In 2000, I was approached by Archdeacon John Robertson, the senior planned giving Officer for the Anglican Church of Canada, and was asked if I would consider working for the church in Newfoundland and Labrador. The job: to be a planned giving consultant. After some thought, and the approval of the diocese, I agreed, and so in November of that year I began the position. Little did I think that I would be in the same job 23 years later. Archdeacon Neil Kellett was the Executive Officer at the time and he was a tremendous help as I steered my way through the politics of church life. I have served with 3 Primates, 7 Bishops and 7 Executive Officers, who have been extremely supportive of my ministry. And, to the clergy and laity who have supported and endorsed my work, I say a big thank you!
In 2001, I began writing this column and I want to thank the editors who have assisted me. In particular, Emily Rowe has been very helpful and patient, especially at times when I exceeded my word quota. The purpose of my writing was to raise awareness about the benefits of planned giving. Over the years, I have given numerous talks about planned giving to congregations, parish councils, vestries and individuals. We have seen some wonderful gifts happen through bequests from wills, insurance policies, shares in companies, and annuities.
This column gave me much pleasure, and occasionally I have wandered off from my core theme and chatted about some personal event. Often times, these would result in much feedback from my readers. I recall one when I wrote about being born a “blue baby” who wasn’t expected to live. My mother was determined that I would not die without a name so she called in the local school marm, Evelyn Roach, to baptize me. Well that column sparked many comments, including one from a lady in Centreville who related that when she was born, her parents felt she was about to die but her father picked her up and held her over the stove until she started to revive. It was a heart warming story.
Another centred around events which preceded my mother’s death and how a priest was of great comfort to us. My mother was in palliative care, and Rev’d Linda Budden happened by her room. A soothing word, a touch, and a prayer from this lady was so much appreciated. Sometimes the clergy don’t realize the positive impact that they have on grieving families. That column sparked many replies as well.
Finally, a word—please ensure that you do have a legal will, and prayerfully consider leaving a bequest in your will for your church. There never was a time that such support was more badly needed.
One last comment: I want to thank my wife Kay for her support over the years. She has been my editor, my critic, and my supporter. She always had a way of softening my words and improving the message.
Kevin Smith was the planned giving officer for Anglican East NL.
For more information re planned giving, contact (709) 576-6697 or
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