We hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and Happy New Year. It is truly an honor to serve you and your Moravian Ministries Foundation in America. 2017 is in the books and it was a great year for the markets. We encourage you to review your fourth quarter statements and certainly let us know if there are any questions. We have also developed a one page performance summary for each investment model. These summaries include an easy reference to the asset allocation of each model, as well as, the performance of the model for the quarter.
Let's talk honestly about money and the church
THE MORAVIAN MINISTRIES FOUNDATION helps Moravian individuals, churches, and agencies grow and sustain the ministries that are central to their faith. We do this through investments, gift planning, and stewardship development.
Moravian Common Fund: Q4 Report
Important Tax Opportunities for 2017
The tax legislation now before Congress will impact most taxpayers. It may also present unique opportunities for 2017 end-of-year giving.
- While only about 30% of taxpayers itemize deductions today, the proposed tax reform increases the standard deduction. Even fewer individuals will itemize in 2018. If you are unlikely to itemize your deductions under the proposed new law, consider increasing your 2017 gifts.
Moving Ministries Forward, Together.
We're still the trusted partners we've always been. But we have a new focus and a new image for the future. "Moving ministries forward, together" is our commitment to you that we will be your partner. Our team will work with you individually to maximize the impact of your giving and help you understand the benefits from a tax viewpoint. We also partner with churches and ministries to strengthen their impact through our stewardship and development services.
Moravian Common Fund: Q3 Report
I certainly hope that this note finds you all doing well. This quarter we are trying something new and our investment performance is in a different format; please click here to download it. We hope you find it easy to navigate, we invite your feedback on it, and, as always, please let us know if you have questions.
Donor Advised Fund Basics
The Moravian Ministries Foundation (MMFA) is excited to help individuals, couples, and families create Donor Advised Funds to benefit the Moravian ministries and other causes they care about most. When you create a Donor Advised Fund (DAF) through MMFA, you make an irrevocable gift and retain the privilege of making grant recommendations over time. You are eligible for an immediate charitable income tax deduction upon funding the account based upon the tax rules for gifts to a public charity.
Resources for Congregations
Raising the Next Generation to be Grateful and Generous
Children are one of God's greatest gifts. We strive to raise them to be compassionate, appreciative, and kindhearted. As a church we promise to love and nurture them in Christ. One of our responsibilities as communities of faith is to teach our children how to recognize God's abundant gifts of grace, to be grateful for what they have been given, and to be generous. Here are a few ideas to help as we develop the next generation of stewards.
1. Help children see that God has given them many blessings. (This also teaches good self-esteem.)
Step Up Generosity in 2017
We recommend to pastors and church leaders that you take the time to "step out" your congregational giving this year. Using a chart like the one in the photo (from Herb Miller's Grow1 Stewardship Program), you can easily see how people are supporting the church as well as challenge members to consider moving up a step. Many congregations share the concern that only a few members are generating most of the church's gifts; at a recent conference we heard from a pastor whose church has 10% of the members giving 45% of its budget.
The Giving Autobiography
What is your earliest memory of giving and of receiving? Mine involves my grandmother; she took me out to lunch every year on my birthday, letting me pick the restaurant (as a kid that was usually McDonald’s or Arby’s), and then we went shopping and I got to pick out whatever I wanted as long as it was under a certain limit. As an adult I can appreciate that her giving was how we all should give….selflessly. She didn’t make me eat where she wanted to eat (most likely the K&W Cafeteria or the Carriage House), and she didn’t give me something she thought I should have; she let me choose.
God Loves a Cheerful Giver
“Taxes,” is a word I’m willing to bet doesn’t resonate well among Moravians, Americans today, or most people throughout history. They are, however, a necessary evil. Jesus even said, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s,” right? Most of us comply with our duty, although under disgruntled protest. We have received several questions and been in many conversations recently about taxes and what all of the changes mean to the church and those who give to Moravian causes. As of December 22, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act became law under President Trump’s signature.
What's your favorite Advent or Christmas carol? I have many, but "Silent Night" comes quickly to mind. I long for the world to be calm and bright, I suppose, but the line which really "sings" to me every time is "with the dawn of redeeming grace". That's what this time of year is all about, right? The essence of Christmas is the arrival of the grace of God in Jesus Christ. How easy it is to get caught up in Christmas shopping and cookie baking and activities and parties and forget the whole point. Our nights oftentimes aren't silent during Advent.
Love and Legacy
This week marked the 150th Anniversary of my home congregation, Kernersville Moravian. I was warmed by the individual legacies of love all around me. We sang the hymn “We raise our voice in One Accord,” written for the occasion by my friend and a daughter of the congregation, Nancy Shore Sawtelle. Communion was served by father and son The Rt. Rev. Graham Rights and The Rev. John G. Rights, and The Rev. Lisa Mullen. I rode up to the fellowship hall in the elevator given by the late Ida Roberts. The sanctuary itself. The pipe organ.
Donor Advised Fund Helps Spaugh Family See Hope in Sadness
In the fourth quarter of 2017, the Moravian Ministries Foundation in America (MMFA) will launch a new Donor Advised Fund (DAF). The Board of MMFA hopes that this new fund encourages giving in new and exciting ways. We also hope that this opens up philanthropy to new donors who may desire more choice in their charitable contributions.
Great is your Faith
Matthew’s gospel includes an interesting story in chapter 15. It is the story of a Canaanite mother. We know she had at least one child but very little is known about her otherwise. However, the fact that Matthew captures her story is amazing and we should not miss it. Matthew, who was a tax collector prior to meeting Christ, strikes me as someone who would debunk social norms.
Starting the Conversation on Impact
I may sound like a worried person when I say this is a turbulent time we live in, but I believe most of you will agree with the truth behind that statement. From the recent disturbing violence in Charlottesville to other protests, murders, and unimaginable events that are hitting the news waves daily around this great land of ours, times are challenging. As our pastor reminded us Sunday, eight people stepped off of the ark in Genesis 8 and we are all descendants of those people. The only race that matters in the image of God is the human race and we all should strive to ad
When Little Things Mean Big Things
Monday was my birthday. It was a bittersweet day as we lost my dear grandmother last week and her funeral was over the weekend. She was an incredible person; in fact, I shared a little about her a few months ago as I reflected on who first taught me what it meant to be generous (you can read that post here). As my cousin put it when our family gathered to share stories about my grandmother with her pastor, she was "incomparable".
Invest in HOW You Believe
Invest Where You Believe is the slogan of the Moravian Ministries Foundation. It is a slogan or mission statement that resonates with me and speaks to my personal belief as a follower of Jesus Christ. I believe that I should push a significant portion of my charitable donations toward Christ and His Kingdom’s work on this earth. That includes our church and various ministries that serve basic human needs but primarily spiritual needs by sharing the Gospel.