Friday, 23 October 2015

What did they leave?

One of our churchwardens tells a tale of a chap who was walking through the streets of a town one morning when he came across a funeral procession. There were many mourners walking behind the horse-drawn hearse and it was obvious by the attire and obvious station of the mourners that this must have been someone of import.

Getting in step with one of those processing towards the cemetery the young man asks who it is that is being buried. Upon being told (a man he'd never heard before) he asked the question, 'Did he leave much?' to which the man by his side replied, 'Everything!'

This is Christian Legacy week - a time when Christians and churches are being encouraged to think about the delicate of issue of what we will be doing with the 'everything' that we leave behind: One of the most sensitive topics I think there can be; something that I have never discussed with anyone, ever!

Recently, Christian Research conducted a survey the results of which showed that 'only' 45% of Christians plan to leave a gift to a church or charity in their will. Now I have to say that I was amazed at the number and think that the 'only' should be replaced with 'as many' because I was surprised at that number. But of course it means that more than half of those who wear the label 'Christian' have  never thought about it and that's a large number of people!

Recently I have experienced legacy first hand as someone I know left a gift that will keep on supporting a church that was dear to them for a very long time. This really was a gift that will keep on giving and even though no longer physically with the members of their beloved church, their present makes their presence, and their love for them, real and obvious for a very long time to come!

The Church of England have made this video for PCCs to help raise awareness of this important (yet highly sensitive) topic:

So, if you're a Church Treasurer or a member of your Church Council - this is something you might like to watch and bring to your next finance group meeting and PCC, DCC or whatever you call those who give of their time to do the business of the church.

And even if you are not either of the above - take the time to make your Treasurer and members of the Finance team, the PCC, DCC and leaders aware. After all, to paraphrase (a little wrongly) the old song:

'T'ain't what you'e got it's the way that you leave it - that's what gets results!'

A new question for us all: 'You might have sorted out how you live, what about what happens when you leave it behind?' ... and while we are on the subject: 'How many of us have made a will ?'

Be careful what you ask for!

1 comment:

Vic Van Den Bergh said...

Christian Legacy are providing resources to help Church leaders and small groups to talk about legacy gifts. You can access the resources here: