Methodists/Use of Edowment Funds


My church has had an ongoing problem with its heating system that has not been repaired in the past 3 years. Whenever people complain, they basically are told that its being worked on.
I suggested that they borrow money from a Endowment fund (interest) to pay for the repairs which I am told will cost $100k to replace the boiler and all the switchgear which I am told is about 50-75 years old.
I am told they cannot do that, however I could not find anything in the 2012 Discipline one way or other on this. I consider this problem to be an emergency as every Sunday, the Sanctuary is freezing and people are staying home because of it. My question is is there any provision in the Discipline to borrow money from an Endowment fund to allow and cover this major expense. Here in NY we are just getting into the colder weather now in December so the worst is yet to come. I even have tried to joke about it and asked if anyone lit the burning bush!
Many people including myself feel the church is moving to slow to make this repair.

Dear John,

What you describe is a very difficult situation, but not one that is unfamiliar to me.  Setting priorities and meeting them is important; being willing to face the unhappy facts and using the available resources to fix the problems is also important.

"My question is is there any provision in the Discipline to borrow money from an Endowment fund to allow and cover this major expense."

The disposition of endowment funds is at the discretion of the Charge Conference.  The Charge Conference can vote to utilize funds from endowments to meet the bills of the church, and especially big-ticket items such as this.


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Rev. Gregory S. Neal


I can answer questions dealing with all issues of United Methodist Doctrine and Wesleyan-Arminian Theology. In particular I can answer questions dealing with the Sacraments and other liturgical and worship-oriented questions. I can also answer questions dealing with the form, structure, and organization of the United Methodist Church and our relationship with other denominations.


I am an ordained United Methodist Elder with more than 20 years of ministerial service experience in the local Church.

I am a Clergy Member in Full Connection and have been a member of the North Texas Conference of The United Methodist Church since 1991. I am a member of the Society of Biblical Literature and the American Academy of Religion. I am also a member of the Emmaus Community, and am currently serving as Senior Spiritual Director for the Dallas Emmaus Community. I am a member of the Order of Saint Luke in the United Methodist Church.

I have my own website:   I have written two books, "Grace Upon Grace" and "Seeking the Shepherd's Arms," both available at and in bookstores.

I have a BA in Religious Studies, History and Russian. I have an M.Div in Systematic Theology and Biblical Studies and a Ph.D in Sacramental Theology and New Testament.

Awards and Honors
Ordained Elder in the United Methodist Church
Fellow of the Society of Saint John the Evangelist

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