P r e s b y t e r i a n
F o u n d a t i o n ’s
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God’s Hidden Treasures is serving the needs of the disabled and orphaned in the country of Ukraine. Since its beginning in 1997, the ministry has expanded to include a wheelchair ministry, outreach ministry, and medical ministry.
Caring Relationship Centered Around Jesus Christ God’s Hidden Treasures is one of those gems of a ministry which grew from the heart of one faithful Christian and now serves thousands. Its budget is small. Its staff is small. But its impact is huge. And dozens of Presbyterian congregations are now engaged in its ministry to the “least
INSIDE : Presbyterian Church of Astoria Reinvented
of these” in Ukraine.
Make Giving More Convenient
The ministry was started by a Presbyterian woman from
Reflecting on Change to Investment Strategy
California, Nita Hanson, who by all accounts seems quite ordinary. Yet, because of her compassion, passion and faithfulness, God has clearly used her in extraordinary ways.
Partnering to Increase Funding for Your Mission
continued on page 3
©2013 A publication of the Presbyterian Foundation
continued from cover story
From Our President
Caring Relationship Centered Around Jesus Christ
I’ve heard from pastors again and again – raising funds for their churches is one of the most daunting parts of
God’s Hidden Treasures operates orphanages,
As they received their chairs, boys who had been
their job. We are well trained to proclaim the Word and
provides wheelchairs, and has begun a strong
raised in the orphanages that Nita started were given
lead congregations in worship, to care for families in birth,
program in diabetes prevention and treatment
the job of setting up the chair, then explaining how
sickness, and death. Many also have particular gifts for
recognized by the Ukrainian government, to some of
everything worked. Those boys who Nita called ‘life’s
leadership, teaching, evangelism, and administration. But
this former Soviet-bloc country’s most overlooked and
otherwise forgotten boys’ were so obviously proud and
desperately poor people.
conscientious to do this meaningful work.
international missions (where the need is often
In 2012, Foundation President Tom Taylor accompanied
One recipient named Ivan had spent his entire life
desperate) and everything in between.
the Ukrainian team that Nita has assembled to lead
in the former Soviet military. He had been confined
the ministry in a small town called Bila Tserkva. After
to his tiny home, mostly in bed, because of crippling
touring their main offices and workshop where staff
arthritis and diabetes for over five years. Taylor
members assemble and repair the hardy wheelchairs
recalled the scene:
talking about money? Asking people to give? That’s not been at the center of our traditional seminary training. That’s why the Presbyterian Foundation devotes so
about – from their local congregations to work in
much energy to this very real need in the life of every pastor and congregation. We’re committed to partnering
The Ministry Relations Officers are based in
with pastors, walking alongside them as they share with
regional offices around the country, where they
their congregations all that the Bible has to say about
come to know particular regions of the country, and
generosity and its role in faithful Christian life.
where they can be easily accessed when needed.
We have a team of Ministry Relations Officers across
How do you keep giving strong throughout the
surrounding towns, the group went on a series of
the nation to serve those in ministry. These talented
year? How do you start or grow an endowment
wheelchair deliveries to people’s homes.
women and men have served as pastors and ruling elders
fund? What does a pastor do when members want
and hold advanced degrees that have informed them
to give gifts online? And how can a pastor establish
as to how best to approach the topics of stewardship,
the largest kinds of gift possible through bequests
fundraising and generosity. They know the church – and
or estates, all while maintaining dignified and
they know how to build a culture of generosity within
strong relationships with their parishioners?
it. They lead seminars and workshops in congregations and presbyteries. They coach and counsel pastors, stewardship teams, and finance and endowment committees on how to maximize the impact of their work. With individual donors, they help to develop gifts for the ministries that those donors are most passionate
These are just a few of the questions your Ministry Relations Officer can help with. Want to know more? Give them a call (see the regional locator on page 7).
cases crumbling, streets of Bila Tserkva and other
As we gathered around him and all held hands they asked me to pray. Among other things, I prayed for the peace of Jesus Christ that passes all human understanding to rest on him and his
“I cannot tell you how meaningful and powerful it was
home. He just broke down and wept, as we all
as we drove to the tiny and severely impoverished
did. What an irony I thought. I remember as a
homes of some the wheelchair recipients,” Taylor said.
child in grade school during the Cold War, being
Many of them, because of their deteriorating physical condition, had been otherwise confined to a bed or chair in their house for months or even years. The staff of God’s Hidden Treasures was so sensitive and intentional about making sure that this was not merely about providing a free good
given instructions on how to get under our desks in case Soviets like this man bombed us. Now, here we were, all gathered together in peace as sisters and brothers in the miraculous fellowship that only Jesus Christ could bring about in our life-times.
