From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Kansas City woman leaves $4.4 million to Christian Church

From "Curt Miller"<>
Date 16 Oct 1998 13:01:14

Date: October 16, 1998
Disciples News Service
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Contact: Curt Miller
on the Web:


By Jim Cullumber
Director of Communications, Christian Church Foundation

	INDIANAPOLIS (DNS) -- Miss Mary Annette Merchant, a member of 
Community Christian Church, Kansas, City, Mo., until her death Feb. 
8, 1998, has made a bequest of $4.4 million to the Christian Church 
Foundation to support some of her favorite causes. The bequest is the 
second largest in the foundation's 37-year history.

	Miss Merchant, whose grandfather founded the former Westport Bank in 
Kansas City, belonged to Community Christian Church for nearly 60 

	"Miss Merchant has left an astounding legacy of love that will 
benefit many people and institutions for years and years to come," 
said the Rev. Robert Lee Hill, senior minister at Community Christian 
Church and a board member of the Christian Church Foundation.

	Through future interests gained from the generous Merchant gift as 
part of the Christian Church Foundation, resources will be provided 
in perpetuity for an array of Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) 

	-- The congregation of Community Christian Church

	-- The International Christian Women's Fellowship, to support 
women's activities

	-- The Black Disciples Endowment Fund for Clergy Education

	-- Week of Compassion, to support disaster relief and development 

	-- Basic Mission Finance, to help undergird the ministries of the 
whole church.

	"It's a joyful, yet finally impossible task, to begin to calculate 
how many lives Miss Merchant's gift will touch. She always liked to 
make an impact with her philanthropy as well as providing for our 
congregation's future needs," Hill said.

	"She experienced great pleasure and pride in making significant 
gifts to Community's many special and on-going ministries. Even 
though she never married and had no children to raise in her 
household, her gift now will take care of an untold number of 
children of God."

	An initial distribution of part of the principal of her gift will 
benefit the congregation and the Greater Kansas City Region of the 
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Hill recalled how Miss 
Merchant took special delight in helping the St. Andrew Christian 
Church congregation, in a capital campaign for the congregation's 
first facility.

	Miss Merchant's parents were Forrest and Patricia Merchant. "Miss 
Merchant was a homemaker her entire life, taking care of her mother 
in her retirement years. She also was an obviously good steward and 
wise investor of the legacy left to her by her family."

	Hill described Miss Merchant as a gentle and compassionate person. 
She had an avid interest in all aspects of development in Kansas 
City, current events of all kinds, the lives of children and the 
progress of the business community. "Her hopeful attitude and 
thankful posture toward life were inspirational to those who knew 
her," he said.

	Community Christian Church is finalizing plans for use of the 
Merchant gift. "It is likely that the funds provided by her 
remembrance of us will help start new programs related to our new 
Vision for the 21st Century Statement, which is ‘Worship God, Grow 
Disciples, Serve the World,'" Hill said. That statement includes 
special emphasis on ministries to and for younger families.

	The Christian Church Foundation is a general unit of the Christian 
Church (Disciples of Christ), with a stated ministry of helping 
members of the Christian Church make a difference forever in their 
favorite Disciples causes through planned giving and estate 

	The bequest to the Christian Church Foundation is half of the 
Merchant residual estate; another $4.4 million is creating a special 
endowment fund through the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation 
and Affiliated Trusts.

	Information on including the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) 
estate planning is available through the Foundation at (800) 

	-- end --

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