Foundation Selects Pastors for Young Leadership Class

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Two pastors were selected from the Louisiana Annual Conference to receive sponsorships to participate in an advanced, five-year leadership training course for young clergy. The United Methodist Foundation of Louisiana will sponsor these pastors in the Advancing Pastoral Leadership program at a cost of $2000 per year plus travel expenses.

The recipients are Rev. Rachel McConnell-Switzer of Summer Grove UMC, Shreveport; and Rev. Bradley Swire of Lake Arthur UMC.

Advancing Pastoral Leadership is a ministry of the Texas Annual Conference open to clergy who have 30 years of potential remaining service to the church and designed to develop their capacity for leadership. Session topics will cover issues such as discernment of leadership gifts and creation of development goals; current realities of the UMC, engaging staff and congregation in strategic planning; implementing change and managing resistance; preaching content and style; budgets and basic church accounting, money sermons and personal financial planning; and setting a personalized growth and development plan.

Applicants were required to have exhibited gifts in leading their church in professions of faith, worship attendance, membership, missional outreach ministries, and financial giving. Additionally, each applicant’s qualifications were affirmed by lay leaders of the church they serve.

The Foundation has been sponsoring young Louisiana pastors in this program since 2011. Other participants include graduates Rev. Stephen Fife, Rev. Juan Huertas, Rev. Katie McKay-Simpson, Rev. Leslie Stephens; and current participants Rev. Colleen Bookter, Rev. Ben McGehee, Rev. Ashley McGuire, Rev. Brian Mercer, Rev. Josh Milliron, Rev. Karli Pidgeon, Rev. Drew Sutton, Rev. Marissa Teauseau, Rev. Lane Cotton Winn, and Rev. Max Zehner.

Chris Spencer Joins Foundation Staff

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The United Methodist Foundation of Louisiana is pleased to announce and welcome Chris Spencer to its staff as Development Officer. Chris brings 24 years of banking, finance and marketing experience from his employment with JPMorgan Chase & Co. in Dallas and Baton Rouge, where he served most recently as a Vice President and Business Relationship Manager.

“We are most fortunate to have someone of Chris’ experience and skill set join our team,” said Rob Fairly, President and CEO of the Foundation. “His personality, knowledge and talent make him the ideal person to promote planned giving and the Foundation’s services to the United Methodist churches and ministries in our Conference.”

A native of Charlotte, N.C., Chris earned a B.A. in journalism and history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He earned an M.B.A. from the Executive M.B.A. Program at LSU in 2001.

Chris is an active member of First United Methodist Church of Baton Rouge, where he serves on the Church Council and is involved in the Community Sunday School class.  He has served as a board member and finance committee chair for the YMCA of the Capital Area and as Chair of the University Laboratory School Foundation. He is a former board member of Friends of Louisiana Public Broadcasting and Prevent Child Abuse Louisiana. Chris and his wife, Karen, have two children.

Chris is responsible for expanding the Foundation’s mission in the southern portion of the Louisiana Annual Conference, while Bob Carrell will continue to serve the northern portion.

Foundation Offers Free Online Giving: What could your church do with 26% more income?

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Electronic giving has been around long enough now to accumulate compelling data to support its positive impact on giving. Of the faith-based congregations studied, those that accept both electronic checks and credit cards are realizing up to 26% greater income than those accepting just cash and personal checks.

To that end, the Foundation is offering online giving on its website as a free service to United Methodist churches in the Louisiana Annual Conference that are not already offering it. There is no cost to the church. It’s free.

 “The United Methodist Foundation of Louisiana believes so firmly in churches having an online giving option for their donors, we want all churches to have the ability to offer it,” said Rob Fairly, President and CEO of the Foundation.

Churches must authorize existing accounts to accept online donations or establish accounts with the Foundation specifically for online donation purposes before funds can be accepted. Once the church has added its account(s) to the list of eligible online giving options, donors may make a donation to these funds using a credit or debit card.

“This is a great way for donors to build up an endowment here at the Foundation, or direct friends and family to make memorial gifts to their church in honor or memory of a loved one,” Fairly added.

To get your church started, simply call (225) 346-1535 or email the Foundation office and discuss your church’s needs with us. We will work with churches to provide the best, customized online options for their congregations.

Also, visit our online giving page to see what the online giving options are.

Foundation's Annual Meeting Celebrates Donors

L to R: Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey, Don Clayton and Rob Fairly at the Annual Meeting.

