At Immanuel, many of us have been blessed to know the people whose devoted efforts created our church, who paid for our first church buildings, who inspired our commitment to helping those less fortunate than ourselves, and who nurtured and led our community as it grew. While many of these people are no longer with us, their gifts of time, talent and financial resources made Immanuel what it is today, and we owe them our profound gratitude.
Now it is our turn.
Just as Joseph urged Pharaoh to build up reserves during the seven ‘fat’ years to prepare for the seven lean years (Genesis 41:36), it is important for us to put Immanuel in a position to be able to face unforeseen financial challenges or opportunities and continue to live out the message of Jesus Christ.
Sitting net to a child in church – whether our own, our grandchild, or someone else’s – makes us aware of how few places in our lives these days bring the generations together in common purpose. Worship is a reminder that each generation gives a gift to the next. The individuals who founded Immanuel had a wonderful vision – and acted on it. Now it’s our time to act as well. Let part of your gift across the generations go toward creating a strong Endowment for the next fifty years.
Here at Immanuel, we often talk about embodying God’s love in our community and in the world. In order to do so, and to thrive as a community of faith, this congregation has always depended upon its members and friends to practice good stewardship of their time, talent, and financial resources. We seek to nurture this culture of grateful and generous giving not just through our annual stewardship campaign to raise money for our yearly operating expenses (including benevolences), but also by providing special opportunities for our members and friends to be a blessing to others through various additional means, including our Auction, our Changing Lives program, and our commitment to Chesterbrook Residences.
Consistent with these precedents, the opportunity to give planned gifts (particularly through bequests in wills and trusts, but also in other forms) provides yet another means for Immanuel’s members and friends to participate in this culture of faithful stewardship and to help provide for a stable financial foundation as the church moves into the future. It is a chance for us to bless future generations.
Whenever I think of blessing future generations, I am reminded of the scene at the end of the book of Genesis, in which the patriarch Jacob places his hands on the heads of his grandchildren, Ephraim and Manasseh. He blesses them, leaving them a legacy of connection to those who have gone before them, saying, “The God before whom my ancestors Abraham and Isaac walked, the God who has been my shepherd all my life to this day, the angel who has redeemed me from all harm, bless the boys; and in them let my name be perpetuated, and the name of my ancestors Abraham and Isaac.” Setting aside a portion of our estate to give to the work of a congregation like Immanuel not only provides resources, it lets those we love know what is important to us—and what we hope will be important to them.
Striving to Embody God’s Love,
Rev. Aaron Fulp-Eickstaedt
Immanuel Presbyterian Church has officially launched The Linden Tree Society, a legacy organization created by a resolution presented to the Session to recognize members and friends of the congregation who have included the church in their estate planning. Our purpose is to build a spiritual legacy that will strength and extend the mission and ministry of the church for the benefit of future generations.
The Linden Tree
The Linden Tree Society was named with fond reference to the mighty linden trees in the courtyards outside of Immanuel’s sanctuary. On the residential property where Immanuel was founded, it is fitting that a tree which one provided backyard shade for a family put down roots deep enough to become a symbol of love and protection for our congregation. Its age unknown, its broad canopy has welcomed Immanuel families on Sundays for over 50 years. The linden tree has given us a beautiful and meaningful place for family photos, Easter egg hunts and congregational picnics. As the church campus and the world around us changes, the tree remains ever-constant.
There is much legend and lore around the linden tree. To ancient Greeks, it was thought to be inhabited by Aphrodite, the goddess of love, and to the Europeans during the Middle Ages it became a symbol of exalted, divine power, valor and victory. Later Christians came to believe that Mary hid in its branches visible only to children playing under its canopy. Even in recent times, the linden tree is known for having medicinal qualities.
Characteristically, linden trees can live for 100 to 150 years, so it will offer protection and inspiration for future generations.
Linden Tree Society Members
Members of the society embody the believe that thoughtful planning today will endure that the faithful gathered at Immanuel will always have the resources to meet the needs of the Church family as well as those of communities throughout the world with whom we share our many blessings.
What is an Endowment?
The idea of an endowment is that funds are set aside and the principal is protected as a stable financial foundation for Immanuel.
How is the Endowment different from Immanuel’s Annual Operating Fund?
The endowment is not intended to meet the expenses of normal operations of our church, but to allow us to remain financially strong in the face of an unanticipated problem or an unforeseen opportunity to live out Christ’s call. The principal of an endowment remains intact and only a portion of the income on the principal is made available to be spent in any given year.
How much of the Endowment income can be spent?
Some of the income earned on the endowment principal is used to sustain the Endowment Fund and protect it from inevitable inflation. Long-term experience with a multitude of endowments over many years shows that as much as 3 to 5% of the principal balance of an endowment can be spent without endangering the balance of the endowment.
What happens to the income on the Endowment?
If the careful discipline of protecting the endowment principal is followed, income from the endowment will be there to help the Session address special needs or opportunities that emerge on an unpredictable basis. Some such needs could result from such factors as a major storm that causes significant uninsured damage to our property, or a serious financial or other crisis that negatively impacts the circumstances of our community or region. Special opportunities could arise from the congregation’s desire to address a significant concern by reaching out to others in our surrounding community with extra support, or to respond to some other one-time opportunity that we feel called to fulfill.
Who manages the Endowment?
