In a year marked by financial insecurity and anxiety due to the novel coronavirus, many of us have needed a little extra help. Perhaps, more than anyone else in need of support during this time have been the older members of this generation. The pandemic has heightened their challenges of loneliness, finances and mobilization.
But we’ve got good news to share— Mission:Dignity® and the South Carolina Baptist Convention hope to make even more of a difference this year with an extra blessing to counteract 2020’s extraordinary circumstances.
Mission:Dignity, a ministry of GuideStone®, exists to honor retirement-age Southern Baptist pastors, denominational workers and their widows through advocacy and financial assistance by providing steady financial assistance. This financial assistance usually comes in the form of a monthly check, but the Mission:Dignity recipients in South Carolina received a special gift this year — a 13th check — thanks to a partnership with the South Carolina Baptist Convention. This additional support is a special supplement to the ongoing monthly grants these individuals receive to help meet essential needs like paying bills, buying groceries and purchasing much-needed medication.
The partnership between Mission:Dignity and the South Carolina Baptist Convention that made this extra check possible was established many years ago.
In 1980, the Baptist Foundation of South Carolina — a ministry partner of the state convention — established a fund to aid retired pastors, workers and widows in South Carolina. This initial fund grew at a steady pace through small gifts and was soon supplemented by the establishment of a second fund by Mr. Jesse E. Davis. Davis desired to make an impact for ministerial relief in South Carolina and made a generous stock contribution to that end, which began a legacy of giving among South Carolina Baptists.
Over the years, other faithful donors have given to the same meaningful cause established by Davis, like Ms. Meredith Satterfield — a retired South Carolina Baptist Convention employee. During her time in the Collegiate Ministry Department at the state convention, she took note of the many students called to ministry that came through her department. Satterfield began contributing to this fund as she worked with these students because she knew that many of them would have future needs. Their calling, she says, was not about financial gain but about honoring the Lord wherever He led.
Seeing the legacy and impact of Davis’s initial gift has been profound to many — including his son Edwin. He reflects, “It has been inspiring to see how our father’s vision has grown to include other contributors and to see how many pastors and their widows have been helped over the years.”
Today, more than ten funds have been established through the Baptist Foundation of South Carolina that go toward meeting the needs of retired pastors, denominational workers and their widows in South Carolina. The earnings from these ten funds are then sent to the South Carolina Baptist Convention, which works in conjunction with Mission:Dignity to provide a 13th check to current Mission:Dignity grant recipients in South Carolina.
As of 2020, more than $375,000 has been disbursed through this ongoing partnership between the South Carolina Baptist Convention and Mission:Dignity. These gifts have resulted in an outpouring of thanks to God from 13th check recipients.
Sylvia Kenney — a widow whose husband served for 32 years in Southern Baptist churches — writes, “Words cannot express my gratitude for the assistance check given through Mission:Dignity from the South Carolina Baptist Convention. Due to unforeseen expenses, I found myself in dire financial straits. What you have done will be remembered in my heart always. May God bless you for blessing all of us, Mission:Dignity recipients.”
Another recent word of thanks came from Mildred Branham, who served as a church administrator in South Carolina for 12 years. She shares, “I never cease to be amazed at God’s generosity through people I have never met. I have seen some wonderful responses from some people during these past several months. It’s amazing what God can use to cause His people to reflect Him.”
“Our ministry through the Foundation has a far-reaching impact as the gifts that we manage impact lives today and will continue to impact lives until Jesus returns,” explains Nathan McCarthy, president/CEO of the Baptist Foundation of South Carolina. “Our ministry is about helping people use the financial blessings that God has provided to make an impact for Christ. It is an honor to help facilitate these gifts.”
By partnering with Mission:Dignity, the Baptist Foundation of South Carolina and the South Carolina Baptist Convention continue to give donors an opportunity to reflect Christ as they help provide for the needs of these lifelong servants of the Lord.
And on behalf of Mission:Dignity, we thank our friends in South Carolina for their partnership and commitment to these faithful soldiers of the cross in need.
Kyle Scott is the operations manager at Mission:Dignity.