When Church members go to far.

Jobam

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I was at my relatives cottage last night. Haven't seen them in 3 years. We got talking about their uncle and how his last several years of life had been filled with struggles with just getting older, health issues and dementia.

He started going to a United Church in Toronto which he spoke very highly about.

During the last part of his life, members of the congregation actively sought him out to change his will leaving most everything to the their church. They did an inventory of what was in his apartment, and knew what other assets he had with no regards to his current will and/or family members. Near the end of his life, while he was in the hospital, his family got wind of what they were trying to do - 3 new versions of his will - and had to ask the hospital not to allow any church members to visit him. Sad. While the church may have been acting in their best intentions I was horrified at how aggressively they went after their uncle. There is way more to this story but at the end of the day, how does one hold people accountable (ie church) for their actions. Again, even if they thought they were acting on the person interests (and their own for that matter), do they not check to see if other family members are involved etc. Its like they are praying on the sick and elderly.
 

Northwind

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That's terrible Jobam. I'm glad the family got involved, though they sure did not need that. Have they gotten a lawyer involved?
 

ChemGal

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Ugh, I hope they were doing it with good intentions, but still I have a hard time seeing how they could think their actions were appropriate.
 

revjohn

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Fortunately it was caught wind of.

I can't imagine a situation where this kind of activity, particularly the secrecy, serves the interests of the individual being pressured.

If I was approached by a member about how they wanted to honour the Church with a bequest that would be a discussion with witnesses present.

If I heard members of my congregation were counselling individuals to change their wills I would want to know more and if I didn't like what I heard I would be involving higher courts and certainly considering police involvement.

If it was a family member being so manipulated I would certainly be wanting answers and assurances from the minister and the Official Board that this is an abberation and it will not happen again.
 

Jobam

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That's terrible Jobam. I'm glad the family got involved, though they sure did not need that. Have they gotten a lawyer involved?
The uncle fell ill before he could sign any of the changed wills. Which sadly was a good thing for the family.
 

Northwind

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The uncle fell ill before he could sign any of the changed wills. Which sadly was a good thing for the family.
Well there can be be blessings in tragedy. I'm glad to hear they didn't succeed.
 

You just never know

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Years ago the Lion's Club did this to a friend as he neared the end of his life. Unfortunately there are predatory people who do things like this. Good they did not succeed in this case.
 

KayTheCurler

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That was very poor, and to me, unacceptable behaviour Jobam. I'm so sorry a family had to deal with it. I have heard of an aggressive "Bible Thumping" style minister doing this - but not a mainstream one.

It sounds as if others in the family are closer to the situation than you and will need to decide on what moves to make. I would certainly consult a lawyer. I would like to think the entire congregation, would be informed - and a higher level of responsibility (can't recall what that might be!).
 

Waterfall

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Is it never the case that churches approach members to urge them to include the church in their will upon their death? Because I've heard otherwise.
 

Mendalla

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Is it never the case that churches approach members to urge them to include the church in their will upon their death? Because I've heard otherwise.
I have seen it done in a general way; having some kind of a "legacy program" to encourage leaving something to the church or offering a seminar on estate planning that includes topics on giving to the church or putting money in trust for the church. But never aggressively targeting specific members on their deathbed. The latter clearly crosses several lines, the former is just another form of stewardship campaign.
 

Northwind

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I have no problem with the legacy approach. When people are told about this in an educative manner, and with no pressure, it allows for people to chose to donate. It isn't forcing or guilting them if done properly. If it's one option among several for estate planning, it's fine.
 

chansen

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My wife's grandfather's church approached the family after his death, because they were in a financial bind and needed a new roof. The cost was $30,000. The family agreed to fund the new roof, ourselves included. That roof cost our family $3,333 and I was happy to pay it, because that church meant something to my wife's grandparents. We were also married there. The church is St. Michael and All Angels on St. Clair West in Toronto. If you're ever by there, admire the nice roof.

No effort was made to change the grandparent's will that we are aware. The church had done quite well by them over the years, though I'm sure that would just embolden some.




Note the nice roof.
 

Waterfall

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My wife's grandfather's church approached the family after his death, because they were in a financial bind and needed a new roof. The cost was $30,000. The family agreed to fund the new roof, ourselves included. That roof cost our family $3,333 and I was happy to pay it, because that church meant something to my wife's grandparents. We were also married there. The church is St. Michael and All Angels on St. Clair West in Toronto. If you're ever by there, admire the nice roof.

No effort was made to change the grandparent's will that we are aware. The church had done quite well by them over the years, though I'm sure that would just embolden some.




Note the nice roof.
You old softie, :love::love:
 

Mendalla

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Psst. You forgot to mention the nice roof. :whistle::D

I may leave something to the church when I go depending on where I'm at spiritually when I do my final will. Right now, though, I'm not sure what church I would leave it to given that I'm unchurched and not really racing back into one. Maybe I would do something education-focussed instead, endow a scholarship or something.
 

Waterfall

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Psst. You forgot to mention the nice roof. :whistle::D

I may leave something to the church when I go depending on where I'm at spiritually when I do my final will. Right now, though, I'm not sure what church I would leave it to given that I'm unchurched and not really racing back into one. Maybe I would do something education-focussed instead, endow a scholarship or something.
My Dad left a bursary scholarship at Huron college and stated in his will for a certain amount to be left to the Gideon Bible fund... my step mother changed the Gideon donation to be given to the salvation army instead. Que Sera.....
 

Nancy

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I'm pretty sure that I won't have much left to leave anyone! But I hope that I am contributing well to the church while I am alive. I hate to hear that the church was so pushing with your uncle, Jobam. I would rather hear that church members were kind, and helpful during a person's last stages...with visits, meals, and rides if necessary. Churches aren't perfect, are they?
 
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