Deb Kimball grew up in Franklin, NH, and attended the red brick Christian Church. Over time, this church shared a minister and other resources with the Congregational Church across the street and eventually the churches merged. Her father was deeply involved, serving in many roles including Deacon, Moderator, and church school teacher. “I grew up knowing that you give to your church. I loved putting money into my own little envelopes and felt that contributing to the Offering was both a symbolic and tangible act of support,” Deb told me. “The pledge pattern feels natural to me, and we give a few more dollars every year. The initial commitment makes you a part of the community and then giving becomes a habit that acknowledges how important the church is to you.”
When she settled in Concord as a single woman, Deb attended a Sunday service at South Church, one of Concord’s “brick” churches. She recalls that Red Eastman greeted her, and that Joan Whitaker sought her out after the service to talk. She connected with Rev. John McCall and went to “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner,” where she met people who remain friends to this day, and she served as a Greeter on Christmas Eve. When she joined the church, her involvement deepened and over the years she has been on boards and committees including Membership/Stewardship/Personnel/Trustee and South Church representative to the Concord Interfaith Council, where she is currently Treasurer.
Deb and Eugene were married at South Church in 1986 and they regularly attend the 10:00 Sunday worship service. South Church is an important part of their lives. They have always known that it is essential to have a will to plan for the distribution of their assets after they die. They knew they wanted their estate plan to be both intentional in terms of their values and interests, and to be legally correct and binding. They know they wanted to support South Church so that it would be able to offer to future generations what it has given them. Deb noted that the current Legacy Society is a good structure, and that she and Eugene are pleased to have become members.
Deb Kimball and Eugene Shear
The relevance of South Church to “today” and the close connections with members were ideas that Becky Field stressed in her interview regarding her decision to join the Legacy Society by naming the church in her estate plan. The first service she attended was in December, 2004 and the sermon and readings focused on helping others. She recalled that Rev. Jim Norman entered from the back dressed as someone who had fallen on hard times, and that the South Church Seniors dropped balloons on him from the balcony. Becky thought, “This church is crazy and I love it!” She still loves that she never knows what will happen on a given Sunday.
“I attend South Church because the messages are based in ‘now;’ they make sense and help me strengthen my moral compass to navigate the world and my life. The church family has been there for me in ups and downs, and I see it as an extension of my own family. Most notable is the extraordinary fellowship of women.”
“Organizations don’t survive unless people pitch in. It’s my responsibility to contribute time, talent and treasure,” said Becky. Since joining the church in 2005, she has served as Deacon and Chair of the Board of Deacons (now the Worship and Spiritual Life Ministry); on the Church Council and as President-elect, President, and past-President; and as a member of the chancel choir. Her interests continue to be diversity and inclusion.
Becky admitted that it took her a while to think about her legacy, i.e. after her death. She recently started a college scholarship fund for new Americans through the NH Charitable Fund. When the paperwork was finally completed, Becky described an immediate and incredible sense of joy. With delight, she realized, “No, I’m not going to die and that’s the end. Instead, I can make a difference that continues beyond my life.” She laughed through the Planned Giving skit during worship this winter and was convinced that the time was right to include South Church in her estate plan.
Becky recently attended a service at the church where she grew up, the Congregational Church in Wallingford, Connecticut. When she walked in she saw that the interior looked just like South Church. No wonder she felt like she was coming home on that fateful day in 2004!
“South Church is central to our lives, in both our work and play. The activities and experiences of our lives are inseparable from South Church, which has given us love beyond measure.’
Billy and Nancy Brown.
Raw April rain and snow provided the backdrop for a warm and congenial conversation with Billy and Nancy Brown, in which they reflected on their reasons for joining the Legacy Society. Billy’s history with South Church began when he was called as Director of Parish Life, beginning April 1, 1977. When the senior minister at that time, Martin Johnson, was suddenly hospitalized on Good Friday, Billy learned that he would preach that Easter Sunday! Over the years, he has been a familiar and welcoming support to our clergy, stepping to the pulpit whenever needed.
When Billy and Nancy married in 1984, Billy was well established as a pastoral counselor in Concord so Nancy moved here. Nancy came to South Church because of Billy, and stayed because of what the church is and gave her. She has also been involved with the Music and Stewardship Committees, Board of Deacons, Women’s Retreat, and the deep discussions that led to becoming an Open and Affirming parish. Through youth programs and family retreat at the Horton Center, their children, Carter and Elizabeth, developed and blossomed in their own community.
Knowing that South Church has written policies that govern how planned gifts are invested and how endowment funds are used was important to Billy and Nancy, and gave them confidence that such gifts and funds are well managed. They agreed that updating their estate plan to make a legacy gift was an easy decision, and they are grateful that they are able to contribute to the church’s financial stability in this way.
Billy and Nancy Brown
Bell Choir, Deacons, Christian Education, Genesis Circle, Lay Ministry Visitors, Library, Membership, Men’s Retreat, Parish/Pastor Relations, Pastor’s Aid, Stewardship, Trustees, and Women’s Retreat.
What could all these ministries and activities have in common? This is the list of the many ways Bill and Betty Jacob have, and continue to, participate in the life of South Church!
Bill and Betty began “shopping” in 1980, hoping to find a church home that spoke to their upbringing in the Episcopal and Baptist traditions, respectively. They received a warm welcome from Red Eastman and Rev. John McCall soon reached out to them. They were expecting their first child and saw that South Church was friendly and had strong programs in music and children’s Christian Education. They joined in 1981 and have been actively involved ever since. They describe South Church as their support system and source of most of their closest friends.
When the time came to update an outdated will, they considered that they were now attending more funerals and memorial services than weddings and baptisms. They saw their contemporaries aging, Recognizing that mortality is a reality, they made the decision to include South Church in their estate plan, both as a thanks for all it has meant to them, and to contribute to the church’s long-term financial stability.
They spoke with warmth about the wonderful staff who have served South Church over the years, and those we have now. “We are so blessed in our staff,” commented Bill sincerely. And, South Church is blessed because of members like Bill and Betty!
Bill and Betty Jacob
Peter and Deborah Imse did not have a Church home in Concord until their first daughter, Joanna, was on the way in 1983. Peter was raised as a Catholic, and Deborah was raised Episcopalian, but neither felt called to continue in their former traditions. After "church shopping" at several area churches, they attended South Church one Sunday, and the rest, as they say, is history.
They were struck by the warmth of the South Church community and the depth of its involvement in the wider community. The people at South Church lived their faith in a way that Peter and Deborah had never experienced before. Equally important, South Church welcomed newcomers no matter where they were on their faith journeys.
Over the years, the three Imse girls experienced the eye-opening Confirmation and youth programs. Peter and Deborah have been and continue to be involved in numerous Church Boards and Committees, and to enjoy being challenged to live every day as people of faith. They know that South Church is what it is today as a result of the commitment and support of past generations of members. They have named South Church in their estate plans to help give the Church the strong financial base that it needs to continue to be an open, welcoming, challenging, and accepting community for years to come.