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planned giving & trust se r vices It is Sabbath morning on an unusually warm day in May. The sun shines brightly through the tall, rectangular windows of the sanctuary, illuminating the brilliant cotton-white walls, cathedral ceilings, and hues of spruce and hickory of the sanctuary. It is an inviting, joyful space, which immediately lifts the mood of churchgoers as they trickle in for the main service. She Made A Difference This is the vision that Muriel Weekes had for her church. She wanted people to walk into Apple Creek Seventh-day Adventist Church in Markham, Ont., and feel uplifted and cheerful. She wanted her church, the house of the Lord, to be inviting, warm, and hospitable—much like Muriel Weekes, herself, was. To everyone who knew her, she was a woman with a big heart and an open home. She spent her entire life caring for others, in her lifelong career as a nurse as well as in her personal life. Well into her 80s, after she had moved from her home and into an assisted-living facility, she could be counted on to welcome friends and strangers alike in for a glass of her favourite beverage, “Mauby,” a recipe that travelled with her from her native Barbados to England and then to Canada. Muriel was home-proud and loved being hostess: no matter the place she called home, it was sure to be neat, clean, and inviting, greeting her guests with the smells of goodies baking in the oven and feasts bubbling on the stovetop. Muriel’s attitude of sharing, giving, and hospitality extended far beyond her home into her church and community roles. For many of her 20-plus years as a member at Apple Creek Seventh-day Adventist Church, she served as a deaconess, a “prayer warrior,” a choir member, and a volunteer at the Adventist Community Services Centre. Also, during these years she continuously and generously supported the church building by improving or providing for the physical needs of the church. She believed that God’s house should not—and would not—be neglected and that it should be a place where people feel welcome and comfortable. This was so important to Muriel that she contacted the Ontario Conference and, through its Planned Giving and Trust Services department, arranged to leave what little funds she had to the church she loved. True to her humble and giving nature, she told no one of her planned gift. After her passing, as her family and friends mourned their great loss, Muriel surprised everyone yet again with the greatness of her love, hospitality, and support—with a bequest of $15,000 left to Apple Creek Seventh-day Adventist Church for the improvement of the church building itself, in the way of new blinds for the sanctuary windows and an upgrade to the reception area. Muriel may not have been a woman with much money, but she was a woman with a huge heart, and she wanted more than anything to share what she had with her family, friends, church, and community. It is a bright morning in May. Churchgoers trickle into the sanctuary of the Apple Creek Seventh-day Adventist Church, and the memory of Muriel Weekes shines brightly through the open blinds and into the welcoming house of the Lord they are proud to call their church. n Leah Keys writes from Courtice, Ontario. M J u ly 201 5 11