Endowment Funds Help a Church through COVID-19

June 12, 2020

When the COVID-19 pandemic started, there were many questions and unknowns for churches across the state. However, for one local church an answer came quickly. 

For Rev. Christopher Eshelman, pastor at Pretty Prairie UMC in Pretty Prairie, Kansas, it was an easy decision to continue paying their staff throughout the pandemic. 

“One of the first decisions I made when we suspended in-person worship is that we are going to continue paying our staff normally – even the musicians who aren’t working,” Rev. Christopher Eshelman said. 

More than 25 years ago the endowment program at Pretty Prairie UMC was established through an estate gift from a generous donor. Over the years, the endowment continued to grow as families in the congregation left a legacy to help sustain the ministries of the church. Through their generosity, the church had the resources it needed to be sustained through what could have been a trying time. 

“Establishing the endowment fund was a statement of both purpose and hope,” Christopher said. “Having one in these times enabled me as a pastor and we as a congregation to lean into the hope and display confidence in our future, despite present uncertainty.”

Due to their endowment, Christopher knew the church had the funds it would need to weather the pandemic and continue doing ministry in the future. 

“We are not going to go bankrupt in the next month or the next year,” Christopher said. “Our employees on the other hand, depend on their income. Let's not let our concern for the future become their emergency in the present.” 

Christopher believes it is due to the generosity of the families who gave in the past to support the endowment that allowed the easy decision to sustain the pay of the staff today. 

One of the ministries of the Foundation is helping churches and United Methodist organizations create and grow their endowment program. If you are interested in more information, click here for information on endowment programs or contact us at 888-453-8405 or foundation@kaumf.org.

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