Maturing Buildings Need Maturing Faith
“A maturing faith involves awareness of the impact of others on us, but also awareness of the impact that we have on others.”
“Knowing your own story and your congregation’s are central to responsible and faithful leadership whatever position you occupy in God’s realm.”
Both of these thoughts come from an article in The Lutheran magazine by Dr. Emlyn Ott, the Dean of Leadership Formation at Trinity Lutheran Seminary and former Director of Healthy Congregations, Inc. Both statements illustrate how Hubert and Joan Williams’ story and our congregation’s authentic life together are a match made in heaven!
When they decided to make FPCA their faith home seven years ago after moving here from Albany, GA, Hubert and Joan Williams quickly found their place in God’s realm here at 40 Church Street. They made friends, attended activities and volunteered for leadership where needed and where their gifts were best offered. Joan found joy participating in Women’s Studies and Women’s Dinner Out. Hubert put his talents and professional expertise to use on the property committee. Of their time in the FPCA community, they say, “We especially like how close members are with each other and how very much a part of the church we feel.” They also enjoy the great music program and the ministry of Saturday Sanctuary.
As Hubert served on the property committee, he realized that for a church as active as ours in ministry to Asheville, we needed a more functional means of group transportation. Having come from a church with a large bus, they knew that that our van was aging and not adequate for the needs our ministry presented. In their maturing faith, Hubert and Joan recognized both the impact that our church was having on them and the impact that they could have on our church and its ministry.
Together, Hubert and Joan set their hearts and souls to discerning a gift that would take our church to the next level of ministry in downtown Asheville. They decided to give the congregation a 15-passenger bus with room for luggage and accessible to people with walkers. Over twenty members were trained as drivers by Don Totten, and we are able to transport members and guests from neighboring retirement communities as well as take trips together wherever God calls us to go.
Joan and Hubert have been abundantly blessed with wealth beyond their expectations. They are grateful to God and believe strongly that such blessings should be dedicated to God’s work in the world around them. As Hubert spent time working through the issues with which the property committee was wrestling, God began to speak to him and Joan about the long term health of our church’s ministry and how it was unfortunately linked to the expense of maintaining an aging infrastructure. They talked and prayed about a way they might be able to help to separate those two expenses with a fund to help cover deferred maintenance costs and free up our annual budget to focus more on the ministry and less on facilities.
In 2016, they decided to dedicate $1 million of their estate to FPCA and our church’s building maintenance fund was established. In order to provide some funding now, they gave $100,000 to start the fund. It is their hope that many members will understand how important our role is in maintaining our beautiful buildings and help grow the fund with their own current and planned gifts. In order to facilitate this, our church now has a planned giving program. You can pick up information at the reception desk in the Wallace Foyer or find it online using the link below.
On April 23, the planned giving team will be hosting a class on this topic during faith development. Anyone wishing to learn about estate planning (you’re never too young for this!) is welcome to come and hear from a professional about how to start the process or how to add FPCA to your plan if you have already made your plans prior. Also, feel free to talk about this opportunity with Sarah Thornburg or Patrick Johnson.
We are so grateful for the wisdom and generosity that Hubert and Joan Williams have graciously offered our church family, and the way this gift has expanded our mission and impacted our ministry in and to Asheville.
Planned giving team members: John Webb, Julie Lehman, Sarah Thornburg, Patrick Johnson