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Investing with GUMF Gives East Cobb UMC Peace of Mind

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After the Rev. Kristin Heiden was appointed lead pastor of East Cobb UMC in July 2018, she quickly discovered it was one of the most welcoming places she had ever been.

“If you walk through the doors of the church on Sunday morning, you won't be able to find a way to the pew without being greeted, invited to Sunday school, and invited to join the choir! The people here love God and love one another,” Heiden said.

Members are always looking for ways to be the hands and feet of Christ in the world!

“Over the past two years, our church has initiated and expanded a partnership with Powers Ferry Elementary School, a local school serving a lower-income population,” Heiden said. “We have sought to support the staff and the students through volunteer reading programs, Angel Tree gifts, highlighting the teachers and principal in worship, and the end of the year graduation parade. This fall, we are providing over 800 books so every first- and second-grader can choose six books to take home.”

East Cobb UMC’s partnership with the Georgia United Methodist Foundation began in 1999 when one of its late members established an endowment fund to bless students in need. A second endowment was established after the church completed GUMF’s Legacy Ministry Training in 2016. Then earlier this year, Heiden and Judy Kelley, treasurer of East Cobb UMC, turned to GUMF for help.

“We recently sold some property and are in the process of developing plans for the future. But, in the meantime, we were unsure of where to place those funds,” Heiden said. “Thanks to the great direction and guidance provided by Mathew Pinson (GUMF president and CEO) and GUMF, we were able to deposit the funds into our GUMF account, so that the monies will not only be in a safe place but invested well. There is great peace of mind knowing that we can make plans for future mission and ministry while our resources are growing.”

Sometimes it can take weeks to finalize a transaction. However, Kelley and Carol Johnston, GUMF associative vice president and controller, completed the transaction in two business days.

“It was a pleasure working with Judy. We are grateful to the leadership for trusting us as an investment partner in supporting the ministry of East Cobb UMC,” Carol said. “I provided the wiring instructions to Judy and also discussed investment strategies. The church decided to align its investments with GUMF’s standard policy of 70% U.S. Equities and 30% Fixed Income.”

Kelley said, “It makes sense to let the professionals at GUMF set the investment policy of our fund. GUMF reviews the policy annually and makes changes based on what is happening in the markets. The pandemic showed that unforeseen changes in our society could happen at any time. It is helpful to have professionals having our backs as changes happen.”

Kelley is also pleased that GUMF partners with Wespath Institutional Investments.

“I am a senior accountant for the General Board of Global Ministries (GBGM), and I personally have investments at Wespath,” she said. “I see the results of Wespath’s investments for GBGM and the United Methodist Committee on Relief.”

Heiden considers GUMF one of East Cobb UMC’s greatest resources. “I encourage all churches to build a relationship with GUMF. As we navigate uncertain times in the world and the church, it is nice to know that the way our resources are invested is certain and secure,” she said. “I am grateful for the wisdom and guidance of Mathew to discuss not just our current endowments but to walk through plans for the future.”

Posted: October 25th, 2021 | Permalink

Cliftondale UMC Foundation Supports Ministries Close to Its Donors’ Hearts

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The Cliftondale UMC Foundation is a separate entity that manages Cliftondale UMC’s investment funds. The Georgia United Methodist Foundation’s Legacy Ministry Training equipped the Cliftondale UMC Foundation to receive gifts from its members to support capital improvements and various ministries close to its donors’ hearts.

Mrs. Marjorie Kimbrough and her husband, the Rev. Dr. Walter L. Kimbrough, have a long history with Cliftondale UMC. Dr. Kimbrough came out of retirement twice to serve as the senior pastor, most recently from 2018 until 2020.

It comes as no surprise Mrs. Kimbrough chairs the Cliftondale UMC Foundation’s scholarship committee. She was valedictorian of her high school class and holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of California and a master’s degree, summa cum laude, in Christian Education from the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta.

“I feel very strongly about scholarships,” she said. “I went through school on scholarships myself and wanted to make sure other students have that same opportunity.”

Mrs. Kimbrough donated $5,000 to jumpstart the Cliftondale UMC Foundation’s scholarship ministry and continues to make donations to ensure ample funds are available to support each person’s needs. People who have been members of Cliftondale UMC for at least one year and have a GPA of 3.0 or higher may apply for the $1,000 scholarship.

