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


Remembering Harry Cotabish: A Consummate Christian Gentleman

by W. Darwin Collins

A few years ago, the Rev. Janet Hellner-Burris met with the Rev. Dr. Dwight French, the late Pennsylvania regional minister. As they talked about their church communities, Dr. French remembered Harry Cotabish as “a consummate Christian gentleman.”

Rev. Hellner-Burris served with Harry for years as board chair, elder, trustee and choir member at Wilkinsburg Christian Church. She couldn’t agree more with Dr. French’s kind words.


Sharing his talents with the church

I was introduced to Harry as I transitioned to regional ministry following Dr. French. Harry served the region as the chair of the regional new church start in Cranberry Township, PA. The church start required many hours and detailed plans, and I quickly learned to appreciate Harry’s organizational and planning skills. An engineer by profession, Harry brought the skills from his career to help the church. More importantly, what Harry brought to his service in the congregation and region was a devotion to giving his best for Christ’s ministry. Through his time, skills and financial resources, Harry always gave his very best.

Harry’s commitment to the church did not only span one congregation. Prior to his final years at the Wilkinsburg church, he participated at East End Christian Church. During the winter months of his retirement, he and his beloved wife, Gladys, attended First Christian Church of Ft. Myers, FL. His commitment to God and the church could not be confined to a single location. Wherever Harry lived, he gave of himself.

Following his death in 2016, Harry’s legacy would not be diminished. Rev. Hellner-Burris spoke of his legacy: “His attention to detail, combined with his great love of the church led him to be one of the wise voices we always listened to as we navigated the choppy waters of congregational transformation. In addition, Harry was a role model for me in growing old gracefully…his legacy lives on at our church and in the heart of one honored to be his pastor.”


Planning for generosity in death

Although it’s easy to remember Harry’s life and service, Harry and Gladys made careful plans to distribute their remaining assets after their deaths. The church and its ministries were beneficiaries of their generosity. As in their lives, so too in death!

The congregations Harry served in Wilkinsburg, Ft. Myers and the Pennsylvania region received proceeds from the Cotabish estate, extending the couple’s love for these ministries well into the future. Through the Christian Church Foundation, the Christian Church in Pennsylvania created the Harry N. and Gladys N. Cotabish New Church Establishment Fund to encourage continued interest in planting new churches.

Harry Cotabish was a consummate gentleman indeed, and a true ‘saint’ of the church.


Leave a legacy of faithful generosity

Making a charitable contribution is a great way to extend God's presence to others. There are many options available for you to make a planned gift. We can help you determine the best path for you. Contact us today to get started.

One Congregation’s Legacy: From Little, Much

By David T. Chafin

The little congregation of First Christian Church in Ravenswood, West Virginia, had fallen on hard times. They had a dozen of faithful members in attendance, but all of them were aging quickly. The community had taken a downturn years before, and options for growth and renewal were not showing much promise.


The congregation held enough properties, stocks, and cash to continue their gathered presence in their old decaying building. However, they were concerned that at the rate they were going, regular budgetary income was not going to allow them to preserve their assets for the future of ministry in that place.

After careful analysis, the trustees of the congregation worked with the Christian Church Foundation to create a permanent fund and a “Last Will and Testament” describing their intentions and desires for an ongoing ministry for the church -- even after they ceased to meet in the old building on the corner of Sand and Gallatin.


Enacting a vision for the future

Within a year or so, the group determined they could no longer expect to meet for worship and Sunday School as they had for so many years. It was time to execute the Will.

The congregation’s wishes were immediately implemented, allowing the continued support of the local hunger ministry, Week of Compassion, and the Christian Church in West Virginia. Two of the congregation’s members transferred their membership to the Parkersburg congregation, and all of the others were received as members of the Regional Church.

An “estate sale” was conducted and more funds were raised. The proceeds from sale of the parsonage and stock portfolio, along with much of the accumulated cash, were added to the permanent fund at the Foundation.

The church building was kept in the care of the Region. Today, the building houses a recovery ministry and serves as a space for community groups to gather. The small home adjacent to the church building is held locally, as well. An immigrant family has lived in the home for many years as they settled into the community, and they fondly remember joining the congregation for worship periodically. Their youngest child was blessed and dedicated in the church.  

Former members of First Christian Church remain a vital part of Ravenswood’s life, and continue to provide salt and light in a place where God’s presence is much needed.

For one historic congregation, the ending of a full, rich era of life in ministry will bless coming generations in ways that its faithful members had dreamed, planned and took action for. This is the life beyond life that the gospel speaks of. This is faithfulness that has no known end.

If you would like information on creating a legacy plan for your congregation, contact us at (800) 668-8016 or

Leaving A Grand Legacy: The Story of First Christian Church of New Castle

In 1856, a small group of Restorationists gathered in Lawrence County, Pennsylvania. Talks began of starting a new church. As songs were sung and plans were laid, they could not have imagined the future that would await for their church community.


With the support of the Thomas Phillips family and many other prominent residents of the New Castle area, the small gathering began to grow in numbers and wealth. In just 8 years, the group formally organized to as the First Christian Church of New Castle.

What started as a small group would soon become a central part of the city of New Castle, constructing a church home known as the “big steeple” church on the city’s diamond.


The growth of a community

The church continued its ministry with growing numbers of members and expanding ministry in the community and denomination. Along the way their history was marked by a split of an independent church, Central Christian, and a merger with a Baptist congregation. And the “big steeple” became a central part of the New Castle community.

As the years passed, the great steepled building became a greater responsibility to maintain. Utility bills soared, and worship attendance and membership declined in the 1960s and 70s. Even in this declining period, the church continued to actively share in outreach in their community and through the Pennsylvania Region and mission funding of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).


The decision to close

Faced with increasing deferred maintenance and dwindling attendance, in 2012 the congregation decided to sell their building. The congregation’s decision to gift their remaining assets served as a last testament to their devotion to God’s mission and the commitment of their ancestors in faith.

The congregation made a large gift to the Christian Church in Pennsylvania. Although most of those funds were used by the Region for ongoing expenses, the Regional Board, at the recommendation of Regional Minister Thad Allen, committed $1,000 to establish a named permanent fund with the Christian Church Foundation as part of the Pennsylvania Region’s All Saints Fund. This fund became the First Christian Church of New Castle Fund.

Through this fund, the legacy of each generation since 1856 will continue to serve Christ’s church through an annual income to the Region.

Extend the legacy of your church

Legacy Permanent Funds established through the Christian Church Foundation, enable the accumulated assets of a congregation to continue to serve God's mission long after the doors of a church building close.

If your congregation is interested in exploring how a Legacy Fund might extend your church's legacy, contact us at (800) 668-8016 or