Christmas Fund: A ‘nest egg for future generations’ of UCC leaders
For more than a century, annual donations to the Christmas Fund have supported United Church of Christ clergy and lay employees.
Advocates of the fund are asking for gifts to help that continue for another 100 years.
“Most Americans live paycheck to paycheck; UCC clergy and lay staff are no exception,” said the Rev. Paul Ramsey, philanthropy officer for the Pension Boards, which manages the Christmas Fund. “Those who donate are providing a nest egg for future generations to support those who have answered the call.”
‘Love requires deeds’
In 2022, more than $2 million in Christmas Fund grants were distributed through “thank you” gifts, pension and health supplements, ministerial assistance, emergency grants and more — much of it supporting lower-income retirees.
In a video appeal, the Rev. John Henry Scott III read through letters of gratitude from recipients of Christmas Fund gifts and asked for continued support for those in need.
“Now it’s time for you — that’s right, you — to bring the abundant life, the fullness of Christ, through your generous donations, through your generous gifts,” said Scott, who is the founding pastor of Jesus Stands for Love and Justice Ministries, Inc., and a member of Dunbar UCC in Hamden, Conn. “As the Gospel proclaims through Christ’s fullness, we have all received grace upon grace.”
Recalling words from his father, Scott reflected on the example of love in action that comes through generous donations to the Christmas Fund.
“My late dad, he was a pastor, an educator, an army chaplain. He was fond of saying, ‘Love without works is dead. Love requires deeds,’” Scott said. “How true.”
Justice and equity
Besides its significant support for retired pastors, the Christmas Fund gifts can also help balance out disparities in compensation that unfortunately still persist among underrepresented groups.
Ramsey noted that a higher percentage of clergy of color, queer clergy and women clergy often need extra support because of having lower salaries on average. “I believe it is a justice and equity issue,” he said.
Learn more and donate here.
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