shortest way to God is through the memory. Remember the story about baby Elizabeth? After Fred Craddock asked Elizabeth’s father the question, ‘Do you suppose Elizabeth will remember God?” The father answered, “It is up to me and her mother and the church to see that Elizabeth never forgets God.” Your planned gifts to an endowment can help make sure that future generations remember God.
“Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. . . .
(The One) who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.”
2 Corinthians 9:6,10-11 (NIV)
My friends, how will you help the children of this church remember God? Amen.
Joys and Concerns
Our dear church friend, Pat King, is requesting prayers for healing. She is slowly recovering from surgery and anticipates further surgery later in the fall. Pat was at the concert Sunday night. She looks good and feels pretty good. She would love to come to church services but has some difficulty getting on top of some abdominal pain in the mornings.
Please keep Katherine Parker, our missionary, and the people of Nepal in your prayers.
Deby McFadyen is requesting prayers for three young friends who are battling cancer. Please remember Sarah Talkington, Carolyn Thomas a Jimmy Lowe in your prayers.
Pat Dornan and Linda Pereira continue to need your prayers of support. Update: Hospice services continue. Pat says that Linda is not able to get out of bed and is sleeping most of the time. Lorraine, Linda’s mother, is home with attendant care and volunteers are bringing her over to see Linda to supplement Pat’s help. Pat is very grateful for the assistance.
Helen Wysham welcomes your prayers for healing as she undergoes chemotherapy.
Bobby and Pamella Hall: Update: Pamella Hall wrote to thank us for our prayers and to state that their problems have been resolved with a positive outcome. She also expressed how much we are in her thoughts as she misses our services and events. She holds us in prayer.
“Thank-you so much. I think especially as the holidays approach our hearts yearn for the fellowship of first church. We pray for the Thanksgiving meal, the collections for local missions and foreign missions, the beautiful adornment of the sanctuary, the caroling at the lighting of the Christmas tree, the Christmas program and the Christmas eve jazz service. We love you and miss you.” Pamella and Bobby Hall
Pastor Dan’s concert was very special. He, Eileen Johnson and the quartet presented the program they had presented to the Hymn Society in New Orleans. There was lots of congregational singing and several solo presentations by Eileen. The music was terrific. Thank you Dan for another exceptional evening.
Pinole UMC is celebrating 125 Years of Blessedness with events throughout October. October 3 Walkathon; October 10 Concert; October 18 Worship Homecoming; October 30 Trunk or Treat. See attached flyer. 2000 San Pablo Ave., Pinole. Support our sister church if you can.
Pastor Dan will be away at Journey Farthest Out Camp at lake Tahoe, Sept. 27 through Oct.4. Fran Smith will be speaking about her experience regarding reconciling ministries at the San Antonio conference “Gather at the River”. If you are interested in attending the JFO Camp at Zephyr Cove, contact Carol Horn at 530 595 3290 to see if any spaces remain.
News from Camp Liberty in Iraq: Since July 13th the Iraqi government has stopped supplies from entering Camp Liberty. They have prevented supplies of food, fuel and septic tank trucks from entering the compound. The lack of fuel means that the generators can not function so there is no electricity, no sewage system, no air conditioners with the temperature reaching 120 degrees. The United States Committee for Camp Ashraf is asking our Secretary of State, John Kerry, to intervene as well as the United Nations. Please remember these people in your prayers and that actions are taken to reverse this situation. One man has died due to refusal to allow his treatment for cancer.
Katherine Parker, missionary in Nepal: Katherine reports that the emphasis now will be on long-term recovery.
Update from Katherine’s mother, Martha:
Thank you for asking about Katherine. The work goes on, not as dramatically but the recovery will take a long time as the areas UMN is working in is quite remote and getting building materials to these remote areas is challenging in the best of times. Katherine also says the government is struggling at this time so there are many strikes happening which also make some of the work challenging. Over all there is much to do but she will be taking a break in October, so we hope she will be rejuvenated and continues to serve in the spirit of our Lord Jesus Christ. I will pass on your greetings. She will be in itineration here in California in the Spring 2016, she will be contacting you in the near future for a visit. Thank you for your continued support of the mission in Nepal and Cambodia.
New Public Address System: Donations are coming in to support our new system. Donations are $45 for a whole piano key which you can color and sign and donations of any amount are welcome. Karen Merkle, who died early in June left a Memorial Donation of $500 to our church. The Memorial Committee has donated the money to our new sound system. Karen would be pleased since music was such a large part of her life. See the display of piano keys and further information at the desk in the back in Friendship Hall. We are about halfway to our goal.
If you would like to donate for relief for the people of Nepal, go to umcor.org the Advance.
We are continuing to move ahead with plans for the long-term financing of our church for generations to come through an Endowment program.
Consider naming the Church as a beneficiary in your Will or Living Trust. The gift could be a set dollar amount, a percentage of your estate, the remainder after other gifts are made, or a gift of part of the estate if designated heirs are deceased.
Imagine No Malaria continues to need your donations.
Today, Saturday, September 26, 4-7 pm, 7th Annual Jean Eakle Art Auction and Gala, Point San Pablo Yacht Club, 700 W. Cutting Blvd. Richmond. Bring your friends! Up for bid will be door prizes, arts and crafts and jewelry. We will have live music, hors d’oeuvres and a no host bar is available. Suggested donation $10 at the door.
Sunday, September 27 after church: Publicity Committee Meeting.
Sunday, October 4, Special Sunday, World Communion Sunday. On World Communion Sunday your giving helps to provide scholarships for national and international graduate students whom God has gifted to learn and to serve.
Friday, Oct. 9, 7:30 pm – Point Richmond Acoustic Series returns with Reid Jamieson and Carolyn Mill to open the 2015-2016 season. This duo excels with beautiful voices, incredible harmony & award-winning songs. Jaspar Lepak opens this show. This Americana songstress has a gift for melody that is only surpassed by her poetry. For more info & to get $15 tickets online, see www.pointrichmondacoustic.org , $20 tickets at the door the night of the concert.
Saturday, October 10: You are invited to a Korean Tea. There are two seatings: 11:30 am and 1:30 pm. We will have three people in authentic Korean dress. Come and enjoy yourselves and learn more about Korean culture and tradition and feast on authentic Korean foods. This should be a fun event for all ages. Bring your friends and children. $20 adults, $10 children. For reservations contact Doreen Leighton at 510 307 5461 or email@example.com. This is a fundraiser for the United Methodist Women to continue their good works in the church and community. First United Methodist Church, 201 Martina Street, Point Richmond.
Sunday, October 11, 6 pm: The Hymn Society Presents,An evening of Singing with Jim & Jean Strathdee.
Internationally honored song writers, worship leaders and concert artists, their music offers hope and encouragement with songs of love, justice, and healing and for all the Earth. Free will offering, reception to follow. El Sobrante United Methodist Church, 670 Appian Way, El Sobrante.
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