Learn now what talented and capable servants
or service. It was about starting a lifelong, caring
The Foundation is working to assist and link ministries
these men and women are. If I were to return
relationship with them centered around Jesus
like God’s Hidden Treasures with our new online giving
to the pastorate today, they would be one of the
Christ. They would talk with the recipients for a
and back office administration systems – ministries
first resources I’d turn to, in order to establish the
long time about their lives, families, struggles, and
that typically are strapped financially and have few staff
strongest giving patterns in my church. I hope
joys before presenting the wheelchair to them.
members to otherwise handle such things.
you’ll invite them to help your church.
The recipients were broken people whose lives had
If you would like to learn more about God’s Hidden
been extremely mentally and physically difficult under
Treasures, or contribute to their work, please visit
to raise, steward, and distribute funds for mission. We
the former Soviet system. The system under which
www.PresbyterianFoundation.org/treasures. In doing
work with congregations, councils, agencies and other
they live now is in great flux, and as it develops, has
so, you join the efforts of Nita and her team, reaching
few safety nets for those at the bottom of society.
out to people like Ivan in word and deed, with the love
Foundation was established in 1799
entities to ensure that they have resources for mission today, tomorrow, and two hundred years from now.
that will be used on the rugged, and in many
Rev. Tom Taylor, J.D., Ph.D. President and CEO
and compassion of Jesus Christ. 3 www.PresbyterianFoundation.org
New Identity Establishes New Life for Congregation The story of the Presbyterian Church of Astoria, New York is
Their decision to sell their property addressed two needs in the
one of sacrifice, faithfulness, and new life. Their story begins
community. First, a need for affordable housing for seniors – the
like so many other Presbyterian congregations – a neighborhood
old church was sold to a developer to build just such housing.
church, built up over generations, with beautiful facilities.
Funds from the sale, now stewarded by the Presbyterian
Then something shifts, members move further away from the
Foundation, provide for the second need – an English-speaking
church. Attendance declines. The sanctuary that used to hold
Presbyterian congregation for a growing population of young
hundreds now sees just a couple dozen on a Sunday morning.
artists and performers – in an area where worship in almost all
The remaining members of the Presbyterian Church of Astoria
the other churches takes place in another language.
looked at the neighborhood around them – considered its
“With that move, the congregation reestablished a new
population and its needs – and decided that the most faithful
identity for itself,” said Tony De La Rosa, interim executive
way forward would mean a radical change.
presbyter for the Presbytery of New York City. “The congregation began really taking on emergent Christianity as part of their worship experience. They began experiencing new
the street or under the awning and have worship there. We can go
once we get past that, we look at what the original church was
out into the sculpture park or the farmer’s market or any number of
intended to be – which was just a small gathering – then I think
places to bring the gospel message of love and justice.”
there’s a lot of hope to be seen in that. I think if we look at what
Freed from a building that had become burdensome, the church is engaging its neighbors in new and exciting ways. And the seeds
Is something like this possible for your church? The Presbyterian
fruit of faithful generations of Presbyterians.
Foundation works with congregations around the country who
Micah Burgess, a professional musician and an elder says, “We
are really establishing what I think is going to be a landmark
really hope that the church will reach out to the community more.
emergent style of Christianity in one of the most creative parts
I think the fact that we have this space that’s not a traditional
of New York City.”
church building will help us do that. We’d like to see the church
The young, growing congregation worships in rented space, and makes an intentional effort to get out in the community. “We went out Sunday into our neighborhood garden,” said Astoria’s new pastor, Thia Reggio. “We sometimes go out on
loss, there’s a lot to be gained.”
of something new and exciting are beginning to take root - the
life, new energy, certainly incredible creativity in worship and
Today, the Presbyterian Church of Astoria looks very different.
we’re actually trying to accomplish as a church, then through that
become more active in social programs and social outreach.
sense God leading them to sell their buildings and step out in faith in new directions. Some reinvent like Astoria. Some merge and sell a property to help fund the newly combined ministry. Others decide to close, and commit the proceeds of their property to endowing a legacy of mission, ministry, or new church planting.
We’re already active in supporting the arts and so we’re going to
To speak to someone about how we can help your church, or
continue to do that.”
another congregation in your presbytery, please contact Paul Grier
“I think the thing that’s difficult is people get so used to the
structure of the church and the comfort of what they feel the church is. That becomes a difficult thing to let go of. But I think
Photos: Members of Presbyterian Church of Astoria embrace the culture and mission of their church.
