At the end of an obituary it is common to see: “In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts can be made to _________.” The designated organization might be one concerned with treatment of the disease that claimed the life of the decedent or the church where the individual worshipped. It could also be the college or university the person attended, or the social service, or environmental, or arts institution with which the person was affiliated.
One reason for these instructions is practicality. While they appreciate floral tributes, the surviving family members who are planning the memorial service prefer that people express their love and friendship in a way that benefits others. In fact, the individual, while living, may have expressed a preference for this.
Suggesting memorial gifts to certain institutions is a way of announcing what the decedent valued. The typical obituary tells when the person was born and died, occupation, professional achievements, and family members – and this is valuable information for lifting up their life. However, reading where memorial gifts are to be sent tells you something about the soul of the person – what they cared about, their causes, how they wanted to make a difference.
In this time of Covid-19, two new things are appearing in obituaries. One is the postponement of a memorial service because of the requirements of social distancing. Typical is a sentence like this: “We look forward to celebrating Howard’s life with friends and family at a later date to be announced.” The other is to sign an online guest book, which replaces the personal visitation with family members.
The inability to have a timely memorial service and, in the case of death as a result of Covid 19, a prevention of a farewell – making it especially painful and difficult for mourners to achieve closure.
Memorial gifts are one important way for friends and family members to associate a loved one with a purpose and keep their memory alive. Church Investors Fund, like many other charities, regularly receives memorial gifts. We want to assure you that upon receipt we will promptly send an acknowledgement of your gift to the decedent’s family, as well as a gift receipt.
If you are a family member, or a special friend, who would like to establish a permanent memorial, and are in a position to do so, we suggest that you consider establishing an endowment at Church Investors Fund in the name of the person you have lost. The fund would be named for the person, the principal would be loaned and re-loaned to build new churches and expand existing ones. As Paul said in I Corinthians 3:10, he laid a foundation, “but another buildeth thereon.” The fund would be a means by which loved ones would both remember the person they have lost and add to the ministry of NAB Churches.
An endowment can be established during your lifetime, in which case you can see it in operation. Alternatively, it can be established through your own estate plan. It is possible to name the endowment for both you and the person you have lost, thereby associating the lives of both of you with the commitment you shared.