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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

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©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

The Presbyterian

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 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

In Christ,

Rev. Tom Taylor, J.D., Ph.D. President and CEO

and compassion of Jesus Christ. 3

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

at 800-843-9547.

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.

Eric Chavis

Lisa Longo

Stephen Keizer

Northwest Region 888-211-7030 eric.chavis@ presbyterian

Central Region 866-710-5094 lisa.longo@ presbyterian

Mid America Region 866-317-0751 stephen.keizer@ presbyterian

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

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.

John Turner

Robert Hay

Olanda Carr

Southwest Region 866-860-3383 john.turner@ presbyterian

Southeast Region 855-514-3152 robert.hay@ presbyterian

East Region 888-711-1318 olanda.carr@ presbyterian




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Gifts entrusted to the Foundation to steward are distributed to local

Church Planting & Growth

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ministries as directed


by the donors. These

to Missions

foresight of generous


gifts represent the

in 2012

Presbyterians today and Discipleship

Global Mission

Leadership Development

and global missions and

Social Services & Senior Living

from generations past.

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