How often do we really appreciate God’s overwhelming generosity to every one of us? God gave us all that we have and all that we are; our wealth and possessions, our family and friends, our health, the earth we live on, the air we breathe; even his Son Jesus.
We are all rich in the gift and grace of Christ, 'for you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.'
Gifts in Wills are an important part of Christian Giving, and leaving a gift to your church is a way to thank God for all the blessings you have received in your lifetime.
God gave us everything we own. Our stewardship beliefs and practices teach us that when we have no further use for our earthly possessions, we give back to God.
For some Christians, including a gift in their Will is a final way of giving thanks to God.
We are God’s stewards, entrusted to use His gifts for the good of our family and our church family. In thanksgiving, we should also take Will writing seriously – setting our affairs in order, and stewarding them wisely to the end of our time on earth and beyond.
Legacies and Giving in Memory
The work of many of our churches is transformed with legacy income.
To understand how to get started with legacies in your church, the National Giving team have published an excellent webinar which you can view here:
Topic: Getting Started with Legacy Giving
To help Church Leaders to promote legacies, the Diocese have produced a booklet free to download 'Talking About Legacies To Your Congregation'
And finally, we strongly recommend that every PCC has a legacy policy and communicates that policy to their church community so everyone is sure that their legacy gifts will be well spent.
Gifts of Faith, Hope and Love - Legacy Resource
Gifts of Faith, Hope and Love is a guide from the Church of England, published in 2017, providing both spiritual and practical information on how to include a gift in your will. It is a guide to writing your will, to reflect your Christian Faith.
Click here for a pdf version of the booklet.
The Stewardship team at the Diocese have a few copies but you can order your own, free, via the church legacy website at www.churchlegacy.org.uk/
Church Print Hub also publish several legacy leaflets for distribution in your church, all are free.
The Church of England has launched 2 short films entitled ‘A Lasting Difference’ explaining how gifts in wills can help to transform the lives of our local churches and communities. The first film here is for the PCC and the second for the church congregation.
Giving in Memory
Churches are often asked to receive gifts in memory of a loved one. Special tributes can be made by buying things to furnish the church for example:
- A garden seat with an inscribed brass plate
- A bible or hymn books including a book plate with a loved one's name
- Robes for the Choir
- A special tree or shrub for the church grounds
Whilst tangible gifts for your church are appreciated and valued, why not consider using gifts in memory to raise income. Special lives can be remembered and celebrated by, for example:
- Having an event like a 'Light up a Life' carol or choral service at Christmas
- Opening and hosting a special in-memory book or inscribed board for all to see at the entrance of the church
- Finding space for a memory tree, where givers are invited to buy a leaf inscribed with their loved one's name
- Having pretty personalised pebbles in the church gardens
The possibilities are endless and your stewardship team at the Diocese would be glad to talk to you about holding an event or finding something to suit your needs.