“The Minister of the Congregation is directed to instruct the people, from time to time, about the duty of Christian parents to make prudent provision for the well-being of their families, and of all persons to make wills, while they are in health, arranging for the disposal of their temporal goods, not neglecting, if they are able, to leave bequests for religious and charitable uses.” (Book of Common Prayer p.445)
Hello St. Paul’s,
This weekend we will hold our annual celebration of our Legacy Society. The Legacy Society is composed of parishioners who have included St. Paul’s Cathedral in their trusts or wills. We are blessed to have a large number of people who not only make a regular financial commitment to our ministry, but have also made provision for that support to continue after they have gone to their heavenly reward.
It is a special joy to celebrate the foresight and generosity of our parishioners who have taken the cathedral into consideration in their estate planning. The income that we receive from our endowed funds supports about 10% of our ministry, and it is available only because committed parishioners once included the cathedral in their plans. It makes a significant difference.
The best way to leave a legacy for the cathedral is to name an amount or a percentage of your estate, without designating a specific fund (such as “endowment” or “music”). This allows us to invest the legacy and use the proceeds as Chapter deems best for the longterm benefit of the congregation. The ideal is to “endow your pledge”: just as 4-5% is the recommended draw from a retirement fund, so we aim to draw 4-5% from our endowed funds each year for the operations of the cathedral. So, if you multiply your annual pledge by 25, the income from that amount will replace your pledge for perpetuity. Of course, more is even better!
Estate attorneys can help you decide on the exact vehicle for your planned legacy. When you are updating your affairs, please ask about the options available to you.
Sometimes a legacy can help us do what would otherwise be impossible. For example, the recent bequest from Mim Sellgren allowed us to engage Nicholas Halbert as Artist in Residence last year, as we re-established our chorister program; and portions of bequests from Joan Ford and others provided the upfront funds we needed to launch the Music Center project and major gifts campaign.
I am deeply grateful for all those who include St. Paul’s in their estate planning. Thank you all for the critical support you offer your faith community.
Your sister in Christ,