Slaves to Wall Street

Endowments are a mixed blessing.

On the one hand, they provide money that doesn’t have to be raised every year from people who are current attendees of the parish. They often–as in Incarnation’s case–can support buildings that otherwise couldn’t be maintained.

On the other hand, they can lull a congregation into believing they don’t need to give sacrificially to their church. They let the endowment will pick up the tab. That attitude can limit new work in the parish or can lead to cutbacks and deferred maintenance or even to drawing down the endowment. And the idea that we need only give a modest tip to the parish every year isn’t likely to deepen our commitment to the work of Jesus Christ.

So the Wall Street jitters vibrate into our own endowed parish. But, at the least, they may spur our Stewardship 2016 program–and financial downturns usually bring new people to church! —J. Douglas Ousley

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