|UMCOR receives $1.7 million bequest|
By Michelle Scott*
May 7, 2009 | NEW YORK (UMNS)
The United Methodist Committee on Relief has distributed woven mats to
displaced families in the Darfur region of Sudan. Anne Ryckman’s $1.7
million bequest will enable the relief agency to assist people around
the globe. A UMNS file photo by Paul Jeffrey.
A successful United Methodist businesswoman from Michigan has left a
$1.7 million bequest to the United Methodist Committee on Relief.
"A remarkable, independent and generous woman," is how the Rev. Cathi
Gowin described Anne Ryckman, a deceased parishioner at St. Paul's
United Methodist Church in Grand Rapids, Mich.
Ryckman, a lifetime and active member of St. Paul's, was known for
quiet acts of generosity throughout her life. The faithful United
Methodist left a generous portion of her estate to UMCOR when she died
on April 8, 2007.
"We are so blessed and humbled that Ms. Ryckman remembered UMCOR in
this way," said the Rev. Sam Dixon, the agency’s top executive. Dixon
is working closely with St. Paul's church to ensure Ryckman's wishes
are carried out.
Ryckman's will stipulates that St. Paul's approve the use of the
funds. "The church is challenged and excited by the responsibility,"
Gowin said. "I think she wanted this to be something that not only
benefits UMCOR, but also contributes to our growth as a mission church."
The gift will be used to establish a donor-directed permanent fund
for the relief agency’s work."The Ryckman Fund will provide for UMCOR's
work for many, many years to come," Dixon said. "Ms. Ryckman is
certainly leaving a legacy that will benefit many thousands of people
around the world."
Ryckman was a partner in a successful printing business in Grand
Rapids. She co-owned the business from 1943 until the death of her
partner in 1979, when she took over the company until she retired in
1985. Ryckman made numerous, always anonymous, gifts to help with the
work and ministry of St Paul's and provide support to members of her
church family in times of need.
Ryckman contributed to the life of the church in many ways. "Every
Thanksgiving she would play "Bless This House" on her violin,"
remembered Ellsworth (Wassy) Vail, who knew her for many years. He also
recalled her homemade hot fudge, which was a fixture at church ice
She was a member of United Methodist Women and active on several
church committees throughout her lifetime. Vail recounted their service
together on the building committee while the church was constructing a
new building. "She was always pushing us to do things," he said.
200 people come to worship at St. Paul's each Sunday. The two morning
services seek to meet the spiritual needs of the changing community
surrounding the church and the church's longtime members. "St Paul's
has always had a strong heart for mission," Gowin explained.
The church has found innovative ways to reach out to the community,
including an outreach called "Bus Stop Buddies." Church volunteers
stand with children at a bus stop each morning. The 45 youngsters in
the program are in kindergarten through fifth grades. Volunteers bring
mittens and scarves for any of the children who might not have them and
provide a presence to prevent bullying and protection from strangers.
*Scott is the executive secretary for communications for the United Methodist Committee on Relief.
News media contact: Linda Bloom, New York, (646) 369-3759 or email@example.com.
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