Hutchinson Family Creates an Estate Plan

Andy and Jenny Hutchinson believe in tithing to their church and giving back to their community. With the help of the Kansas Methodist Foundation’s estate planning services, Andy and Jenny created an estate plan in which they can ensure their family will be provided for and their desire to give to their church and other causes important to them will be honored.

“There is a tremendous relief that if we were to pass on unexpectedly, either together or separately, there’s generally a clear plan on what needs to happen,” Andy said. “It makes it easier for our kids once we are gone. It’s one less thing they have to worry about.”

End of Year Giving Brochure Available

A tri-fold brochure promoting year end giving is now available from the Kansas Methodist Foundation. The brochure highlights ways congregation member can support the church through their giving this year, as well as in the future.

Churches have permission to add their logo and contact information to the brochure. All other text and graphics should remain unaltered.

For questions, please contact us at info@kansasmethodistfoundation.org or 620-664-9623.

New Grant Focused on Justice Ministries

The Kansas Methodist Foundation is pleased to announce a new Pathways for Discipleship grant focused on Justice Ministries.

In Luke 4, Jesus proclaims that his ministry includes preaching good news to the poor, proclaiming release to prisoners, recovering sight to the blind, liberating the oppressed, and proclaiming Jubilee.

“As the Body of Christ, we are called to do likewise, which includes serving those in need by being the hand, feet, and heart of Jesus in our local contexts,” KMF President Dustin Petz said. “It also means working to change the unjust systems that oppress our neighbors. I am excited for KMF to provide focused grants to help our Methodist partners do justice and work to change the systems that continue to harm.”

Starting in 2022, justice ministry grants will be awarded to Methodist churches and organizations in Kansas for programs focused on healing racial divisions, increasing equity among God’s children, encouraging inclusion, and broadening people’s understanding of diversity and bias.

The justice ministries pathway is one of four pathways in the Pathways for Discipleship grant program. The matching grants are awarded to churches and organizations across Kansas to advance ministries, especially in ways that are creative, innovative, and new. Other Pathways for Discipleship grant areas include: Children and Youth Programs, Ministry and Outreach, and Leadership Education.

Grant applications will be accepted from June 1 – September 1, 2022. For more information, visit www.kansasmethodistfoundation.org.

The Kansas Methodist Foundation is grateful for the individuals and families who help make the ministry grants possible. If you are interested in learning more about how you can get involved in supporting ministries across Kansas to meet the needs of our changing world by exploring new possibilities, contact Tyler Curtis at tyler@kansasmethodistfoundation.org or 620-664-9623.

Augusta First UMC Starts New Community Karate Ministry

There are a lot of ways we might think of to bring people closer to Jesus Christ. Teaching them karate may not be at the top of that list. Nonetheless, First United Methodist Church in Augusta saw an opportunity for discipleship in karate. With the help of a Pathways for Discipleship grant, the church has been coming into contact with children and youth who are developing a passion for that discipline.

Like many other smaller communities, Augusta has been hit hard by COVID. A number of athletic programs for children and youth quit functioning and are now trying to re-start. The virus also hit many
families hard economically, and the fees associated with some other
children and youth programs were difficult for them to support.

While others saw only problems, Derek Highbarger, a longtime member of the Augusta Department of Public Safety who holds a black belt in karate, saw opportunity. He has worked with kids for a long time and has three children of his own. He knew from previous experience that there was interest in karate in Augusta. As an active member of Augusta First UMC, Derek was aware that the church was always open to non-traditional ministry with young people. What he needed was resources to purchase the mats the ministry would need. Though the church was experiencing a COVID-strapped financial year, it found some money that could be used as a match for a $500 Pathways for Discipleship grant. When the mats arrived, Derek started the class.

Derek, with the help of his children and additional adult leadership, has been holding the karate class in the church gym since November of 2021. There are 10 to 15 children and youth ranging in age from four to sixteen who meet on Thursday nights and more are showing interest. Their parents bring them and often stay to watch the training. Some of the older youth recently asked for a second session with Derek during the week to increase their training and he managed to work it in. All of this is free to the participants.

