Passing of Bill Robertson

It is with great sadness that we share that Bill Robertson died last night. Bill passed peacefully in his sleep after spending the day with family. Bill served with the Christian Church Foundation for 11 years as a member of our development staff and then for another six years as a consultant. Bill was a pillar of the Christian Church Foundation, working in four of our six zones. Even in his retirement, Bill continued to be a mentor and friend to many of the Foundation staff. We are deeply saddened by this loss and will greatly miss our dear colleague.

“Bill was the very definition of interesting and grace-filled,” said Gary Kidwell. “He could talk theology, economics, aviation, and furnace repair. I will miss his wisdom, humor, and genuine spirit. My heart goes out to his family, especially his sweetheart since high school, Benny.”

Bill and his wife, Benny, loved to travel and went all over the world together. They were united in their dedication and service to the church and were incredibly generous with their resources. When they were awarded the Harry T. Ice Distinguished Service Award in 2009, Bill said, “If you want to give, it is not a sacrifice” and he and Benny took every opportunity to prove this. Christian Church Foundation President Emeritus James P. Johnson reflects on Bill and Benny’s generosity, commenting, “It is a quality of life which has manifested itself in so many ways. Their historic love of the church is a gift to all of us. The Christian Church is stronger and healthier than it would have been without Bill and Benny. Their gifts of all kinds over many, many years have made institutions of the church and the church itself stronger; lives have indeed been changed.”

Our hearts and prayers are with Benny and the entire Robertson family. Arrangements are pending. A memorial service will be held later in the summer.

Foundation Board Approves 2020 Income Rates

 The Christian Church Foundation Board of Directors gathered in Indianapolis, IN, April 28-30, for their spring meeting. The Board reviewed the 2019 first quarter information and received reports of solid returns and exceptional growth. The meeting included worship together, conversations regarding the upcoming General Assembly, and reports from our independent investment consultant Prime, Buchholz and Associates. Rev. Bruce Barkhauer, the Director of the Center for Faith and Giving, met with the Executive Committee and led them in discussion around “Generosity Plus,” a new coaching platform launched by the Center for Faith and Giving.

Representatives of New Covenant Trust Company met with the Board to provide a review of trust investments. Our relationship with New Covenant began in January 2017 and they now administer over 90 Charitable Remainder Trusts for the Christian Church Foundation. New Covenant “comprises a top quality investment management group operating under the guiding values of the Presbyterian Church” and is a subsidiary of the Presbyterian Foundation. [1] This ecumenical partnership has proven to be a valuable relationship for the Christian Church Foundation.

Rev. Dr. Robert Welsh presented to the Board of Directors about the history of the Christian Church Foundation and the importance of our mission within the ministry of the Disciples of Christ. The Foundation Board received recommendations and voted on the recipients for the Harry T. Ice and James P. Johnson Stewardship Awards. These awards will be presented at the Christian Church Foundation General Assembly dinner in Des Moines, IA.

The Foundation Board discussed and voted on the 2020 Income Rates for the Joint Investment Trust. Income rates in 2020 will remain the same as in 2019; Common (3.75%), Beasley (4.00%), Campbell (4.25%), Bostick (4.00%), Brown (2.50%).

The Board’s next meeting will be November 8-10 in Atlanta, GA.

[1] http://www.newcovenanttrust.com/

LIFT for Charities Act

The Christian Church Foundation, Pension Fund, and Disciples Church Extension Fund continue to monitor matters related to non-profits, tax law changes, and other regulatory matters impacting clergy and the church.

The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act created two new sections of the tax code that increase taxes on nonprofit organizations. These provisions will force nonprofit organizations to pay a 21 percent federal tax on the cost of employee transportation benefits, including transit and parking; and to calculate unrelated income streams in a way that increases tax burden. These provisions will create administrative burdens and will take thousands of dollars each year away from each affected nonprofit's mission.

We are encouraging you to join us in supporting The Lessening Impediments from Taxes (LIFT) for Charities Act. This bipartisan legislation proposed by Senators James Lankford (R-OK) and Chris Coons (D-DE) would repeal this new burden on churches, charities, and other nonprofit organizations.

Church Alliance, Board Source and other leading religious and nonprofit sector organizations are encouraging support of LIFT. Please contact your Representative and Senators and ask them to support LIFT. Or visit Independent Sector's Action Center to send a letter to Congress.

