In the Indenture of Trust that created The Duke Endowment, James B. Duke supported the building and maintenance of United Methodist Churches in North Carolina, doing so in the belief that they would be catalysts for strong congregations.
He also recognized that the building alone is not what is meant by “church.” The people are the heart of the church, and are the driving force behind building discipleship and strengthening communities.
When churches are low on financial resources, they cannot meet the goal of being vibrant, vital touchstones for the community in the future.
Across the state of North Carolina, many United Methodist Churches are struggling to maintain a healthy membership level. Accordingly, they struggle to fulfill their missions, holding fewer expressions of faith, such as baptisms and weddings, and deferring necessary maintenance to church buildings.
Many of these churches find themselves in financial peril. They rely on increasingly large donations from aging members and depend on unsustainable levels of support from their district or conference.