Rev. Lynn Lamberty, pastor of First UMC Augusta, is excited about the future of this ministry.

“I believe that karate can be a good fit for us in forging new relationships with a variety of people in the community,” Lynn said. “They are experiencing the church in a new and exciting way and have appreciated the welcome they have received. At the heart of the training for karate are values also useful to Christians: selfdiscipline, respect for others, self-confidence, support for family and being willing to develop one’s given talents and abilities well for the blessing of others. This ministry opportunity would not have developed into anything concrete without the support of the Kansas Methodist Foundation.”

The program will continue as long as students keep showing up. God is moving in interesting ways.

Schultes Update Estate Plan to Give Charitably and Protect Family

Because they were raised in the church and it is in their hearts to follow God’s word, Steve and Teresa Schulte believe giving charitably is something they are called to do. While recently helping to settle her uncle’s estate, they saw the need to revisit their own plans for the future to ensure their charitable desires would be met and they would take care of their family.

“We wanted to have a plan for our kids and our grandchildren that would persevere,” Teresa said. “We also wanted to give to our church, the Methodist church, as well as some other organizations near and dear to our hearts. When we initially set up our trust documents in 1999, it was in essence an ‘in case of emergency plan’ to protect our children should something happen to both of us.”

However, as they reflected on the plan they previously created, they knew that due to changes in life, such as now having grandchildren and their increased ability to give charitably, their estate plan no longer reflected their current desires.

Through a conversation with Kansas Methodist Foundation President Dustin Petz following his presentation at Stilwell United Methodist Church, Steve and Teresa became aware of the estate planning and charitable giving services provided by the Foundation.

“It’s like a community foundation, but it has the Wesleyan tie to it; it just made sense,” Steve said. “With the help of John Griffin, an estate planning attorney with Stewardship Counseling, LLC, whose service is provided by the Foundation, I thought, ‘This is too good to be true’ and we absolutely wanted to take advantage of it.”

With the assistance of John, Steve and Teresa worked on a complete restatement of their trust. “Estate plans are very personal, and John took a lot of time to listen and educate us to help clarify what we really wanted,” Steve said.

“It was definitely not just a template, which I feel like we might have gotten had we gone directly to the attorney,” Teresa said. “I think the nuances he helped us get into our document were very important to both of us.”

In the restatement, it was important to the Schultes to include a charitable giving component as well as to create a special trust that will provide for their children and grandchildren.

“We chose to give ten percent to the Foundation for charitable purposes,” Steve said. “We also felt like it was important that our children have some say in that charitable giving. It’s nice that we can pass along generationally the charitable idea of being benevolent.”

Because of the way the Foundation has established the legacy gifting program, their children will be able to direct a portion of the charitable asset throughout their lifetimes. The Schultes appreciate the flexibility the Kansas Methodist Foundation provides for their charitable giving during their lifetime and into perpetuity. Since the gift to the Foundation is named in their estate plan, they have the latitude to change the charitable recipients of their fund at the Foundation without going back to their attorney and updating their documents.

“I would much more likely give my money to the Foundation because I believe they will be good and faithful stewards of our gift lasting into perpetuity,” Steve said.

Pass the Torch Scholarship Impacts Next Generation of Clergy

With aspirations of serving every seminary student in the Great Plains Conference, the Pass the Torch committee stepped closer to their goal through the growth of the scholarship fund.

Since its founding, the Pass the Torch Scholarship has provided more than $100,000 to help seminary students answer their call. Through generous gifts and memorial funds, in 2021 alone the scholarship endowment fund grew by over $14,000.

“It’s an effort on the part of retired clergy and surviving spouses to address the needs of people wanting to answer God’s call to ministry in the church, but for whom the cost of that was prohibitive,” Pass the Torch Committee Chair Rev. Gary Beach
said.

Started in the 1990s by retired pastors and surviving spouses of the Kansas West Conference, the Pass the Torch Scholarship has since expanded to serve the Great Plains Conference and provide financial support to the next generation of clergy.