Posted: October 25th, 2021 | Permalink

Q&A with GUMF Trustees Brittney Haynes and Cater C. Thompson

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Meet Brittney Haynes and Cater C. Thompson! They began their service as members of the Georgia United Methodist Foundation board of trustees on July 1.

Q: Please tell us about yourself, your family, and your church.
Brittney: I grew up as a military kid and managed to stay in the South from the day I was born into adulthood. I live in Atlanta, and I’m fortunate that my parents are near me too. I go to church at Peachtree Road UMC. I was baptized there in 2013.
Cater: I am a lifelong Maconite and attend Mulberry Street UMC. I am married and have two grown kids and a one-year-old granddaughter. My daughter is married and lives in Macon, and my son, who is single, lives in Washington, D.C.

Q: Please tell us about your education and career.
Brittney: I graduated from the University of Georgia’s journalism school. I started my career in the agency world, spending most of my time at Edelman, the world’s largest public relations firm. I currently serve as director, corporate communications at Sharecare.
Cater: I graduated from Mercer University and Mercer’s Law School. After that, I came to work at Jones Cork, LLP, and it is the only job I have ever had.

Q: What are you passionate about?
Brittney: I have several creative pursuits – painting, sewing, writing. However, the passion that lies in my faith and our responsibilities as Christians has been most salient for me lately.
Cater: I’m passionate about my family and my horses. My daddy bred Arabians until the early 1990s, and we continue to own Arabian horses.

Q: Why did you feel led to accept the nomination to serve as a member of GUMF’s board of trustees?
Brittney: I see a tremendous opportunity for GUMF to strengthen the way it communicates and builds relationships. My hope is that my contributions can help this organization achieve its mission, specifically to sustain and build prosperous futures for our church ministries, leaders, and everyone served.
Cater: I knew about GUMF through my role as Chancellor of the South Georgia Annual Conference and because of my long-term friendship with Rick Lanford (GUMF regional vice president). GUMF serves an important function, and it never occurred to me to say no.

Posted: October 25th, 2021 | Permalink

Martha Bowman UMC Wisely Invests God’s Money

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The Rev. Mark Magoni has served as senior pastor of Martha Bowman UMC in Macon since 2018. He is honored to be in ministry with his wife, the Rev. Fran Magoni, who has served as associate pastor at Martha Bowman UMC for five years. In September 2020, this clergy couple experienced first-hand the depth of the congregation’s faithfulness when he tested positive for COVID-19 and spent four days in the hospital battling pneumonia.

In this Q&A, the Rev. Mark Magoni provides insight into this caring and generous family of faith and why Martha Bowman UMC wisely invests its surplus funds with the Georgia United Methodist Foundation.

Q. What would you like folks to know about Martha Bowman UMC?
Magoni: It’s a church that is truly alive and cares for one another and our community. It’s a praying church, a mission-minded church, and a very generous church that supports many ministries. Fran and I are so grateful for its heritage, great pastors, and multiple generations who have served the Lord before us. This church has been a beacon of light since the 1820s, where people get hope and healing, grow in their faith, and love others. Our traditional and contemporary services are uplifting, positive, and full of joy. It’s a time to celebrate, honor and encounter our living God.

Q. How does Martha Bowman UMC live out its mission to save the lost, disciple the saved, and alleviate suffering?
Magoni: We do missions locally, nationally, and internationally. From the Salvation Army to Loaves and Fishes, there is a long list of ministries and agencies we support. Our folks are always out in the community helping and serving – even during COVID. We have a backpack ministry and support our local schools. Our Saintly Stitchers make beautiful quilts for The Methodist Children’s Home. One member, Max Wood, chairs the American Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East, which ministers to Christian refugees from Iraq who live in Jordan. I went there in September and also in October 2019. We have invested financially in businesses like chicken farms to help these families who have been persecuted for their faith.

Q. How does the church seek to secure its financial future?
Magoni: God is the one who secures it for us, but we truly need to be wise in our use of God’s resources that’s in line with the ethics of the church. We always need to be generous. Luke 6:38 says, “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap.”

Q. Why did the church decide to invest its surplus funds?
Magoni:  A couple of years ago, a member approached me about people having a place to give their wealth upon their departure from this life to the next. Our finance committee was all for it. The Methodist Foundation is the first place I looked. Then with COVID, everything shut down. After Dr. Rick Lanford (GUMF regional vice president) came on board, I mentioned we needed help. We knew we wanted to invest the funds wisely and not just have it sit in a bank. We also knew we didn’t want an endowment account if we needed to pull the money out. Rick did a presentation, and everybody on our finance committee chose to invest in GUMF’s Multiple Asset Fund.

