Legacy Sunday – June 7, 2015

Legacy Sunday POST copy

Our church family has been a blessing to us throughout our lifetime, an integral part of our spiritual journey. But when it comes to our estate planning, do we consider our church family in our plans? Our church believes in being able to serve God and our community in the next few days, months, years, and even decades. (After all, the Christian Church is one of the oldest organizations in continuous operation – for two thousand years – in the world today!) Planned Giving is about making a choice to give toward a better future for those we care about – including our church family.

There are many different ways to give a gift to the church for the future: wills, charitable trusts, and insurance policies, to name a few. The most common form of a Planned Gift is through a will. Now is a good time to review our wills and estates in any event, since too many Americans put off this effort, and sometimes end up failing to provide for those they love. A simple statement like this can be included in a will: “I give and bequeath the sum of $ ____ (or the percentage of ____) to be used for the general program of the First Presbyterian Church of Yorktown in Yorktown Heights, NY, 10598, USA.” A will is a unique document and must be structured to fit the needs and estate plans of each individual in accordance with the laws of the state in which each of us lives.

To support Planned Giving, our Session approved the establishment of an endowment fund, into which we recommend Planned Gifts be directed. As that endowment fund grows, our church will benefit from the resources the fund generates to further our church mission, but more importantly, future generations will see the benefits as well. We can also contribute directly into the endowment fund with cash gifts (designated to the “Endowment Fund”) during our lifetimes, as the story of Nellie Keller relates (see below). Please contact any member of our Planned Giving Committee or the Stewardship Commission with any questions. The final choice is, of course, up to each individual, and when we make a Planned Gift through a will, we must access legal counsel, separate from our Church, to finalize our commitment. But this commitment will extend well into the future, to support the most enduring endeavor we can imagine, the work of God.

Members of the Planned Giving Committee: Frank Hodgkinson, Tim Lupfer, Emily Monk, Jack Shaughnessy, Carol Talbot, Carol Thorne Gaetani.

Members of our Stewardship Commission: our co-pastors, Gloria Coccodrilli, Pam Darreff, Tim Lupfer, Jessica Mayes, Mariana Sherman, Cathy Talbot Thank you from the Stewardship Commission.


We celebrated the life of Nellie Keller a few months ago, when she passed away at the age of 106. Nellie held the current record for longevity at our church, being a member of the First Presbyterian Church of Yorktown for 74 years, although her daughter, Barbara Wilkens, is catching up with 71 years as a member of our church! The church was a big part of Nellie’s long and prosperous life. She taught Sunday school and played the piano at church. She would arrange flowers for the church, picking them from her garden and arranging them in the church for whatever event was happening. She had seven children, five girls and two boys. All seven children were confirmed in our church, and all five daughters were married in our church. At the service honoring her life, the many aspects of her legacy were celebrated: as a great-great grandmother, she had over 100 direct descendants. Her zest for life and her sterling character were described with great affection. Think of all the epic events she witnessed during her lifetime: two world wars, women winning the right to vote, the Great Depression, profound social changes, and technology that took her from the horse-drawn carriages of her youth to traveling the world by jet as an adult. But Nellie was also the first member of our congregation outside of the governing body of the church to give to the new endowment fund, donating a gift in 2014. As her daughter Barbara described it, “She heard about what the church was trying to establish, and she just thought it was the right thing to do.” So in her 106th year, this amazing woman extended her legacy even further, giving generously to support the mission of our church well into the future.