July 2022: We can’t believe it! It’s been nearly TEN years since First United Methodist Church of Santa Monica and the Methodist Foundation of Santa Monica jointly launched the Legacy Circle. Our goal was to educate everyone in planning for our future by committing to planning to remember the Church and Foundation in their estate planning.

Ten years later, 48 members, and over $1M received has been such an important part of growing the church and creating stability and long-term planning. We couldn’t do it without you! 39 Charter members were honored at the November, 2013 All Saints Day, and other members have been honored each November during Charge Conference as joining. We are so grateful for the gifts now and into our future.

Most recently this past season, five Church committees met together with The Reverend John Woodall, President of the California Pacific Methodist Foundation, to see what more we can do. He is currently the CEO of this Foundation and he is passionate about leading the church into the next century. It led us to some big questions for reflection. There are so many things we are doing right. But we know there is so much more to do. We give thanks for our community (you) and we listen. But are we doing enough for our future? Are we doing enough building? Asking? Sourcing? Have we set the vision and norm to focus on the present AND the future across all generations? With the Cal-Pac Foundation, our Planned Giving Committee, and YOU, we can do just that.

Other big takeaways from our time with Rev. Woodall included stay the course in these tricky times of other economic needs weighing on generosity to the church, offer transparency in all we do, give thanks and recognition, and keep growing. Thank you for being a part of the legacy now and into the future.

The Legacy Circle plaque, displayed in the Narthex.

Planned Giving Update – Join the Legacy Circle today!

I am pleased to announce that over 40 families have as of this writing made their commitment to join our Legacy Circle by agreeing to remember First UMC or our affiliated Methodist Foundation of Santa Monica in their estate plans! Some of these families have already made plans to remember the Church, some are modifying their plans to include the Church, and others don’t have a plan yet but have committed to remembering the Church when they do. You don’t have to provide any details or dollars of your exact plans to join the Legacy Circle – just your commitment, no matter the amount, is what’s important.

We’d love to have you be a part of this founding charter group so we can include your name on that special day when we remember those who have gone on to our Father as well as renew the promise we make to move forward with the work of the Church in their names. In addition, we will recognize the Legacy Circle members at the Annual Charge Conference. Of course, if you wish to remain anonymous, we’ll certainly respect that wish!

The members of the committee are as follows:
Reverend Patricia Farris
Russ Whittenburg
John Stutsman
Todd Erlandson
David Guyette
Leigh Shipp

Please feel free to contact them (through the church office) and ask them any questions you might have about the details of how this works, including referrals to estate planning attorneys or to various web resources for doing a will yourself. The church office also has this list of attorneys that the Committee members have compiled should you seek assistance.

Please download the Detailed Information Sheet below on how to remember the Church in your plans, including the difference between leaving money to the church itself or to our affiliated foundation.

Yours in Christ,
Russ Whittenburg
Chair, Planned Giving

Planned Giving Information Sheet

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