“When obeying God’s call and making plans to attend seminary, I had to have faith that God would provide,” scholarship recipient Brenda Hogan said. “The cost of seminary is daunting. While still ‘dreaming’ of going to seminary, I learned about the Pass the Torch scholarship from my pastor at the time, Mark Conard. I filed it away as future help with school expenses. It was an early step in believing in the possibility of this new chapter in life. I was blessed to receive scholarship funds that have been a great help to me in furthering my
education.”

For the students receiving the scholarship, it not only helps provide financially, but also provides encouragement in the seminary journey.

“While the Pass the Torch scholarship only covers a small percentage of the annual cost of seminary, the impact is far greater,” Victor Peterson, a scholarship recipient said. “It warms my heart to know that former pastors and spouses are willing to invest in the future of the church and specifically help fund young pastors, like me, in training. Most retiring pastors are not wealthy, and there are numerous causes I’m sure they feel called to help fund. So their generosity toward me and my call both affirms my call and makes me feel valued and appreciated. Being in seminary and ministry simultaneously can be challenging and exhausting at times, but their gifts encourage me to continue pushing through.”

Brenda and Victor are just two of many scholarship recipients impacted by the generosity of past and current retired clergy and spouses.

As seminary costs continue to rise, the committee is hopeful it will be able to provide a greater impact through increasing the number of scholarships awarded and the dollar amount.

“The cost of seminary is far in excess of what we retired clergy would ever have had to pay for a seminary experience,” Gary said. “The retired clergy want to continue to beef up what we are able to do.”

The Kansas Methodist Foundation is honored to partner with the Pass the Torch committee to support the next generation of clergy through investing the scholarship endowment funds and helping administer the
scholarship program. If you are interested in joining the retired clergy in their efforts, please contact the Kansas Methodist Foundation.

Eby Family Gives Generously through their Donor Advised Fund

Inspired by the generosity of his family and looking for a way to give charitably, Charles and Jean Eby chose the Kansas Methodist Foundation to care for their donor advised fund.

Charlie looked for options to steward his giving and was aware of his local community foundation when he learned about the Kansas Methodist Foundation.

“I did a little vetting and I just felt more comfortable with the Methodist foundation,” Charlie said. “I thought it was well run and it would do what I wanted to accomplish through giving. I’m a Methodist so it is really comfortable to be doing it this way.”

To accomplish his charitable giving goals, Charlie uses a donor advised fund. He views this fund like a charitable bank account that supports the organizations he desires to impact through his giving. When Charlie is ready to support his church, Wichita First United Methodist Church, or another nonprofit, he makes a recommendation to KMF to make a gift from the fund. Upon approval, the gift is sent to the designated organization in his name.

“The donor advised fund allows us to do what we wanted to do in the first place,” Charlie said. “It’s not limited to only Methodist organizations…and it was important to me it not be limited only to the church. Certainly we give a large portion to the church, but it does go to other organizations that I believe are doing good work.”

Although a regular supporter of his church, Charlie is also passionate about many ministries and organizations. He loves Habitat for Humanity, has been involved with the United Methodist Open Door for a long time, and, as a former big brother, he desires to support Big Brothers and Big Sisters.

Another advantage Charlie appreciates about his donor advised fund is the ability to keep his giving consistent each year. To fund his charitable giving, Charlie donates appreciated stock to KMF to be sold and the proceeds placed in his donor advised fund.

“In years things are good, we can put more into the account,” Charlie said. “When it’s not seven fat cows and we get seven skinny cows, we don’t put as much in. We’ve kept a reservoir of cash that allows us to try to keep a consistent gift to people like the church. The church is going to need the money every year so if we can keep our giving relatively the same it’s more predictable and makes life easier for the organizations.”

Through their generosity, Charles and Jean make an impact for their church and numerous other organizations each year.

“I just feel like when you’ve been blessed, you should pass it on,” Charlie said. “We have been blessed so I really want to give.”