It is a privilege to be able to partner and work together as Seventh Day Baptists even in the midst of crisis and disruption. The importance of communicating well is a priority for us as we strive to Actively Advance God’s Kingdom together in this season. In that regard, I am grateful for the diligent and ongoing work of the SDB Memorial Board, specifically at this critical time. Please read this important update from Don Graffius, President of the Memorial Fund Trustees. — Blessings, Carl Greene, Executive Director, SDB General Conference
Greetings from the Memorial Board
Given the recent volatility in the stock and financial market, you may have some questions regarding the stability of Memorial Board investments and the income support provided to the conference.
From a Memorial Board prospective, history has taught us the importance of taking a long-term horizon when investing, which has typically proven to be a prudent approach to generating solid returns over time. We have a mix of stocks, bonds, and short term instruments designed to help us mitigate the potential risks during periods of market volatility. Over the decades we have seen market declines due to a slowing economy, changing interest rate policies, oil price shocks, and political and geopolitical factors such as Brexit, 9/11, banking crisis, and the Gulf war. Most recently, it has been COVID and plunging oil prices. Nevertheless, history teaches us the market eventually recovers and there are times when the best investment advice is to keep your head down and wait until the storm passes. Or to quote another investment sage: “Don’t just do something, stand there!”
No one know of course how long this current crisis will last. When making spending decisions, the board averages the market value of our portfolio over several years, thus mitigating the effects of significant increases and declines in the market. Moreover, this approach enables us to even out the flow of income to our conference and its ministries. With the assistance of investment counsel, we liquidate more stocks during market increases and more bonds or money market instruments during periods of declines. We are confident in our ability to do our part to support our conference ministries and keep our conference employees paid.
However, during this financial crisis, your local church and the conference will also need your individual gifts! The theme of giving pulses through the Scriptures. In the Old Testament, Moses instructed God’s Chosen People to give back to God first (Deut. 26). Next, they were to care for those in need-the foreigners, orphans, and widows. God has been faithful to each of us over the years in good times and bad and now we especially need to be faithful in giving to our church and conference and look for ways to express God’s love to the needy.
So, “keep calm and carry on”, “wash your hands”, and use them to both give and help!
Donald M. Graffius,
Memorial Fund Trustees
March 30, 2020