The Global Food Crisis Fund (GFCF) of the Church of the Brethren has given a grant of $10,000 to support a ministry in Mexico, sponsored by Bittersweet Ministries. Also, the fund has given a second grant of $30,000 to Going to the Garden, in a cooperative effort with the denomination’s Office of Public Witness.
“Give of the First Fruits: A Study of Stewardship for the 21st Century” has just been published by the Church of the Brethren’s Virlina District. This fresh, practical approach to the Christian concept of “stewardship” is a 13-lesson quarterly with each lesson written by a different church leader or couple from the Virlina and Shenandoah Districts.
The Church of the Brethren is now giving congregations the opportunity to participate in a series of three new special offerings in addition to the One Great Hour of Sharing offering. They are the Pentecost Offering, the Mission Offering, and the Advent Offering. Although each one has a different theme and individual look, they all share one unified goal: to support the life-changing ministries of the Church of the Brethren. Read more at www.brethren.org/offerings .
The IRA charitable rollover has been extended through the end of 2013. The IRA charitable rollover has proven a popular way for donors to support their favorite causes. It enables donors to make a gift to charity from their IRA and not include the distributed amount in their taxable income.
John R. Hipps begins Sept. 24 as director of Donor Relations for the Church of the Brethren. He is a member of Bridgewater (Va.) Church of the Brethren and brings a broad range of knowledge and expertise in fundraising to the position, having helped carry out a $40 million fundraising campaign at Bridgewater College.
The following letter of appreciation from the St. Louis (Mo.) Public Schools has been shared by the Conference Office. Addressed to past Annual Conference moderator Tim Harvey, it thanks the Church of the Brethren for school supplies donated by those who attended the Conference in St. Louis in early July. The letter was signed by the school district’s Volunteer Services Specialist:
“This year, 2012, we are entering into a spirit of reflection regarding Ethics of Energy. This is the theme of our Earth Day Sunday resource and a series of six webinars we will host throughout the year,” reports the National Council of Churches (NCC) Eco-Justice program.
Financial results for Church of the Brethren denominational ministries in 2011 include both hopeful signs and cause for concern. Positive results were seen in the Conference Office budget and in certain restricted giving. However, the Core Ministries and other self-funding ministries realized expenses in excess of income.
Are medical premiums hurting your church budget? Your church may be eligible for a significant tax credit on health insurance premiums it paid for full-time or part-time employees in 2011.
In 2011, a new way of thinking about donor communication has taken place in the Church of the Brethren. Fundraising has taken on the flavor of a team effort, with staff from across many ministry areas starting to take responsibility for articulating the value of Church of the Brethren ministries–and their cost.