If you have any questions, please e-mail us directly at gkidwell@ccf.disciples.org, tadams@pensionfund.org, or rreisinger@disciplescef.org.

Gary Kidwell, President, Christian Church Foundation

Todd Adams, President, Pension Fund of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

Rick Reisinger, President, Disciples Church Extension Fund

Trafficking Victims Prevention and Protection Act Reauthorized!

The Trafficking Victims Prevention and Protection Reauthorization Act, which passed the House and Senate a few weeks ago, was signed into law this week by President Trump. We celebrate that the work of so many dedicated people has culminated in the reauthorization of this Act. This bill is the fifth reauthorization of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 with previous versions passed in 2003, 2005, 2008, and 2013. Ministries across the life of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) work to end Human Trafficking in its many forms. Thanks for your help in reauthorizing the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000.

For more information about how you can help stop Human Trafficking please visit: https://www.discipleshomemissions.org/congregations/disciples-women/human-trafficking-link-by-link/

Joint Statement from CCF and Pension Fund

Volatility in the financial markets is typical, but recent market swings have been unusually sharp and extreme. Markets are concerned about rising interest rates, trade wars, a rising budget deficit, political instability and a slowing global economy. Market corrections are part of the long-term investment process.

Pension Fund of the Christian Church and the Christian Church Foundation have decades of experience weathering volatile markets. We have been here before and we know that by maintaining a long-term perspective and following a proven investment discipline, we not only can weather short-term market swings, we can use them to add value to our members and investors.

Markets will rise and fall, but you can count on us to manage your dollars with care. We are grateful for your partnership and invite you to contact us with any questions. 

Thank you.

Todd Adams                                                                    Gary Kidwell
President, Pension Fund of the Christian Church          President, Christian Church Foundation tadams@pensionfund.org                                              gkidwell@ccf.disciples.org (866) 495-7322 (800) 668-8016



Foundation Board Approves New Fund

The Christian Church Foundation Board of Directors gathered in Dallas, Texas, November 9-11, for their final meeting of 2018. The meeting included worship together, conversations regarding new tax law, reports from our independent investment consultant, Prime, Buchholz and Associates, and welcoming our newest board members; Mr. Dwayne Bell, Owner-President of Excel Real Estate and member of New Covenant Christian Church in Nashville, Tennessee, Rev. Reggie Chapman, Pastor of Lakewood Christian Church in Lakewood, Colorado, Ms. Debbie Jennison, retired executive with URM Stores, Inc. and member of North Hill Christian Church in Spokane, Washington, and Rev. Dr. Christal Williams, Regional Minister and President of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Tennessee.

The Board of Trustees for the National Benevolent Association was meeting in Dallas at the same time allowing the two ministries’ Boards the opportunity to have dinner together Friday night and learn more about each ministry. The Christian Church Foundation Board of Directors honored and recognized our outgoing board members on Saturday evening. Many thanks to Ms. Debra Clayton of Topeka, KS, Rev. Teresa Dulyea-Parker of Bloomington, IL, Mr. John May of Wilmington, NC, and Mr. Bob Williams of Dallas, TX for their faithful service to the church.

The highlight of the Board Meeting was the approval of a new investment fund: the Bostick Select Fund. Rev. Sarah Lue Bostick (b.1868, d.1948) was one of the first women of color ordained in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and served for over 40 years until her retirement. She was a devoted worker for the Christian Woman’s Board of Missions and the National Christian Missionary Society particularly in Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee, Kansas, Texas, and Oklahoma. She worked to establish CWBM auxiliaries across Arkansas and collected an impressive collection of missions literature. This collection, given to the Disciples of Christ Historical Society after Rev. Bostick’s death, opened an unparalleled window into women’s and African-American studies in the Stone-Campbell movement. The Bostick Select Fund will continue to uphold the Christian Church Foundation’s commitment to being an active, faith-based investor, while also excluding investments in fossil fuels, weapons manufacturers, and companies targeted for divestment because of their involvement in perpetuating the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. At their Board Meeting, the National Benevolent Association committed to becoming one of the initial partner investors in the Bostick Select Fund. This fund, like Rev. Bostick and her ministry, represents a new approach to living out our faith. For more information about Rev. Bostick, please visit the Disciples of Christ Historical Society website.   

