Mulberry Street UMC Investment Builds God’s Kingdom

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Dr. G. Russell (Russ) Barber, Jr. recently found himself in a unique position. As treasurer of Mulberry Street UMC, he was tasked with putting $1,000 in interest income into the 2013 budget at a time when their Money Market account was paying practically zero. And as the former Georgia United Methodist Foundation finance/audit committee chair, board of trustee and executive committee member, he also wanted to support the ministry he has served since 1999.

“I explained to our finance committee that the Foundation sells interest-bearing certificates and that the money is used to make loans to churches. I revealed that I am a Foundation trustee, and while I wasn’t totally independent, I had knowledge that the Foundation is a $100 million operation with $27 million in good quality loans outstanding,” Russ said. “I recommended we invest $150,000 in 1- and 2-year certificates, identified that we could earn higher interest rates, and addressed the fact that while the Certficate Program is not insured, the money we had in our checking account wasn’t either because it exceeded the allowable amount insured by the FDIC.”

The committee recognized there was a greater good at work and embraced the idea of using the money to build God’s kingdom. “This was a way to do good for both organizations that I have a responsibility for,” Russ said. “Investing in the Certificate Program is an easy way for churches to start a relationship with the Foundation, which is our own Methodist financial institution, because CDs are so understandable.

This article was originally published in the Summer 2013 edition of Faith & Money.