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More than 90 persons from UCC and Presbyterian churches gathered in the St. Albans Family Life Center on Saturday, March 8, 2014 to learn about “Money in the Church” and to begin to form networks of mutual support in this important work.
This was the first in a series of church budget and finance workshops scheduled for 2014. These workshops are sponsored by the Finance Committee of the Metro Association, NY Conference, UCC in cooperation and partnership with the Committee on Mission Priorities and Stewardship.
Each participant received a 113-page workbook prepared by the UCC Cornerstone Fund called “Money in the Church – Talking, Raising & Managing Money for God’s Work in the World.
Rev. Dr. Henry T. Simmons, Senior Minister of host church St. Alban Congregational Church, welcomed participants and prayed for the work that lies ahead.
Karla McKenzie, Executive Director of the Parish Resource Center (PRC) of Long Island, urged participants to take advantage of the many resources offered by the PRC. She urged participants to check out the media resources she brought to the workshop. The PRC offers workshops and seminars (in person and via webinar), personal consultations and a wealth of resources in many media.
Charles Hollingsworth, Cornerstone Vice President, outlined the products and services of The Cornerstone Fund. He explained that the Fund operates very much like a bank: it receives demand and term deposits from individuals, churches and organizations affiliated with the UCC and makes loans to UCC churches thirty or more years old who want to expand and address the range of building maintenance needs – from straight-forward repairs to large-scale additions or renovations. Education is a key component of their work, as was evident from their workbook and their presence at this workshop.
Rev. Dr. Patrick G. Duggan, Executive Director of The Church Building and Loan Fund, explained that what is now the Church Building and Loan Fund was founded in 1853 as the first church building loan fund in the United States. It now serves new (less than 30 years old) and renewing churches with loan programs, capital campaign services, building planning and building technical assistance. Duggan emphasized that the Fund will serve any eligible church, not just those within the UCC – though those who are not members of the UCC will be invited, but not required, to covenant with the UCC. He outlined the characteristics of a “renewing church” and provided eight markers of a healthy church.
Duggan’s closing prayer blessed the participants and the food. Lunch was served by members of St. Albans Congregational Church.
Reporting by Lucy Pullen Werner