After more than a year of lining up early donors, recruiting ambassadors and producing informational materials, the Massachusetts Conference has officially kicked off the Sustaining Pastoral Excellence Endowment Campaign.
The $3.5 million dollar campaign is aimed at creating an endowment fund to provide a permanent source of income for the Pastoral Excellence Programs that for the past nine years have been funded through the Lilly Endowment.
During its quiet phase, 100 percent of the Conference Board of Directors, Executive and Program staff and Pastoral Excellence Program group facilitators committed to the campaign, raising more than $610,000 in pledges and donations by the public kickoff at the 212th Annual Meeting in Sturbridge in June.
“The early positive response to this Campaign is tremendous!” said Andy Gustafson, Associate Conference Minister for Stewardship, adding that the campaign has already raised twice as much from individual donors as was raised from the entire The Gift and The Promise, the Conference’s last capital campaign which took place in the late 1990s.
“We are confident that every church and every person that has benefitted from the Pastoral Excellence Program will want to find a way to generously support this campaign,” Gustafson said.
Churches can support the campaign in any of the following ways:
- A pledge over a 3- to 5-year period;
- Participating in special offerings over the next five years;
- Holding wrap-around Capital Campaigns, in which the Sustaining Pastoral Excellence Endowment Fund is included in the mission component;
- Making a gift from invested funds.
Individuals can participate by:
- Making a 3- to 5-year pledge;
- Making a one-time gift;
- Contributing stock or another asset;
- Pledging a planned gift, such as a gift annuity or bequest.
Conference Minister and President Jim Antal said the Pastoral Excellence Program has proven that excellent pastors are indispensable for creating excellent churches – so much so that the Lilly Endowment renewed funding for the program several times after the initial grant.
He points out that, to date, more than half of the Conference pastors who serve churches and nearly 100% of newly ordained clergy have participated in Communities of Practice through the program.
“By sharing their wisdom, experience, struggles and plans, they form a circle of accountability that enhances their effectiveness and deepens their faithfulness,” he said. “The benefits of these discussions are then lived out in hundreds of our congregations.”
For more information on the campaign, visit www.macucc.org/excellence or contact Andy Gustafson at 508-875-5233, ext. 231 or at email@example.com. To learn more about Wrap-Around Capital Campaigns, contact Margery Williams at 978-582-6870 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To sign up for the campaign e-newsletter, visit www.macucc.org/subscribe.