Looking Ahead with Grateful Hearts

As we conclude our 50th anniversary celebration of the Endowment Fund, we thank God for the fifty couples and individuals listed here in the Explorer who have made gifts and commitments to the fund. Our prayer is additional members will make commitments in the months and years to come, helping to ensure our church will always be a beacon of Christian love for the generations that follow.

River Road Church has a long history of being a blessing to us. Carolyn attended worship services in the chapel when she was a student at Westhampton College. We were married in the chapel, before we considered joining the church. From young parents to senior members, from the Doubles Class to the Friendship Class, from Woody Hasty to Daniel Glaze, River Road Church has been and continues to be a vital part of our lives.

We will continue to support the church beyond our lives by the only way we know, including the church in our estate plan. If you have not included River Road Church in your estate plan, please prayerfully consider doing so. As our former pastor, Vernon Richardson, encouraged us at the time of the fund’s founding, “Put God’s will into your will.”

Written by Ransone & Carolyn Hartz

Looking Ahead with Gratitude-—

A Celebration of 50 and More

For a full year now, our church family has been celebrating a milestone — the 50th anniversary of the River Road Church Endowment Fund. When the fund was chartered on June 6, 1967, no one could know with any certainty what opportunities it would make possible. No one could foresee what ministries it might enable, what improvements and programs it might support that otherwise would be set aside or missed by those doing God’s work at River and Ridge. Yet with vision, faith, and careful management, by 2017 the fund had grown to more than $9 million in value — even after funding numerous significant programs and projects over the years — all thanks to fifty years of gifts and bequests made to the future ministries of River Road Church. Given the abundant gifts of the first 50 years, what opportunities might await in 50 more?

That question — that hope — was the springboard to the Celebrate 50 & 50 More anniversary celebration launched in 2017. As River Road Church celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Endowment Fund, could we take steps to lift awareness of the fund and through it enhance the opportunities for ministry at River Road Church? In celebration of 50 years of gifts and bequests, would perhaps 50 of our River Road family today feel called to make similar commitments to our church and her ministries?

Acknowledging, with gratitude, 50 more!

During this anniversary year, and at six special events last spring, our church family heard more about the Endowment Fund, its purpose, and its importance to the ongoing work of our church. We were invited to consider what making a legacy gift to the church, even after our lifetime, says about those things we hold dear in this life. We learned of significant programs and projects made possible by endowment grants over the years. We heard that all gifts — regardless of size — are important to the work of God’s kingdom, both those we make today and those we leave for future generations. Finally, we were invited to consider making our own legacy gift commitment to the church through the Endowment Fund, either as an unrestricted gift or one designated to any of four areas of special interest: buildings and grounds, education and spiritual formation, missions, or music.

In response, as our fund’s 50th anniversary celebration draws to a close on June 6, 2018, we do indeed “celebrate 50 & 50 more.” As this publication is printed, 50 individuals or families have made gifts to the Endowment or commitments to include the fund in their estate plans in response to the campaign. As we acknowledge with thanks and appreciation these 50 gifts and commitments, we are grateful to a generous God for all such expressions of devotion, then and now.

When the celebration ends, what’s next?

The response to the Celebrate 50 & 50 More invitation has been generous in support of our collective hopes and dreams for our church. Just as those hopes and dreams are ongoing, so is the opportunity to make a commitment to the Endowment Fund — either as an outright gift or as part of the estate planning process. The time for such discussions is unique to each of us. If financial planning outside of immediate family support seems far off now, it can be helpful to know that a legacy gift can be an attainable goal down the road. (Any member of the board of directors or ministerial staff will be happy to provide more information, or you can read more online.) In our 51st year and in all that follow, the invitation remains, offering all who love River Road Church an opportunity to nourish future generations in Christian love and service.

In all things and at all times, may we respond with gratitude to a generous and loving God, pledging our gifts, talents, and resources to God’s kingdom today and always.

Originally published in the 2018 Summer Quarterly Explorer