CCMBC’s transition of this ministry to a stand-alone organization continues
As disciples of Jesus, we are called to be good stewards of the resources God has provided to us to help grow God’s Kingdom. This was the vision over 50 years ago when the Canadian Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches (CCMBC) began to provide mortgages to churches and pastors.
By pooling the resources of church members, the CCMBC Stewardship Ministry was able to offer mortgages to those in need, while simultaneously providing a stable and fair rate of return to those who placed their savings with CCMBC.
This ministry work of more than five decades has blessed 440 pastors with the opportunity to buy a home and over 245 churches with access to affordable mortgages. This ministry continues to be valuable because there are many times when churches and pastors – especially newer church plants – do not qualify for a mortgage with a bank.
“there are many times when churches and pastors – especially newer church plants – do not qualify for a mortgage with a bank.”
The need for us to provide mortgages to churches and pastors is as great as it has ever been and the willingness of thousands of church members to invest in the fund also remains strong. However, the way we carry out this ministry must evolve because of the ever-changing and increasingly complex government regulations.
At the CCMBC 2015 annual general meeting, churches voted in favour of creating the CCMBC Legacy Fund Inc. (Legacy), which is 100 percent owned by CCMBC, and will be the new home of the Stewardship Ministry. At Gathering 2016, churches approved the Legacy bylaws and at the upcoming 2017 annual general meeting, the churches will elect the Legacy board of directors. It has been a two-year-long journey to lay the foundation for Legacy – longer and more complicated than anticipated – but we’re optimistic that this will be complete by early 2018. The good news is that Legacy has already received its charitable status from the Canada Revenue Agency.
In 2018, individuals who want to support this ministry work, while also growing their own personal savings, can open registered accounts (RRSPs, RRIFs and TFSAs) through Legacy. Those who already have these types of registered savings with CCMBC will continue to receive the same competitive rates of interest, but will begin to receive all reporting from Legacy once the transition is complete.
For many years now, churches and individuals have also been able to earn interest through deposit accounts with no fixed term. While our churches and conferences will continue to be able to place their non-registered deposits with Legacy, we are still awaiting the regulator’s final decision as to exactly how we can serve individual depositors in the future. We expect that the investments will continue to be stable and offer competitive rates of interest as they have in the past.
At Gathering 2016, the churches approved the 2017 budget with an amended motion designed to balance the CCMBC ministry budget and replenish the Stewardship reserves. Complying with this motion, the 2018 budgets will include no transfer of cash between Legacy and CCMBC. Legacy will continue to provide some non-cash support by offering facilities, accounting services and other forms of infrastructure to assist CCMBC and other MB ministries.
With Legacy handling the Stewardship activities, CCMBC and its Executive Board will be able to focus solely on church ministry. In 2018, CCMBC is designed to be a self-sustaining entity, supported only by church giving and other ministry revenues. We hope to build a strong and healthy future for our churches, members and ministries, and we will continue to rely strongly on your support to develop leaders, build community, multiply churches and resource ministry.
Knowing that the need for pastor and church mortgages continues to grow, and believing that there are many more MBs eager to support this type of ministry, we are highly optimistic about the future of Legacy, and we look forward to all that God has in mind for CCMBC. We will continue to pray for clear vision and the wisdom required to make informed decisions as we move through this process in support of our mission to multiply Christ-centred churches to see Canada transformed by the good news of Jesus Christ.
By Jim Davidson, interim Chief Financial Officer
Note: The CCMBC Legacy Fund will be discussed at the November 2017 CCMBC Annual General Meeting and we will have more to report after the meeting has concluded. In the meantime please see the latest financial report from CFO Jim Davidson .