As most of you know, back in April we were notified about a potential gift to the church from the estate of our friend, Libby Stevens. We were asked by the trustees of her estate to submit a proposal as to how any potential disbursement might be used.
In June, with the help of Bob Buchanan, Lynn Carver, Phyllis Cushlanis, Glenn Lowry, Gerry Nolin, and Joyce Williams, we put together a proposal based on the amount Libby had suggested in her memorandum to these trustees.
Our proposal was finalized and announced at the Study Group’s presentation to the congregation in June. Shortly after, in late June, we submitted the proposal to her trustees.
It was of 3 parts. One, the church would rename the thrift shop as the Elizabeth Arnold Stevens Thrift Shop. Two, the majority of funds would be designated for a children/youth ministry (the details of which still need to be hammered out). And three, a lesser though still substantial amount would be used for a property fund.
When I received her trustees’ letter two days ago (after months of waiting!), I saw a check enclosed. It was turned over, so the suspense seemed to last forever! To my amazement, the trustees gave us all we had asked plus an additional amount!
In alerting various people on the planning committee, I spoke to Bob Buchanan who, after waiting for months, expressed relief, saying he would sleep well that night! I agreed. By all means, I said, let’s celebrate today, for tomorrow comes the challenge of figuring out how, specifically, to best employ these newfound funds!
After sharing this sentiment with the others, Phyllis Cushlanis’ response in particular got to me.
“I suggest we take a day of prayer of thanksgiving,” she wrote in an e-mail, “then celebrate for a week, and then really get down to business.”
She added, “Thank You, God. I really believe He is looking out for our church.”
This seems to get it right. Often, amid legitimate worries about the future, we forget we are Christ’s church, Christ’s body, called to place our future in God’s hands. For with God, we never know the blessings that have been prepared for us.
We are indeed humbled by Libby’s faithful witness and inspired generosity, even as we offer prayerful thanks to the God of hers and our salvation!
Peace and grace,
Thomas C. Leinbach, Pastor