On Sunday, June 3, we will hold our annual “birthday” event for St. James’s, Founders Sunday. Sponsored by the Planned Giving committee and recognizing members of the Legacy Society, parishioners who have declared their intention to remember the church with a contribution in their estate planning, we will pray for our church and celebrate with a cake and reception.
This will be a chance for parishioners to say “happy birthday” to each other, enjoy the fellowship of a summer morning and review the membership of the Whitlock Legacy Society. Also copies of the Omega File will be available to parishioners. The Omega File is a booklet offered by St. James’s, which is intended to help in organizing information, documents, and other affairs for families going through stressful times such as a sickness or death.
The Legacy Society’s first member was Mrs. Elizabeth Whitlock, who bequeathed a sum of $5000 to the church in 1930. Given without any restriction on its use, the vestry at that time wisely decided to invest this gift, thus creating St. James’s Endowment Fund. Today, the Society recognizes more than 150 parishioners, past and present, who have followed Elizabeth’s example by remembering our church in their estate plans. This year, the income from Elizabeth’s bequest alone will provide about $3500 for current church programs. Since it was given, the income on the Whitlock endowment has provided over $185,000 for St. James’s, making it truly the gift that keeps on giving.
The practice of testamentary giving has changed greatly since the 1930’s and today there are many ways that we can benefit our family and our charitable interests through “planned” gifts. These include not only simple bequests, but various charitable trusts, gifts of paid-up life insurance, gifts of real property (like The Michaux House) and gifts of excess retirement assets. Of course, any estate remembrance or other planned gift should be discussed with trusted financial and legal advisers.
As we age, the matter of estate planning is vital to ensure that our treasured people and organizations are remembered and thrive. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we all followed Elizabeth Whitlock’s example by providing for St. James’s in our final act of faith and charity?
Thank you, Elizabeth Whitlock, and God bless.