Stewardship is a Lifestyle at Athens First UMC

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Since Athens First UMC was built in 1825, it has grown to more than 3,500 faithful followers. Although much has changed in the last 187 years, one thing has stayed the same: stewardship is embraced as a lifestyle. Long ago, this mission-minded congregation created giving programs that allow disciples of Jesus Christ to leave a legacy that ensures their church will be there for future generations.

Church endowments at Athens First UMC provide the income to maintain church buildings, generate funds for mission work and enhance a wide variety of other ministries. These endowments help secure the financial future of specific programs by providing a cushion against unforeseen expenses or economic downturns. The assets are invested in perpetuity for the purpose of providing a steady, predictable source of income over time. Gifts to endowment programs are truly the gifts that “keep on giving.”

The Trustees of The Methodist Church at Athens in Clarke County Georgia are responsible for safeguarding and investing these restricted funds. After comparing rates and risk/reward profiles with banks, traditional CDs and the stock market, the Trustees purchased one- and two-year investment certificates from the Georgia United Methodist Foundation's Certificate Program.

“We were looking primarily for a relatively safe, short-term investment that would offer above-market returns,” said Mason McWhorter, who serves as chair of the Trustees. “It was also a great way to help The United Methodist Church with its future growth plans as well. Being a banker, it made sense to me. It’s a great program.”

The Certificate Program is a unique investment opportunity that offers financial and spiritual rewards. One hundred percent of Certificate Program investments are used to provide financial resources for Georgia United Methodist churches and entities wishing to refinance debt and build, renovate or expand facilities.

This article was originally published in the Summer 2012 edition of Faith & Money.