L to R: Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey, Don Clayton and Rob Fairly at the Annual Meeting.

“We’ve a Story to Tell” was the theme at the United Methodist Foundation of Louisiana’s annual meeting and luncheon on April 25 at the City Club of Baton Rouge. The event celebrated donors through the years who each have a story of devotion and commitment to United Methodist ministries and churches.

Rob Fairly, president of the Foundation, and Chairman of the Board Nettles Brown led the meeting.  Special guests included donors, Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey, Louisiana Annual Conference staff, several past board chairs, and Past President Dr. Ken Reed.

Guest speaker Don Clayton, who established an endowment for the benefit of Lake Arthur United Methodist Church this year, inspired guests with his testimony of generosity and legacy building. The endowment will ensure that his childhood church can have a full time pastor, money for youth activities, a parsonage, and a “rainy day fund” for unforeseen expenses, in perpetuity.

Foundation Provides Crew Cab Trucks for Disaster Recovery

The United Methodist Foundation of Louisiana was pleased to donate two crew cab trucks to the Early Response Team of the Louisiana Conference, to assist in the rebuild after the August flooding in Louisiana. 

 “Words are not enough to express the thanks we have for the United Methodist Foundation of Louisiana and one of their many expressions of support for the mission of the Louisiana Conference Disaster Response ministry,” said Rev. Bob Deich, Coordinator of Early Response Teams for the Louisiana Conference.

Reverend Deich, aka “The Disaster Pastor” explained that one of the crew cab trucks will be used by the Construction Superintendent during the flood recovery and rebuild, and the second one donated by the Foundation is being used to haul trailers of supplies where needed.

 The trucks will be used to assist other areas in our region as well. Deich added that he is using the second truck himself and recently hauled a trailer full of cots, diapers and other relief supplies to North Carolina, a ten hour drive, to help with early response aid to those impacted byHurricane Matthew. “It pulls like a dream,” he said, “even in the rain.” 

 The trucks used previously were not built for transporting the heavy loads of supplies that are needed for disaster relief, and the donated truck is helping the disaster team do its job more efficiently.

 

 

Rev. Bob Deich, left, thanks Bob Carrell, right, representing the United Methodist Foundation of Louisiana, for the donation of two cab crew trucks to the La. Conference Disaster Response Team. One of the trucks is pictured here.

Rev. Bob Deich, left, thanks Bob Carrell, right, representing the United Methodist Foundation of Louisiana, for the donation of two cab crew trucks to the La. Conference Disaster Response Team. One of the trucks is pictured here.

Foundation Invests in a New Generation of Christ-Followers

The United Methodist Foundation of Louisiana has awarded a matching grant to the University of Louisiana at Monroe’s Wesley Foundation to fund a leadership development opportunity for interns and staff in October.

Developing leaders for the Louisiana Conference is a primary focus of the United Methodist Foundation and this grant addresses that ministry.

The grant allowed the Wesley Foundation group to attend the Catalyst Conference in Atlanta, Ga., October 6-7, where they were able to experience a fully immersive and creative experience interacting with thousands of fellow next-generation leaders.

 “The United Methodist Foundation of Louisiana is pleased to provide the funds to equip ministry leaders, both present and future, with the tools and skills necessary to lead others to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world,” said Rob Fairly, President and CEO.

In Atlanta at the Catalyst Conference, Director Alan Johnson, Assistant Director Kristi Gadwa, Intern Tray Washington, Intern Joshua Hanna and Shawna Johnson.

In Atlanta at the Catalyst Conference, Director Alan Johnson, Assistant Director Kristi Gadwa, Intern Tray Washington, Intern Joshua Hanna and Shawna Johnson.

Foundation Announces New Investment Fund

The United Methodist Foundation of Louisiana has announced a new and improved investment opportunity.

The new Impact Fund, which launches July 1, 2016, seeks to invest only in the equity of companies that build their business with an eye toward positively influencing the environment and society. Investments are directed by money managers who have demonstrated expertise and skill in “positive social impact investing” and “ESG Investing” (Environment, Social and Governance).

Impacting social issues has been part of Methodism since its very beginning. John Wesley, whose concern for the poor, the sick and the imprisoned is well documented,  considered social outreach to be an integral part of being Methodist.

