According to the dictionary that now pops up on the side of my computer screen, a legacy is “something that is handed down or remains from a previous generation.” In one sense, the faith of the church is a legacy that each of us must claim as our own because no one can do our believing for us. In another sense, the church itself is a legacy, a community whose life rests on the foundation of witnesses who have gone before us and whose courage, wisdom and generosity still surround us.
I think of Jean Baber who loved the brunches after worship. I knew her only a year before she died but was thrilled when the church received a legacy from Jean that continues to underwrite the hospitality at PCCH. Though I was not privileged to know the Schmidts, the legacy Jim and Marion left to the church now helps to support our annual budget and, in the leanest years, has saved us from entering the New Year in the red. In memory of Bill Gemmill, whose leadership of this church tragically was cut short in the prime his life, a legacy was given anonymously to begin the William Gemmill Building Sustaining Fund without which we could not begin to care responsibly for our church home. The legacy left to us three years ago by another anonymous living saint has multiplied our ministry to seniors within and beyond the doors of the congregation. Kay Matthew’s legacy and Ann Siner’s legacy literally turned darkness into light a few years ago, funding the retirement of our debt as well adding to the income that now supports the ministry and mission of the church.
“What more should I say?” exclaimed the writer of Hebrews. For time would fail me to tell of all the saints whose courage, wisdom and generosity have given us such a legacy! Deeply aware of our responsibility to hand the faith and the church on to the generation that will succeed us, I ask you to join The Legacy Circle of the Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill that has just been founded by an action of the Session. You may already be a part of The Legacy Circle and for this generations will thank you. If you have not remembered the church in your will, I hope you will consider widening the circle by writing a codicil to your will that includes a legacy to the church. Your church officers are in the process of doing just this!
-Cynthia A. Jarvis