Planned Giving at St. Luke's: We Stand on Their Shoulders, Please Join Us!
Support St. Luke's through planned giving. Learn more here.
You’ve likely heard it said that people sit in the shade of trees they didn’t plant and stand on the shoulders of those who have come before; that vibrant organizations can trace their roots to the vision and commitment of inspired leaders of the past. St. Luke’s is blessed to share this story line, and we invite you to join in the great cloud of witnesses who are planting new trees.
St. Luke’s story had a humble beginning as a group of visionary parishioners collaborated in 1940 with our then-rector The Rev. John Moore Walker, to form the St. Luke's Endowment Fund, Inc., for “religious, educational, and charitable [purposes] for the benefit, development and expansion of the work of St. Luke’s Church or Parish and for mission and charity sponsored by or connected with said Parish.” Creating an endowment meant that St. Luke’s would have a fund that would provide a stream of income to support the mission and ministry of our church; gifts to an endowment are not spent, but they are invested in such a way as to provide income. The first gift to the St. Luke’s Endowment was $500 to be paid over 10 years.
Why form an entity separate from the church for this purpose? The St. Luke’s archives provide some insight into this question. Church leaders were concerned that a time might come when parishioners would no longer want to come downtown to church, but would want to continue the church’s mission and ministry. This insight proved prescient as the 1960s and 1970s saw other downtown churches move north while St. Luke’s planted its flag and declared its intention to stay put. And the mission and ministry has continued.
The income generated by the assets in our Endowment, along with those of other funds gifted to St. Luke’s over the years, has provided a substantial annual distribution to support the church’s inreach and outreach efforts. Gifts to the St. Luke’s Endowment Fund undergird the church’s work both in the short and the long term. These funds link today’s congregation with the St. Luke’s saints of the past whose faith and commitment of resources ensured the church’s future.
Whatever our age or station in life, our participation in legacy or planned giving ensures that the resources for the mission and ministries of St. Luke’s will continue after we are gone. In simplest terms, that generosity expresses love for our children and our children’s children. We are “planting new trees” today so that St. Luke’s will still be right here on Peachtree Street for those who follow us.
Parishioners who have continued this tradition of faith through legacy or planned giving are recognized as members of the Good Shepherd Society. Society membership is open to St. Luke’s parishioners of all ages, regardless of the size or form of the gift. Detailed information about planned giving is available here. Once you have completed the form at the end of the Good Shepherd Society screen on the website, you will be welcomed as a member.
We can’t put a dollar value on “endowing” the expenses of our streaming ministry, but we know that without it we would have felt spiritually lost during the ravages of COVID-19. We can’t put a value on “endowing” the startup costs of the many community ministries that began at St. Luke's, such as Crossroads Community Ministries, the Atlanta Community Food Bank, The Boyce L. Ansley School, the Training and Counseling Center at St. Luke’s (all birthed at St. Luke’s), but we know they continue to provide immense benefit in our community. Your planned gift to the St. Luke’s Endowment Fund, no matter the size, will ensure the continued formation of these kinds of innovative solutions long into our future.
In Matthew 6:19-21 we are told Jesus had something to say about legacy gifts:
Do not lay/store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; but lay/store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
We spend our lives creating our legacy. Create a gift to the St. Luke’s Endowment today, to ensure its future for generations to come.
The members of the Good Shepherd Society Committee and St. Luke’s Endowment Trustees welcome your interest and questions. Please don’t hesitate to contact any one of us.
Good Shepherd Society Committee Members: Cotten Alston, Liz Chadwick, John Floyd, Carter Fowlkes, Mark Johnson, Phil Lamson (Chair), Jane Long, Sue McAvoy, Jimmy Satterwhite, Neil Schemm, Courtney Vann, and Wayne Vason
St. Luke’s Endowment Trustees: Veronica Biggins, Scott Inman, Mark Johnson, Robert Kennedy (Chair), and The Rev. Winnie Varghese (Rector)