Written by Hillsboro Free Press Wednesday, 08 August 2007 04:47The New Hope (Minn.) Mennonite Brethren Church no longer gathers for Sunday worship. But before closing its doors in June, the congregation ensured the church’s historic legacy by giving away the proceeds from the sale of its property—including $500,000 to endow a “Legacy of Hope Fund” at Tabor College.
“The Legacy of Hope Fund is an outstanding investment in the future of Tabor,” said Lawrence Ressler, vice president of academics and student development. “For many years to come, students, faculty, and staff will benefit from the proceeds of this gift.”
Under the management of the Mennonite Brethren Foundation, the endowment will be used by Tabor to support the proposed Center for Scientific Research and Scholarship, where students will collaborate with faculty and staff on research projects and other scholarship activities.
“We are pleased that we can provide Tabor with an endowment which will further the continuing education of faculty and professional staff,” said Robert Suderman, moderator of the New Hope Church.
“If it assists Tabor in establishing the proposed Center for Scientific Research and Experiential Learning, that would be great.”
New Hope Church held a “farewell reunion” service in June, singing resonant hymns in the historic sanctuary and reflecting on the congregation’s history, which dates back to the beginning of the South Side Mission 97 years ago. After the last hymns were sung, the hymnals themselves were sold as keepsakes, with the proceeds being donated to Tabor’s music department.
Suderman said that although the church will no longer be meeting for regular Sunday worship, the church is not dissolving. Members have been encouraged to seek other places to identify as part of the local Body of Christ, and they will continue to maintain the “New Hope Connection” through a series of monthly get-togethers for fellowship and Bible study.
“We don’t pretend to know what the future holds, but we know that we value the relationships we have formed, and don’t want to lose them,” Suderman said.
The connection between the New Hope faithful and Tabor College will enhance the academic growth of the faculty and staff, giving students the experience they need to be ready for future educational and career opportunities.
“What’s so great about the Legacy of Hope Fund is that resources now will be available every year to support research and scholarship,” Ressler said. “The name of the fund is appropriate because it provides hope to the institution, to students, to faculty, and to staff.”