With Session oversight, members of the Planned Giving Committee with expertise in investments manage the endowment funds.
How are these gifts handled when they are received?
Typically the Business Manager will receive formal notice from the donor’s estate attorney that Immanuel has been mentioned in a will and to expect a gift. Notification about the gift is sent to the Session, the Planned Giving Committee, and the Finance Committee. Church policy provides for the Planned Giving Committee to review the gift language and brief the Session as to 1) the nature of the gift and 2) the donor’s intentions according to the language of the will and 3) make pertinent references to the church’s Gift Acceptance Policy. Based on these findings, the Planned Giving Committee will make a recommendation to the Session as to how the gift will be designated. The Session ultimately decides the gift designation.
How can I be sure that my gift intentions will be honored?
When drafting your will, trust, or annuity, consider carefully what kind of legacy you wish to leave to Immanuel. Your gift will be placed in the endowment, invested, and only the income from the endowment will be spent. The Session ultimately decides how the income from the endowment is spent. According to church policy, the income is spent on important unbudgeted needs of the church and not applied to current operations. This will ensure that Immanuel will be able to withstand the ups and downs in the life of the church.
What if I want to make the Music program, Outreach, Buildings and Grounds, or Education Program the beneficiary of my gift?
Yes, you can do that. Your gift will be placed in the endowment and the income from your gift will only be spent on the area(s) you mention. If you want the gift to go directly to a program and be spent immediately and not go into the endowment that is also possible. The language of your will, trusts, and annuities needs to state that.
Providing for Immanuel in Your Estate Planning
Immanuelites of every generation are invited to set aside funds for the endowment through a variety of methods. We suggest you contact your personal tax advisor to determine which approach is best for you. If you do not have one, Immanuel maintains a list of individuals who can provide this service to you.
Types Of Gifts
* One-time, special gifts on the occasion of some financial good fortune, or in recognition of an important event in your life (a big birthday, an anniversary, a wedding.)
* Gifts in honor or in memory of a loved one.
Will or Trust
Charitable bequests are joyful statements that celebrate your commitment to Immanuel Presbyterian Church. In making a bequest to our church you may:
1) Designate a percentage of your estate, or of some portion of your estate.
2) Designate a specific amount.
3) Designate a specific item such as a security, real estate, etc.
You may designate the church as a beneficiary of your retirement plan and potentially reduce your estate and income taxes. There may be significant tax advantages to you in giving in this way. Please consult your tax advisor on these.
Life Insurance Policy
Life insurance no longer needed for your family’s security may be given to Immanuel Presbyterian Church, providing a current tax deduction for the cash value of the policy. Again, please consult your tax advisor.
Life Income Gifts
There are a number of ways you can make a gift to Immanuel Presbyterian Church and provide income for yourself and a family member. These gifts may provide both current tax benefits and estate tax savings. They also enable you to make your gift but remain free from financial concerns since you’ll continue to receive income from the funds donated. A few examples are the Charitable Gift Annuity, Charitable Remainder Trust and the Pooled Income Fund.
Charitable Gift Annuity
This is a contractual agreement in which you or a beneficiary will be paid a fixed payment for life in exchange for your irrevocable gifts of cash, securities or other assets to Immanuel.
Charitable Remainder Trust
This is an irrevocable trust in which you or a beneficiary will be paid either a fixed or variable payment for life or a set number of years in exchange for your irrevocable gifts, after which the remaining assets pass to Immanuel Presbyterian Church.
Pooled Income Fund
As the charitable counterpart of a mutual fund with gifts invested under professional management, you or a beneficiary receives income based on your share of the pool. After your lifetime, the share is given to Immanuel Presbyterian Church.
Frequently Asked Questions About Making A Gift
How does this kind of gift affect estate taxes?
There are tax advantages for most gifts to a charitable organization such as Immanuel, but the specific advantages to you will be determined by your financial situation. We urge you to consult with your personal tax advisor before making a gift.
Will my gift be made known to others?
This decision is completely up to you. You may keep all information confidential if you wish. Or, you may let it be known that you gave a gift and not reveal the amount, or may choose to allow your name and the amount to be known, or just the amount and not your name. This is your choice.
What if I want to leave something but feel that it is a small gift and not likely to be helpful?
No gift is too small. A gift of any size is welcome and so very much appreciated. Like the widow who gave two pennies in the temple, every gift is valued. Most important is the spirit in which it is given. We urge you to give prayerful consideration to your decision to give.
What do I need to do to make a gift and join the Linden Tree Society?
First, you will want to consider what kind of gift works for you and your family. You can simply add Immanuel to your will or trust either specifying an amount or more commonly mention a certain percentage for Immanuel. Immanuel could be named as a beneficiary of a retirement account or life insurance policy. Most important, you will want to consult your estate attorney or financial advisor as they can help you make the best decisions when making plans for your estate. Please let the church know that you have made provisions in your estate plans for Immanuel and you will automatically be eligible to become a member of the Linden Tree Society.
What can you do if you are interested in making a charitable donation to Immanuel?
If you want to consider other giving options or would like more information on the options mentioned here, please contact Pastor Aaron Fulp-Eickstaedt or a member of the Planned Giving Committee.
Marjorie Fox, Chair
Sue Henry (session liaison)
We strongly urge our donors to work closely with their professional advisors to determine the most advantageous charitable estate plans and an estate attorney to set up a will.