The legacy lives on
Legacies are a lifeline for our parishes. Church of England parishes receive over 4,000 legacies each year – gifts to finance mission projects, maintain beautiful church buildings and grow faithful and faith filled communities.
These gifts make a real difference to the future work of the Church – as regular giving often concentrates on maintaining the existing mission and ministry.
Take the story of Jack & Barbara Bearne. In life, they were an integral part of the church and served as welcomers who greeted everyone with a big smile and words of encouragement.
They went on to leave a sizeable six figure legacy to their church in, St Michael’s in Alphington, in the Diocese of Exeter.
Receiving such a generous gift challenged the church community to consider their vision for the future. As Jack and Barbara had spent their life serving the local community, it was in this spirit that the decision was taken to reorder the church building to better meet the needs of the local community.
For the Revd Mike Partridge, “(though) the legacy was spent on the building, this was not simply a building project, what they have done is turn the building inside out so everyone can see the welcome here”.
The church path and entrance have been made accessible for all, while a new suite of rooms have helped the church’s mission and outreach grow enormously. The result is a building that is a beautiful blend of old and new and is now open to the public every day.
Even closer to home, the story of Laurie and Margaret Edwards is also encouraging in just how transformative a legacy gift can be.
Having been active in their local parish for many years, they left a legacy of £32,000 that led to a full refurbishment of the church including a new lighting system that was 50% cheaper to run.
There are countless other stories of how legacies have transformed parishes up and down the country.
Whether it is a complete refurbishment, a new lighting system, a new screen or repairing the bell tower, the gift is used to invest in the life of the church and community.
Beyond our regular lifetime, someone leaving a gift in their will can be a final and powerful expression of gratitude and thanksgiving towards God and can help transform a local church’s future.
In short, the legacy lives on.
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