The Foundation has historically used negative social screening with investments, avoiding companies engaged in undesirable activities, which may include alcohol, tobacco, firearms or gambling industries.  Our investment practices and decisions are based on social and/or environmental performance, as well as a company’s financial performance.

“This is a situation where doing good is good for you. We are constantly trying to improve, and this has been a step in the right direction for us. Projections based on historical performance indicate these investments have out-performed others using negative screening,” said Rob Fairly, Foundation president.

 

Foundation’s Annual Meeting Celebrates 40 Years in Ministry

The United Methodist Foundation of Louisiana celebrated 40 years of service at its annual meeting and luncheon on April 26 at the City Club of Baton Rouge.

The meeting was a chance to review and give thanks for the Foundation’s many ministries and programs since its inception in 1975.  The event was dedicated to the late Rev. Dr. James J. Caraway, one of the founders of the Foundation, who died April 8.

Rob Fairly, president of the Foundation, and Chairman of the Board Rev. Joseph Awotwi led the meeting.  Nettles Brown was installed as the new chairman of the board and Rev. Hadley Edwards of New Orleans, Chris Spencer of Baton Rouge, and Dianne Wilkinson of Shreveport, were elected to the board of trustees. Special guests included donors, Louisiana Annual Conference staff and several past board chairs, as well as Past President Dr. Ken Reed.

Some of the important foundation milestones celebrated include:

  •       Planned gifts totaling $33 million have been established for the future of the United Methodist Church and its ministries
  •       The foundation hasloaned $35 million to churches and ministries within the Conference
  •       Over $5.7 million in grants has been awarded to United Methodist ministries
  •       More than 100 Conference pastors have benefited from seminary service loans

Guest speaker Gary Fuller, a member of the Georgia Annual Conference, inspired guests with his testimony of faith and the importance of legacy building.

Located in Baton Rouge, the United Methodist Foundation of Louisiana was founded in 1975 and serves United Methodist churches, institutions and individuals within the Louisiana Annual Conference, providing financial guidance and education, loans and grants.  It is one of the largest United Methodist Foundations in the denomination. 

Foundation Sponsors Clergy and Lay for Stewardship Event

The United Methodist Foundation of Louisiana is sponsoring 15 clergy and lay leaders to the Horizons Stewardship Academy of Faith & Money event, April 25-28 at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Irving, Tex.

The four-day generosity event promises to empower attendees who want to forever change the culture of giving and stewardship in their local church. The presenters, Dr. Cliff Christopher and Dr. Michael Reeves, will cover topics such as: stewardship realities; theology of stewardship; banking, borrowing and bonds; fundraising principles; capital campaigns; planned giving and endowments; and changing the culture of stewardship.

“The Stewardship Academy of Faith & Money was an encouraging and informative experience, especially designed for those who are interested in building God’s kingdom through compassionate stewardship,” said Rev. Matt Rawle, senior pastor of The Well United Methodist Church in Ponchatoula, who attended the program recently in another state.

“Part of the Foundation’s mission is to be a catalyst to help support the church, and this event can help do that,” said Rob Fairly, Foundation president.

The Foundation provided the sponsorships through a grant for clergy and laity stewardship training. Those receiving the sponsorship include: Rev. Ellen Alston, Henning Memorial UMC, Sulphur; Rev. Joseph Awotwi, Newman UMC, Alexandria; David Byerley, Vivian UMC; Bonnie Carr, McGuire UMC, West Monroe; Bob Carrell, United Methodist Foundation of Louisiana; Rev. Dr. Elenora Mackey Cushenberry, St. Paul UMC, Shreveport; Rev. Kotosha Griffin, St. Matthew’s UMC, Metairie; Rev. Bertrand Griffin II, Gretna UMC; Rev. Robert Johnson, Louisiana Avenue UMC, Lafayette; Rev. Sonya Lars, Mount Zion UMC, New Orleans; Mary Magee, Newman UMC, Alexandria; Rev. Rachel McConnell-Switzer, Henning Memorial UMC, Sulphur; Jason Shaffer, Magnolia UMC, Baton Rouge; Rev. Ray Varnado, First UMC, Thibodaux; and Paul Warner, Henning Memorial UMC, Sulphur.

Located in Baton Rouge, the United Methodist Foundation of Louisiana began in 1975 and serves United Methodist churches, institutions and individuals within the Louisiana Annual Conference, providing financial management, consultation and education, loans and grants. It is one of the largest United Methodist Foundations in the denomination.