For 142 years, generations of White's Chapel UMC members have fulfilled the Church’s mission by loving God and neighbors, introducing the world to Christ, helping struggling families, and ministering to the homeless.
But hard times struck recently and the church was faced with foreclosure. White’s Chapel UMC members prayed for a solution to save their church. Relief came unexpectedly and they were able to avoid foreclosure so that they can continue to positively influence their community.
Although the idea of developing a building fund had been on senior pastor Rev. Harold Cobb’s heart for quite some time, this was the wake-up call White’s Chapel UMC needed to provide for the long-term financial stability of their church.
“When the Foundation invited us to participate in a pilot Legacy Ministry Webinar to start an endowment, we thought it was a great idea because we want to be around for another 142 years," said Avon Hamm, church council chair.
A personal experience also reinforced Avon’s passion for the Legacy Ministry program.
“When my aunt passed, she gave her money to a college,” he said. “She hadn’t even thought about giving it to her church, and she had been a member of White’s Chapel all of her life.”
The Legacy Ministry Webinar program was developed by the Georgia UM Foundation to help churches design and implement a customized endowment program. It’s a 45 minute, once-a-month webinar for 12 months that provides turnkey documents and monthly assignments.
A new session begins every 3 months - the next webinar session begins in October 2013. Last week, Bethlehem First, Decatur First and White’s Chapel completed the first 12 month webinar. Acworth First, Conyers First, Impact and Villa Rica First are currently involved in the webinar program.
“The Legacy Ministry helps the church in a number of ways. It has brought forth ideas from other participants outside of our community. It has helped me understand The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church, the role of the pastor and the leaders of our church, resolutions, charge conferences, and gift acceptance policies,” Avon said. “The webinar has also taught us how to introduce planned giving while overcoming skepticism of the local church. I recommend that all United Methodist churches participate in the Legacy Ministry in order to accomplish the goals of the Church and fulfill its mission.”
Pictured: Bishop B. Michael Watson and White's Chapel UMC church council chair Avon Hamm