I shared this already in our Sunday announcements, but I am excited to say once again that we have received our first distribution from the Mission of Faith Endowment Fund! All the hard work, and generosity that our congregation put into raising money during 2016 is paying off and benefitting our ministry going forward. From the the initial $34,000 we raised as our principal amount in the endowment fund account, we received our first distribution of $367.56! Distributions are money that is generated from the interest, dividends, capital gains, etc., which come from the money that we deposited into our account with the broader ELCA Endowment Fund. We will receive a distribution from the Mission of Faith Endowment Fund every quarter, totaling four per year.
The Endowment Fund Committee, consisting of Rick Tameler, Janette Rosman, Dustin Hess, and myself, met and started deliberating how we should spend the money that our Fund is bringing in. Since we hope to grow the Mission of Faith Endowment Fund over time, the committee decided that it was important to use some of the funds we receive towards this purpose. We decided that we would like to devote a ten percent tithe out of each distribution to put back into the fund for future growth. We intend to be faithful stewards of the money that has been entrusted to us, and we believe that giving money to the future of Faith Lutheran Church’s ministry is a crucial aspect of that stewardship.
The committee also decided, and our church council approved, that we would like to spend the rest of our first distribution in support of Elias Nawawieh from Polson when he travels to support Christian refugees in Jordan in October. Christians have been in Iraq for nearly 2,000 years, since the time of the apostles and the early church, but ISIS has forced them to renounce their Christian faith, flee, or die. These deeply committed Christians believed that it was better to give up everything than abandon their faith, and many are now in refugee camps in Jordan having left all that they own behind. Elias Nawawieh has traveled and worked with refugees in Jordan for several years. Elias is originally from Bethlehem in Palestine, and regularly leads trips to the Holy Land from the United States and elsewhere. He is uniquely suited to provide aid to Iraqi refugees because his first language is Arabic and he has many contacts in the Middle East. By supporting Elias, we will not only be helping Christian refugees in need, but also pushing back against the evil that ISIS commits against its own people in Iraq and Syria.
Since distributions from the Mission of Faith Endowment Fund are not all that big yet, we determined that it is best to devote them to specific causes each quarter, instead of splitting them up into smaller amounts. We expect that future distributions will be used to support things like youth service learning trips, scholarships for camp, or similar causes. We also intend to support international and other local causes with the money that we receive from the Fund, and we are grateful for this opportunity which enables us to do both at the same time!