It was during the middle of the April 12 service led by members of the Southminster Foundation that I thought about George. Judge George Davis was a member of the first congregation I served in upstate New York. He was our congregation’s historian. He cared deeply about preserving our past, not only the congregation’s past but that of the local region as well. He cared about the past not for the sake of nostalgia, but because he cared about the future. He wanted future generations to be connected with their own past so that they would have resources and wisdom from which to draw as they faced their
He was also concerned that institutions such as our churches would be blessings and not burdens on future generations. He knew that it wasn’tenough to leave future generations with a building that they would useup their resources maintaining. That is no gift. He wanted to leave a legacy.
He talked with me about this and decided that in addition to his pledge to the regular expenses of the church, he would give an additional pledge to a permanent fund. He hoped that at the time of his death, that amount would be large enough so that the earnings would provide an ongoing gift with no conditions attached to the work of the First Presbyterian Church of Lowville, New York.
Judge Davis died in 2010. His legacy lives.
This is the kind of forethought that will be necessary for congregations like the one in Lowville and our own to sustain themselves in the future. We have an important ministry and mission. We are all beneficiaries of those who provided for us in the past. We can now be a blessing for the future.
The Southminster Foundation is an important vehicle for our congregation’s future. The stewardship of this foundation is impeccable. It effectively distributes its earnings in equal proportion to outside charities and to the work of Southminster. In my opinion, this
is an excellent balance.
If I can be blunt, I have another opinion. I think if the Foundation is going to help sustain our future and be a notable blessing to our larger community, we will need to increase its value significantly. The questions that we are asking are these: what is a target value for the Southminster Foundation and how can we get there?
What I appreciated about George Davis is that I never had to ask him. He took the initiative to think about what his church meant to him and the legacy he wanted to leave for the future because of the importance of the past.
Blessed Be, John