Port Republic United Methodist Church is a small church in the Village of Port Republic, close to Harrisonburg, VA. It has a river flowing on each side and it is in one of the prettiest spots in the Shenandoah Valley. This church has a vacation bible school every summer that is wonderful. This year the total attendance was 206. They had an average per night of 175, and their mission offering raised $4,500 for a mission team going to Ghana. The VBS is held at a local elementary school because it has gotten too big for the church. It takes over a 100 people to pull this off and they offer it every night for children and volunteers. Rev. Jim Joyner is the pastor and has been at this church for six years.
I visited this church to talk to their Finance Committee on Tuesday, August 13. Harrisonburg had just had a terrific thunderstorm and there was a gorgeous rainbow over Port Republic. On the way to the church the corn fields looked healthy and green, the soybeans were growing well and there was one field that had two camels. You just never know where you will see “beauty” in the Valley. It’s Everywhere!
This church wants to start an Endowment Program and one member had given $25,000 to assist in starting the program. The Finance committee wanted to find out how to start, as well as how to share it with church members so the endowment fund could grow. I shared information about the four investment funds we offer at the Foundation and told them that all four are in compliance with the United Methodist principles on socially responsible investing. This means we don’t invest in alcohol, tobacco or anything else that is opposed by the social principles. We also spoke about the Development Company and how one can invest money in certificates and earn competitive returns. At the meetings conclusion, Port Republic UMC had many options to consider. To be good stewards, we need to give to the church, but we also must do something with what we already have. This is where the Foundation and Development Company can be of help.
As I drove home last night, the thought occurred to me – “How many churches need Endowment Funds? How many churches have funds sitting in checking accounts drawing little or no interest?” Every church needs a “rainy day” fund. Every church needs to help students by having a scholarship fund. There are many funds that churches need. There is an opportunity for each one to grow if its placed in the Foundation.
The Virginia United Methodist Foundation and Virginia United Methodist Development Company stand ready to talk to your Finance Committees. Give me a call! Maybe there will be a “rainbow” over your church! My telephone number is 804-521-1157.
Submitted by: Tommy Herndon