We want you to know, brothers and sisters, about the grace of God that has been granted to the churches of Macedonia; for during a severe ordeal of affliction, their abundant joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. For, as I can testify, they voluntarily gave according to their means, and even beyond their means, begging us earnestly for the privilege of sharing in this ministry to the saints— and this, not merely as we expected; they gave themselves first to the Lord and, by the will of God, to us … 2 Corinthians 8:1-5 NRSVJust as the Apostle Paul’s special collection provided needed money for the church in Jerusalem, The United Methodist Church offers believers a specific vehicle through which donations can benefit people in need around the world.
While he was not born into The United Methodist Church, over the decades Mr. Willis Gardner served our denomination in various ways. When he was in his 30's and early 40's he was a Sunday school teacher. Later, he served on stewardship committees and committees devoted to church finances and infrastructure/capital campaigns. He often served as an usher on Sunday as well.
The Christian faith was very central to his life. He took it very seriously and saw his local church as a positive force in the life of his family and the community. But he also believed in the Methodist church's global ministries and gave generously to those causes over the years. He was a frugal person but gave abundantly to the Church when he was alive, believing that every member should give as much as they could afford to help support their local community and the world. Mr. Gardner understood that the United Methodist Church would live well beyond his lifetime, and his estate gift would have a global impact on the lives of millions around the world for years to come through The Permanent Fund.
A gift to The Permanent Fund of The United Methodist Church is a gift to the entire Church and provides an opportunity for us to minister in many different ways including:
· Support for local church ministries to adults and children and those with special needs
· Church growth programs and the birth of new congregations
· College and theological education for those who may not otherwise have the opportunity
· Improving healthcare in remote regions
· Encouraging a more ethical, just, and humane worldTruly, one person can make a global impact for generations to come. As you consider planning for the future of your local congregation, we hope you will also consider adding The Permanent Fund as the best method to make a lasting impact throughout the Church.