When Drell Bernhardson's congregation decided it couldn't meet its benevolence commitments, he was upset. Until he retired as a pastor he'd never belonged to a congregation that hadn't paid its benevolence in full.
"Mission — the spreading of the gospel in family, congregation, community, nation and to all the world — has been a concern from my childhood," Bernhardson said.
He discovered a way to fund those mission concerns in Vision for Mission.
Launched by the Evangelical Church in America's 1993 Churchwide Assembly, Vision for Mission gives individuals and congregations the opportunity to provide special gifts to the church and its mission. To date, individuals and congregations have given more than $5 million to the fund.
Ted Rosky, a Louisville, Ky., businessman who serves on the Vision advisory committee, said he likes the flexibility of Vision for Mission. "Some people may prefer to give an endowment while others want to support current mission activities. It's a marvelous partnership," he said.
Vision for Mission is supported by congregational responses, individual contributions, planned giving and major gifts.
This year the Southwestern Pennsylvania Synod used Vision for Mission to raise money for its companion synod, the Tulear Synod of Madagascar. Half the funds raised during the appeal went to local mission projects in Pennsylvania, and half went to Madagascar.
"In retirement we have been fortunate and we are able to make contributions to the Vision for Mission Fund," Bernhardson said. "I heartily urge all to consider becoming a part of this mission outreach."
For more information, call Jerry Olstad, director of the Vision for Mission Fund at (800) 638-3522 Ext. 2555.
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