Stories of Planned Giving

Image of Rev. John Helt and Cindy Helt with their Family

The John and Cindy Helt Family

Cindy and Rev. John Helt turned a farm into a legacy

“Cindy and I are planning a gift that will provide us with income while we are living, and upon our deaths will support ministries that have been an important part of our lives.” Read how the farm became a legacy


Botched but Renewed Planned Giving by the Revs. Tom and Deborah Payden

Image of the Revs. Tom and Deborah Payden

The Revs. Tom and Deborah Payden

It shouldn’t have happened, but it did. It wasn’t anyone’s fault but our own.

We take our financial stewardship to the church seriously, and as a meeting about Planned Giving with Rev. Andrew Warner approached, we were feeling pretty good about our situation. In retirement our giving to our local congregation continued and small gifts were made to congregations we visited on given Sundays. We had a copy of our will where we could show that the local church would receive a portion of whatever estate was there to be settled. Things were in order.

A couple of days before meeting with Andrew we looked over the will to be clear about the language we had included for the church’s portion. We had to read it twice, but in the end, we were embarrassed to realize that no designation for the church had been included in our will! None! Read how the Paydens renewed their plan


Image of Jane Ilgen

Jane Ilgen

Giving for What Matters by Jane Ilgen

I believe that our lives matter. We are put on this earth to help to make the lives of all of those in our communities richer and more fulfilling. Education and educational opportunity are fundamental to this mission. Much of my working life and my chosen volunteer activities have been devoted to educational opportunities for children, children in Madison communities and children across the country and around the world. Education affirms that children’s lives matter. Continue reading Jane’s story


What My Mother Taught Me by Rev. Bob Ullman

Photo of the Ullman Family - Anita, Otto, and Bob

Ullman Family – Anita, Otto, and Bob

Herb Mather drew on over 100 interviews with generous people to write That’s What My Mother Taught Me. Mather found many of us learned to be generous by the example of another. That is certainly true in my experience.

I grew up believing tithing to be an expression of faithful living and to see giving of one’s time and talent to a wider community as equally important. While our family was not financially wealthy, I grew up with the privilege of never wanting for any of life’s necessities. My parents displayed their generous spirits through giving back to their church, the wider church and their community. My mother’s lessons for use of family resources came down to, “Give back to God first (a tithe), pay yourself next (save) and pay your bills last (spend).” If there wasn’t enough left to pay the bills in a pay period, then my mother reevaluated the bills before short-changing giving or saving.

What I learned when my mother passed…. Continue reading Bob’s story


Image of the Rev. Franz Rigert

The Rev. Franz Rigert

The Rev. Franz Rigert‘s planned giving story from June 2021


Last Sunday I was awakened by the chirping of the birds. A warm spring evening finally allowed for open windows and fresh air!

In the year of the pandemic, many of our “awakenings” were not so sweet. Continue reading

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