The year was 1967. Our country was torn over the Vietnam War and Civil Rights. Our young church turned 21. Dedicated members, accepting the financial challenges and risks, signed notes guaranteeing the much needed loan to fund the construction of our sanctuary. What a time to start an endowment fund!
Thanks to the vision of a small group of members an endowment was created:
“…To acquire, establish and maintain in perpetuity a fund, the principal and income of which shall be used from time to time as the board of directors may determine to support or benefit the programs at River Road Church… through direct grants to the church and grants to the programs and courses the church supports or would support if its resources were sufficient to enable it to do so…”
The fund had little growth in its early years, then slow growth as the directors focused on increasing the value of the fund and not making grants. As growth continued, the fund became known as a “rainy-day” fund, to be used only in emergencies.
Today, because of the foresight of a few, the fund can help support both programs and causes of the church and meet emergency needs.
The fund is constituted as a not-for-profit corporation separate from the church and managed by a 12-member board of directors. Board members must be members of River Road Church and are elected by the board.
In supporting the purposes and causes of the church, the church’s Constitution offers guidance to the directors. Article I, Section 2 – Purpose, reads in part:
Believing in the Bible as inspired of God and in the priesthood of the believer and acknowledging adherence to the teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ, we declare the purpose of the church to be:
- To maintain regular services for public devotion, worship, and prayer, the liturgical forms of which shall be drawn from the rich panoply of the Protestant Tradition;
- To proclaim through word and deed the Gospel message and to urge thereby its personal acceptance;
- To cooperate heartily by prayer, gift, and service in sharing the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ with the people of our community and the world;
- To promote systematic Bible study and training in Christian service and to encourage thereby lifelong enlistment in definitive Christian activities;
- To further the study and practice of Christian discipleship as revealed and taught in the scriptures.
Many of the Endowment’s grants have been, and continue to be, for the maintenance and improvements of the facilities we are so fortunate to have. Simply stated, our facilities help carry out the purposes of our church. Examples of endowment funding are the purchase of 8 Ridge Road, now part of our North Parking Lot; the handicap ramp to the Chapel; and the 1999 Capital Campaign.
River Road Church is known for its outstanding music. Endowment funding has provided annual support of the E. Carl Freeman Concert Series, the Boston grand piano in the Sanctuary, and the 2014-2017 Rejoice & Give Thanks capital campaign consultant’s fees and related campaign expenses.
The Endowment has reached out to support the Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond (BTSR), Hurricane Katrina relief efforts, and the Japanese Earthquake Relief Fund.
In 2003, the directors began presenting an annual report at the church’s January business meeting. Members may obtain copies by contacting the church office.
Please pray for our church that it may always be a beacon of faith, love, and hope. As you pray, please consider if God wants you to include River Road Church in your stewardship pilgrimage by means of your estate plan.
With continued increase of resources, our church can grow the care for all ages of fellowship, spiritual growth, music, and outreach. While there are many good causes, there is only one River Road Church, “our church,” that centers on changing lives to be more Christ-like through Bible study, worship, prayer, and teaching.
If you feel you can help to continue what you have found at River Road Church, or if you have questions and would like to discuss what you might do, please contact Dr. Daniel Bagby or a member of the Endowment Board.
God has blessed us at River Road Church. May we prove worthy of God’s blessings for coming generations.
The Endowment Board of Directors:
Ransone Hartz, President
Fred Bagwell, Vice President
Bill Gray, Secretary
Susan Rucker, Treasurer
Lou Moelchert, Investment Advisor