Q: Why did the church entrust its funds to GUMF?
Magoni: We believe in the ministry of GUMF, like the returns they provide, and that they are investing in the kingdom and supporting and building the church of Jesus Christ. We also believe it is important to partner with agencies that have a like-minded mission to that which the church has been called to fulfill. It gives us peace of mind that our extra resources are in a safe place that are helping other churches, organizations, and individuals in the kingdom. So, with our resources, we are blessing others.

Q. What are the church’s financial objectives?
Magoni: Our goals are to be faithful with the Lord's resources, always use them to advance His Kingdom, and do good and not harm.

Q. Why is investing in a socially responsible manner so important?
Magoni: The money we are investing has been entrusted to us, but was given to the Lord to do His work in the world. So, we are stewards of those contributions and should use them in ways that honor Him and reflect His purposes.

Posted: October 25th, 2021 | Permalink

Kamisha Washington Answers God’s Call to Ordained Ministry

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Grateful is the word that best describes Kamisha Washington, a second-year Gammon Theological Seminary student who received a United Methodist Dollars for Scholars scholarship for the 2021-2022 academic year. The $4,000 award included $1,000 in support from the Georgia United Methodist Foundation, St. James UMC in Alpharetta, Gammon Theological Seminary, and the United Methodist Higher Education Foundation.

Kamisha is one of 63 students who received a scholarship from GUMF this year. Her award was funded through an endowed scholarship established with GUMF by friends and family of the Rev. Dr. Glenn L. Ethridge, who passed away last year. They wished to honor his legacy as a United Methodist pastor and chair of the North Georgia Conference’s Board of Ordained Ministry.

Kamisha holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Technical Management from DeVry University and a Master of Business Administration from DeVry University’s Keller Graduate School of Management. A lifelong learner, she is pursuing a Master of Divinity degree and ordination as a deacon in The United Methodist Church while working full time as a certified professional coach.

In October 2018, Kamisha joined St. James UMC. “This was my first experience attending a United Methodist church. The church is so loving and so empowering and believes in making disciples of Jesus Christ and sharing with every person we meet,” she said. “I took an eight-week Survival Kit Bible class, which helps you understand what it means to be a Christian and how to live that life. I was so excited about this class that I started facilitating it.”

The Rev. Dr. Michael T. McQueen served as pastor at St. James UMC before he was appointed Central North district superintendent of the North Georgia Conference in 2020. The church would make it a point to recognize Bible study class members and teachers during graduation ceremonies. It was during one of these special services in 2019 that Kamisha responded to God’s call.

“Pastor McQueen was preaching about following the Holy Spirit, and he asked, ‘Who feels like they have been led or are being called to ordained ministry and seminary?’ I had seminary on the brain, and once I started facilitating the class, it was like God was speaking to me,” Kamisha said. “When Pastor McQueen asked again, I heard the Holy Spirit tell me to stand up. So, I did, and I was the only one.

Serving as a deacon resonates with me because I truly believe God will use me to bridge academia and the church. So many people are leaving the church because they think it’s not relevant. We need to think of new and creative ways to reach people and show them different approaches. How do you make theology practical in the world we live in today? We are in the world, but we are not of the world, so we need to be cognizant of things in the world so we can make the intended impact.”

The scholarship Kamisha received had a life-changing impact. “I don’t have to worry about whether I have to sit out a class because I can’t afford it. It allows me that space to breathe so I can focus on what’s important. It also fills me with encouragement and confirmation from God that I am doing what I am supposed to be doing,” Kamisha said. “Being a recipient of this scholarship has been, in a way, like what I do with other folks as a professional coach – it’s partnering with me, guiding me, and pushing me forward in the work that God has called me to do. When I coach people, I like to focus on what we are grateful for so we can lead better lives.

And when I think about paying it forward, I also want to help those coming behind me and find ways I can donate to allow other folks to receive this type of scholarship in the future. I am so grateful for this scholarship. Your resources are creating the disciples of Jesus that we need in the world. It’s one thing to say, ‘We’re praying for you.’ But if someone is hungry, feed them if you have the means. You are taking that Scripture to heart, and it is such a blessing to be able to experience God’s word in practice!”

Posted: October 25th, 2021 | Permalink