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Ministry and Estate Planning: Works in Progress

from the Legacy Newsletter

"I often describe my ministry as a crazy-quilt," says the Rev. Nancy Doughty of Traverse City, Michigan. "It's composed of so many diverse pieces, and it's always a work in progress." Nancy, now retired from parish ministry, and her husband, Robert Doughty are members of the UU Congregation of Grand Traverse, Michigan. They are also charter members of the UUA Legacy Society, a group of generous UUs who have included our Association in their estate plans. Together, the Doughtys have created a vivid patchwork of ministry and service to a number of congregations and UU organizations. In everything from parish ministry to denominational affairs, to lay leadership at their home churches, they've demonstrated a strong and lasting commitment to this movement.

And they'll be helping Unitarian Universalist ministers to do the same through a gift in their estate plans. In 1990, Robert and Nancy first arranged a gift to the UUA from their life estate. Ten years later they revisited their plans and arranged for a portion of their individual retirement accounts to go to the Association. They have designated these gifts as endowment for the Financial Aid Sustentation Fund to benefit active and retired ministers and surviving spouses with demonstrated financial needs.

"We talked about the assets we had left to give after we'd provided for our family," says Robert. "Nancy and I both wanted to support organizations that reflect our values, and the UUA was definitely one of those."

Nancy served for five years on the Ministerial Fellowship Committee, the body that credentials men and women for ministerial fellowship in our Association. She knows that for ministers to serve as religious leaders, they need strong and consistent support throughout their careers.

"I understand how new ministers can struggle financially," she says. Meeting the demands of their work while repaying hefty student loans can place new ministers under additional stress. At the other end of the life cycle are retired ministers and surviving partners who may have immediate and pressing financial needs who will benefit from this gift.

By contributing to the UUA's ministerial aid fund, Robert and Nancy will have an impact on the lives of those who receive grants from the fund. They'll also be helping the Association further its mission to provide the visionary leadership our congregations need. For the Doughtys, this is what makes the gift meaningful.

"We believe in institution building," Nancy says. "We believe in building an Association that can represent our religious values and be strong at all levels." Robert agrees that he'd like to see the UUA be an even more visible presence in the community-a stronger voice for our principles in the world.

Nancy's image of the hand-made quilt to describe her work is an especially fitting one for our tradition. Like the creation of a quilt, the work of UU ministry requires balance and boldness, and the ability to bring divergent pieces together into an artful whole. The Association is grateful to Robert and Nancy Doughty for their generous support of to the Unitarian Universalist ministry, now and in years to come.

For more information contact giftplansatuuadotorg.

This work is made possible by the generosity of individual donors and congregations. Please consider making a donation today.

Last updated on Thursday, September 8, 2011.

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