Everence purchases Church Extension Services program
Mission to be strengthened and expanded in new way
SHEN, Ind. – At their March 14, 2013, meeting, the Church Extension Services board of directors approved the sale of all Church Extension Services assets to Everence Association. The sale comes as part of an overarching plan to fully integrate Church Extension Services into Everence, the stewardship agency of Mennonite Church USA.
“The financial mission and ministry of Everence is the right fit for the denomination’s missional loan program,” explained Marty Lehman, Mennonite Church USA’s Associate Executive Director for Churchwide Operations.
Established by the General Conference Mennonite Church in 1958, Church Extension Services provided loans to congregations and initiatives that have difficulty qualifying through traditional lending institutions, such as urban, new church plants and new immigrant congregations. The fund was supported by the sale of investment securities to mission-driven investors.
Moving the Church Extension Services program to Everence began in early 2011, when the two organizations’ boards of directors were aligned. In April 2012, the core Church Extension Services functions were transferred from Newton, Kan., to the Everence headquarters in Goshen, Ind.
“One of the goals was to grow Church Extension Services into a larger program,” said Mark Regier, Everence Director of Stewardship Investing and President of Church Extension Services. “Everence is able to do that, with its national network of financial professionals. We now are able to help even more congregations and organizations.”
With the sale, however, comes a change in the way individuals can participate in the program. The mission of Church Extension Services will now be carried out through the new Everence Advantage Select High Impact Annuity. Up to 50 percent of the annuity premium dollars will be made available to provide loans to emerging and socially engaged congregations, nonprofit organizations making environmentally friendly improvements, and community development needs in underserved areas.
Church Extension Services investment certificates will be liquidated on April 12, and note holders will receive a check for the principal and accrued interest. Individuals holding a Church Extension Services certificate may continue their support of emerging congregations by purchasing the Advantage Select High Impact Annuity from Everence. Organizational certificate holders can participate in the OneWorld Community Investment Program.
“Church Extension Services has been vital to many Mennonite Church USA congregations,” said Larry Miller, Everence President and CEO and Chairman of the Church Extension Services board of directors. “We are grateful for the steadfast support over the years and hope that current Church Extension Services note holders and others will join us in this new phase of ministry.”