The Board’s next meeting will be April 28-30, 2019 in Indianapolis, IN. To see the latest Foundation updates, follow us on social media or subscribe to our newsletter “Out of Abundance.”

2018-2019 McCaw Scholarship Recipients

Two Seminarians Receive McCaw Scholarship

Two seminary students have been named the 2018-2019 recipients of the John and Maxine McCaw Scholarship Fund for Prophetic Living, Teaching, and Preaching. The scholarship fund, held in trust at the Christian Church Foundation and administered by the College of Regional Ministers, was created by the McCaws in 2012.

Recipients for the 2018-2019 school year are:

  • Frances Stanley, from the Virginia Region, attending Lexington Theological Seminary; and
  • Leah White, from the Tennessee Region, attending Claremont School of Theology.

Stanley currently serves as the Student Minister at Slash Christian Church in Ashland, Virginia and is active in the Virginia Region. Stanley has her Bachelor of Science in Biology from Virginia Commonwealth University and her Masters of Urban and Regional Planning from Virginia Commonwealth University. Stanley believes God has been working with her in her everyday life allowing her to serve and work with low-income residents helping them build better communities and bringing them from the margins of society into the wholeness of the church. 

White serves as a Minister in Training and Co-Chair of Christian Education and Worship at New Covenant Christian Church in Nashville, Tennessee. She is active in the Tennessee Region and attended the Black Ministers Retreat in 2018. White has her Bachelor of Arts from Talledaga College and her Masters of Education Administration from Lipscomb University. She was a music educator for 21 years and, in addition to her ministry work, currently teaches in Tennessee. White believes that truly effective ministers must better understand how poverty, culture, language, gender, and abilities influence and shape people in their life and their walk with Christ and believes her theological education is supporting her in leading and empowering others to recognize these important intersections.

The scholarship is the legacy of Dr. John McCaw and his late wife, Maxine McCaw. The McCaws established the scholarship to encourage a “prophetic” voice from the pulpit that seeks to eliminate evil and enhance goodness in human relations and in international relations. “The pulpit,” says Dr. McCaw, “must be informed, alert, emboldened, and fearless.” This scholarship provides resources to help ease any educational debt for future preachers.

The scholars must complete an application process and are selected by representatives of the College of Regional Ministers.

Tax Implementation Delay

The recently enacted Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 called for many changes in tax law, tax reporting, and laws surrounding charitable deductions, among other things. Two such changes will significantly affect churches and affiliated religious organizations. These changes can be found in Section 512(a) paragraphs (6) and (7).

These changes require new methods of calculation for tax reporting and payment for income earned through unrelated trades or business for churches and affiliated organizations and declare certain amounts paid by tax-exempt organizations to be taxable income (e.g., for a parking facility used in connection with qualified parking, for a qualified transportation fringe benefit, gym memberships, etc.).

These changes have not yet been clearly defined and the reporting method for them is currently unknown. A delay in implementation of changes will allow churches and religious institutions time to ensure they are abiding by the new law and time to train treasurers, volunteers, and stewardship teams in appropriate new practices. An implementation delay will also allow the Treasury and Internal Revenue Service time to outline clearly the definition of these new requirements and create the reporting structures necessary for tax-exempt organizations to comply with the law.

The Christian Church Foundation, Disciples Church Extension Fund, and Pension Fund of the Christian Church each represent the financial interests of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), managing over $4B in assets. As advocates for the financial wellbeing of all of our churches and affiliated organizations such as colleges and universities, nursing homes, children’s homes, and other ministries, we respectfully add our voices to those of organizations, including Church Alliance, the American Institute of CPAs, and the National Council of Nonprofits, among others, that have requested a delay in implementation of changes relating to Sections 512(a)(6) and (7) of the Internal Revenue Code that were enacted as part of the recent Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (“TCJA”; Public Law No. 115-97).

We believe it is in the best interest of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and other churches and religious organizations to delay the implementation of these new laws until Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service have accurately defined the measure of the law and created means to adhere to these new regulations or repeal this section of the law due to the undue burden this will place upon volunteer-based organizations.

If you would like to add your voice along with ours, please click here and fill out the corresponding form.

To read a full account of Sections 512(a)(6) and (7) please click here.

To read the full statement by Church Alliance please click here

To view a full list of the Supporting Signers please visit the Pension Fund website here