“Let the floods clap their hands; let the hills sing together for joy.” ~Psalm 98:8

“Together.” We used to think we knew just what that meant, didn’t we? We never used to wonder, most of us, how the definition might be stretched, how important togetherness might become, or just how creative we would need to become to make togetherness happen.

2020 has changed and challenged us. Amid a sea of confusion, fear, and discord, we suddenly became desperate for some kind of joy, precisely when it became impossible to get together for joy in most of the ways we knew. We loved our times at the coffee shop, having dinner parties, going to choir rehearsal, coming to Sunday morning worship and fellowship, hosting our You Are Not Alone meal, and so many other ministry activities that unfolded within our church building. We stretched, hard. Flexed more than we thought we could. Groaned and reached, complained and expanded, and learned technology skills we never could have imagined! We have also grieved and wept and yearned for life as it was before.

Yet, we are still together. We are still the church because we are the people of God. When we log on for Zoom meetings, stream worship services, reorganize our ministries like Helping Our Neighbors, Kids Adventure Program, Kalamazoo Service Project for the Youth Tribe, and so many more opportunities of ministry that have happened and are continuing to unfold, we are together in joy! Our togetherness may not have happened in the sanctuary, or in the parlor, or in the Sunday school rooms, but it has happened! Through it all, we are together with God, whose love covers every distance and heals every heart. We have continued to live out our mission to experience, celebrate, and share God’s love.

Non-Cash Gift Ideas for Supporting First Church

Sometimes the timing of a cash gift is not possible. It may not even be the most effective or tax-wise way to support the church (or other nonprofit organizations) you want to support.

If you would like to learn more about other non-cash ways to give, here are a few ideas:

Appreciated stock – Raising cash by selling appreciated stock you own will result in a capital gains tax. Some people find themselves at a time where they do not want to do that. Donating appreciated stock to the church or to any nonprofit organization allows you to make a gift while avoiding the capital gains tax.

Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA) – Did you know that you can transfer funds from your IRA account directly to First Church and avoid paying a tax on those distributions? In addition, if you are age 70 1/2 or older and have a Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) you must take (and is taxed) each year, you may transfer a portion of that RMD up to $100,000 to the church or other nonprofits and not pay a tax on that amount.

Life Insurance – Making First Church the beneficiary of a gift of a paid-up life insurance policy is another way to make a meaningful gift. As we age and our circumstances change, the reasons we purchased life insurance may no longer be necessary. If you find this is the case, you may consider this another non-cash gift option.

Charitable Gift Annuity – Establishing a charitable gift annuity either with cash or appreciated stock allows you to take an immediate tax deduction, receive income from the annuity for the balance of your life and then pass on the remainder to your church.This may be an idea to consider for those who have appreciated stock they are reluctant to sell (because of tax consequences) but would benefit from extra income and knowing they will be helping their church after they are no longer living.

Leaving a Bequest – For many of us, we find we are able to give far more through a bequest than what we could manage during our lifetime. You might consider carving out a portion of remaining assets for the church. Any percentage would be appreciated! Think about making a bequest of assets that would otherwise be highly taxed to your heirs (such as IRAs). When gifting these types of assets to your church or other favorite nonprofit, they will fully benefit from your non-taxed gift.

** These are just a few ideas and suggestions and not tax advice.  We strongly urge you to connect with your tax advisor or your lawyer to see what makes the most sense for your situation. If you need assistance with making any of these types of gifts, please contact Senior Pastor Rev. Julie Kline or Director of Business Administration Ruth LaMachia at First Church at (269) 381-6340.