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planned giving & trust se r vices “An Entering Wed g e . . . ” CORA WAS NOT RAISED ADVENTIST ; however, she became a dear friend of the Adventist Church in her advanced years. This friendship was eventually revealed with an unusual gift. Cora was raised Catholic alongside her six siblings and countless cousins in a western Ontario town that was home to many other immigrant Catholic families like her own. When Cora grew up, she married Bart, a friend of the family with a similar background. They worked hard, invested wisely, and provided a very comfortable life for themselves and their four children, which included ample savings for their retirement. After their children left home to start their own families, Cora and Bart travelled. They loved cruises to the Caribbean, particularly St. Maarten and St. Thomas, where Cora frequented the jewelry shops. There she purchased many finished pieces and loose stones that she had set into ornate brooches, earrings, and pendants by her jeweller at home. This became a hobby for Cora, and she eventually acquired a sizeable collection of high- quality jewelry. Cora also loved to cook, and she loved to eat. All her life Cora struggled with her weight. She wanted to do something about it—something lasting—and her interest was piqued when the local Adventist church advertised health seminars and cooking classes. Cora figured, What have I got to lose, except weight? and began attending, at first occasionally and then—as she learned more, felt better, and saw results—faithfully. Cora heard more than just a health message at these seminars and classes; she felt a spiritual calling. At times, she tried to share what she learned with her family but was met with resistance and disapproval, particularly from her brother and youngest son, both of whom were priests. The pressure to remain Catholic was strong and Cora relented. She did, however, continue to attend meetings at the Adventist church and occasionally services as well. At her request, the health ministry leader visited her many times after the courses were over. Her friendship with this church endured to the final days of her life. Shortly after her passing, the pastor was notified by an estate executor that a woman who was not a church member had left a jewelry bequest in her will to his church. The church board asked the conference to help with this unusual gift. Several months later a box of jewelry arrived at the conference’s Planned Giving Director’s office, along with a letter from the executor and a copy of the page of the Cora’s will stating that it was to be left specifically to the local Adventist church “to be sold and the proceeds used for their own use absolutely.” 1 Two qualified appraisers determined the fair market value of each piece, 2 and then the church treasurer issued a charitable tax receipt. 3 Three estate jewellers were then contacted for advice: as a result, some pieces were placed on consignment, and the remainder was auctioned. After all of Cora’s jewelry was sold, the church received $16,500. When the board learned about Cora’s relationship with the church, they voted to allocate all $16,500 to their health ministry department. A recognition event was held for Cora’s family and close friends, during which an overview of the health ministry programs was presented and a plaque expressing appreciation for Cora’s gift was given to her family. Ellen White says, “When properly conducted, the health work is an entering wedge, making a way for other truths to reach the heart.” 4 In this regard, health work is the right arm of evangelism. n Frances Chant, a retired planned giving director, and Leah Keys who writes from Newcastle, Ontario. 1 This type of gift is “unrestricted,” meaning that the church board had complete control over how to use the proceeds once the jewelry was sold. Canada Revenue Agency strongly recommends a third-party appraisal when the value of the gift is expected to exceed $1,000. 3 The charity is required to ensure that the fair market value is documented. Without a fair market value, a charity cannot issue a charitable tax receipt. 4 Testimonies for the Church (Mountain View, CA: Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1948), 6:327. 2 M S e pte mb er 20 15 13