Helping retired ministers, missionaries, widowed spouses and lay church workers make ends meet after a faithful life of service
VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 11/21/17)—For many pastors and lay church workers, retirement can be a time of financial hardship and stressful uncertainty. With roots dating back to the mid-1930s, in 1977 MMBB Financial Services and American Baptist Churches USA (ABCUSA) partnered to provide a helping hand to those who have dedicated their lives to helping others.
Today, The Retired Ministers and Missionaries Offering (RMMO), is an annual campaign through which church congregations collect an offering that provides a much-needed thank you check to former ministers, missionaries, their widowed spouses and elderly clergy within their churches. In 2016, RMMO raised $1,059,444 and more than 3,443 checks were distributed. This year the campaign hopes to raise $1.1 million.
Associate Executive Director of MMBB Financial Services, Rev. Dr. Perry Hopper explains, “A lifetime of low wages, seminary and student loans, failing health and more, can often result in a lack of financial resources as many clergy retire. The checks not only provide a thank you for their dedication—they are also a reminder that the pastor or family member has not been forgotten.”
One retired minister said, “it is a humbling experience (to receive a check) from people that I do not necessarily know, who care enough to say thank you for my past service—even when that service was a long time ago.”
The offering traditionally takes place between Thanksgiving and the first Sunday in December. The campaign is a significant undertaking and involves mailing thousands of packets of information in October to help churches across the U.S. and Puerto Rico encourage donations. Among the materials provided this year are a colorful promotional guide with tips for sermons and social media posts (a new feature), church program inserts, giving envelopes and posters to track campaign giving. A 4-minute DVD featuring interviews with recipients is available online at https://vimeo.com/238978257.
Hopper adds, “We hope congregations will be inspired by our theme this year, ‘Generous Congregations’. The verse is taken from Isaiah 32:8, ‘But generous people plan to do what is generous, and they stand firm in their generosity’.”
MMBB Financial Services (The Ministers and Missionaries Benefit Board) is the non-profit financial steward for more than 18,000 faith-based employers, churches and church-related organizations, ministers, missionaries and their families in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. As pioneers in providing employee retirement benefits—and with nearly $3 billion in assets—MMBB carries forward a 100-year tradition of offering competitive returns, experienced management advice and sophisticated financial analytics tailored to the unique needs of the religious community.
American Baptist Churches USA is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with approximately 5,000 congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.