In November we celebrate All Saints Sunday, and remember those who went before us in the faith. We think of our loved ones, recall meals shared, holiday traditions, and times together with family and friends. As we remember the story of their lives, we are recalling their legacy: what is it they believed in, what did they pass on? This is a wonderful time to also reflect on, “What is my legacy?” “How do I want to be remembered?”
One way we can share our legacy is to support and build up those places that have defined our lives. At Mayflower, we are aware of the fact that we are always building upon the traditions and successes of previous generations, creating and sustaining the values and resources for the next generation. The question for us, then, is how do we want to leave this world to our next generation?
One way we can create our legacy is to financially support the values and institutions we hold dear. We sometimes distinguish between the gifts we give in annual support of the church – through tithing, pledges and giving to the weekly collection plate on Sundays; from gifts that come from the culmination of the arc of our lives. These are the assets that often build up through our lives: our homes, our pension plans, our financial accounts. These assets can provide another way to give, as a “legacy gift,” ones that are definitional in saying what we support. They are really statements of faith. Legacy gifts, we are both: saying, this is what I believe; and doing, I put my resources to work here. What we have loved, what has brought us love, we now share in love, to the community and to the building up of these values for the next generation.
Mayflower is doubly blessed, as it able to fulfill its mission not only through the Church but also through the Mayflower Foundation. The Mayflower Foundation expands our ability to live out our mission. Mayflower has had a tradition of its members remembering both the Church and the Foundation. Both work to realize God’s presence, and each supports the other.
A Mayflower member recently recognized this through a gift to the church. She experienced the loss of her final parent, her mother. Her mother provided this member with her a gift of the arc of her life, her home. In receipt of this gift, this Mayflower member found a way to remember her parent’s life by making a legacy gift to Mayflower. This member said she wanted to give this to the church because Mayflower has meant so much to her life and the life of her entire family. She wanted to give where she thought this money would mean the most, and make the most difference, and that was Mayflower. This generous gift is going to Mayflower Church and Mayflower Foundation.
We typically think of legacy gifts as given through a will. Mayflower has a brochure on legacy giving that describes how we can support the Church and the Foundation. It gives examples of ways we can give from the arc of our lives. You can find this at the church office. If you have any thoughts or questions on this, please feel free to talk to us about your thoughts on your legacy.