GUMF Helps Bainbridge First UMC Reach Its Financial Goals

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"We trust the leadership of GUMF. Bainbridge First UMC hopes to develop additional endowment funds through GUMF in the future to ensure that our congregation will be able to maintain our beautiful sanctuary, including the slated roof and historic stained-glass windows in the next 30 years. We want to enlist GUMF's assistance to help us reach our financial goals.”
– Rev. Melissa Traver, Bainbridge First UMC Senior Pastor

For nearly two centuries, Bainbridge First UMC has focused on making disciples of Jesus Christ and serving neighbors’ needs while uplifting its community through love and worship. This 540+ member congregation has a legacy of pastoral and lay leaders who work tirelessly to secure its spiritual and financial future.

“We have a very generous and engaged congregation who is committed to being in mission and doing what it takes to be an important witness for Christ,” said the Rev. Melissa Traver, senior pastor of Bainbridge First UMC. She recently returned from a youth mission trip where the church partnered with Raleigh Youth Mission in North Carolina to work with homeless shelters and food banks in need.

One member left a legacy gift to support missions so the church had a perpetual source of income to serve as the hands and feet of Christ. Earlier this year, Traver worked closely with Dr. Rick Lanford, Georgia United Methodist Foundation regional vice president, to establish an investment management account that honored the donor’s wishes.

There are several reasons why Bainbridge First UMC entrusted these funds to GUMF, which partners with Wespath Institutional Investments, a not-for-profit subsidiary of Wespath Benefits and Investments.

“Our church needed to separate certain designated funds which specified that the income produced by the gift was to be used in the same manner as the gift–specifically for church mission work,” Traver explains. “These funds will be invested using the Investment Policy of the South Georgia Annual Conference–the same policy used as a model by the South Georgia Conference Board of Trustees. As the former secretary of the Board of Trustees, we relied upon GUMF as a major resource of fund growth.”

Institutional investors can choose from five funds managed by GUMF: U.S. Equity Fund, International Equity Fund, Multiple Asset Fund, Fixed Income Fund, and an Inflation Protection Fund. Bainbridge First UMC chose to invest 100 percent of the funds in the Multiple Asset Fund because the risk tolerance was acceptable with the donor’s goals and the Conference’s Investment Policy.

Traver believes investing with GUMF, whose investment policies align with the ministry focus of Bainbridge First UMC, will yield long-term benefits for the church.

“We trust the leadership of GUMF. Bainbridge First UMC hopes to develop additional endowment funds through GUMF in the future to ensure that our congregation will be able to maintain our beautiful sanctuary, including the slated roof and historic stained-glass windows in the next 30 years,” Traver said. “We want to enlist GUMF's assistance to help us reach our financial goals.”