This summer we will say farewell to Bishop Robert Schnase as he completes the maximum term of 12 years of service to the congregations of the Missouri Annual Conference. Such an occasion comes with a challenge – namely, how to express thanks and appreciation on behalf of the hundreds of churches and thousands of church members who have shared in this journey of discipleship the last dozen years.
Kim Jenne, Director of Connectional Ministries, worked with other conference leaders to identify an appropriate way to recognize Bishop Schnase. “He did not want anything named after him,” she states with a smile. After brainstorming several ideas, Jenne developed consensus around the idea of an endowment fund that would keep the focus on the future and allow everyone to participate.
The Five Practices Fund for Fruitful Congregations will build on those famous five practices that Bishop Schnase outlined in his influential book The Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations. The fund will endow educational programming within the Missouri Conference.
“A hallmark of Bishop Schnase’s tenure has been an emphasis on new ideas, engaging books, and thought-provoking speakers to inform our conversations and our shared ministry,” states Jenne. This fund “will enrich our conference gatherings and continue to build a culture of excellence and renewal.”
“This fund is a fitting tribute and legacy,” agrees David Atkins, Executive Director of the Foundation, “and gifts will be matched by the Foundation up to the first $25,000 donated.” Individuals and congregations can give directly to the fund through the Foundation office (PO Box 1076, Columbia MO 65205) or through the Foundation website (www.mumf.org, click on Bishop Schnase’s picture). All contributors will be acknowledged in a published list that will be presented to Bishop Schnase at the 2016 Annual Conference.
As John Wesley observed, “It cannot be that the people should grow in grace unless they give themselves to reading. A reading people will always be a knowing people.” The Five Practices Fund will help carry this Wesleyan ethic and Bishop Schnase’s inspiring vision onward.