Make Giving More Convenient
unheard of to be restricted to cash or check. Plus, Ziegler
St. Andrew has been using online giving – via a ‘give now’
For St. Andrew Presbyterian Church in Purcellville, Virginia,
he attended which, for Ziegler, raised some important
noted, many of a younger generation do not even own a
button on their website’s homepage. Since December, when
what began as a discussion quickly became a decision – a
questions. This inspired Ziegler to take the issue to the entire
checkbook and are already accustomed to and proficient at
the online feature was added, through April, online donations
hearty ‘yes’ to implementing a system of online giving
Stewardship Committee and then the Finance Committee to
paying their regular bills online.
have steadily increased with more than $6,000 given online.
through the Presbyterian Foundation.
get approvals to proceed.
Stewardship chair Scott Ziegler explained the rationale
“An article I read from the conference talked about how old
in giving – with the ‘recurring’ option allowing for weekly,
behind the decision. His first exposure to the idea of
fashioned churches were when it came to taking money,”
monthly, or quarterly gifts whether the giver is actually at
online giving, or e-giving, was at a stewardship conference
Ziegler recalled. In today’s economic climate it is almost
worship on a given Sunday morning or not.
Ziegler hopes the new system will provide more consistency
Six individuals or couples are now giving a total of $3,160 on a monthly recurring basis. By March close to ten percent of the congregation’s total giving was via e-giving. Ziegler hopes this percentage will continue to increase.
One Year Later
Partnering to Increase Funding for Your Mission
One year ago, the Presbyterian Foundation partnered
bond asset allocation toward a diversified asset allocation that
At the Presbyterian Foundation, stewardship, finance and
need for the mission Christ calls you to do. Your Ministry
with Cambridge Associates as Investment Advisor to the
is oriented around four key types of market exposure. These
investment are our expertise. And our passions are the
Relations Officer can help access the strengths and
endowment funds we steward for PC (USA) churches and
strategies include capital appreciation, diversification, inflation
same as yours – your church, your mission and the ministry
weaknesses of your congregation’s finances and develop
ministries. Cambridge was selected based on their history of
and deflation sensitive strategies.
of Jesus Christ.
a personalized, strategic fundraising plan tailored to
Several philosophical tenets for constructing the BGSF
Through our Ministry Relations Program, the Foundation
portfolio and adding value above the long-term investment
partners with your congregation to raise the funds you
managing endowments, access to world class investment management resources and success with socially responsible investment mandates. The changes that have occurred this past year have been significant and very positive. We are happy to report these changes and the impact to the Fund.
policy have been employed. The goal was to position the Fund
your church. They will work together with you and your congregation to develop gifts that support your ministry far into the future.
portfolio to provide a stream of relatively stable and constant earnings in support of annual spending, and to preserve and enhance the real (inflation-adjusted) purchasing power of the
Transition and Current Positioning
Ministry Relations Officers
The fiscal year ending March 31, 2013, saw meaningful changes in the composition and investment strategy of the endowment fund portfolio (called the Balanced Growth
Performance for Year Ending March 31, 2013
Spending Formula Fund or BGSF). The Investment Committee of the Presbyterian Foundation defined a set of financial and
BGSF participated in the global market rally. For the
investment objectives for the BGSF Fund.
trailing one year ending March 31, 2013, BGSF returned +7.4%. This is in-line with the Policy Benchmark return of
• Financial Objective: to provide a stream of relatively stable and constant earnings in support of annual
+7.4%. Quarterly performance is available online at www.
Northwest Region 888-211-7030 eric.chavis@ presbyterian foundation.org
Central Region 866-710-5094 lisa.longo@ presbyterian foundation.org
Mid America Region 866-317-0751 stephen.keizer@ presbyterian foundation.org
spending; and preserve and enhance the real (inflationadjusted) purchasing power of the Fund.
Looking forward, we have a high level of conviction in BGSF’s long-term asset allocation and the portfolio’s underlying
• Investment Objective: To attain a real total annualized return of at least 5.5%1, net of investment expenses,
investment managers. We continue to rigorously monitor the
Mary “Minner” Serovy Northeast Region 855-514-3077 mary.serovy@ presbyterian foundation.org
portfolio and will make adjustments where necessary.
on average, over a five-to-seven-year period. Secondary objectives are to (1) outperform the Fund’s long-term
The performance data shown is past performance. Past
investment policy benchmark; and (2) outperform the
performance is no guarantee of future results. The investment
median return of a pool of endowment funds with
return and prinicpal value of an investment will fluctuate and
broadly similar investment objectives and policies.
current market performance may be lower or higher than the performance quoted.
In order to provide the greatest likelihood of achieving these objectives, a long-term investment policy was established. The BGSF Fund was transitioned from a traditional stock/
The calculation of real total return includes all realized and unrealized capital changes plus all interest, rent, dividend, and other income earned by the portfolio, adjusted for inflation, during a year.
Southwest Region 866-860-3383 john.turner@ presbyterian foundation.org
Southeast Region 855-514-3152 robert.hay@ presbyterian foundation.org
East Region 888-711-1318 olanda.carr@ presbyterian foundation.org
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