Investing with GUMF Gives East Cobb UMC Peace of Mind


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.”