“I wish I could have gone to them all!”

This was the resounding sentiment from the attendees of the United Methodist Foundation of West Ohio’s inaugural Generosity Summit held Sept. 11-12 at Deer Creek State Park. The 65 attendees from around the Connection gathered for the two-day event and agreed that what they really wanted was more: more time at the event and more chances to see every speaker.

“We’re delighted at the response we have received from attendees,” said Executive Director, Susan Black. “We put together what we felt was a very strong program, and our attendees enthusiastically participated in every session! We’re grateful to our speakers and sponsors for sharing their expertise.”

The event featured 11 sessions over a two-day period on topics related to the Foundation’s Generosity Abounds! stewardship curriculum. After hearing from keynote speaker Rev. Dr. Ken Sloane of UMC Discipleship Ministries on the state of stewardship in the church today, attendees learned about culturally appropriate stewardship, clergy finance best practices, inspiring generous giving, navigating campaigns in the local church, congregational financial literacy, legacy giving, stewardship in the extraordinary church, and maximizing church endowments. The event featured speakers from three other United Methodist Foundations as well as West Ohio clergy, Wespath representative Karen Manczko, and Horizons Stewardship CEO Joe Park.

Tuesday closed with a Celebration Luncheon attended by 100 guests including many of the Generosity Summit attendees. After a welcome from Susan Black and greetings from UMFWO Board Chair Eric Rice, guests were treated to a rousing and inspiring message from Bishop Palmer about the ministry of generosity before celebrating four award recipients. It has been over five years since this previously annual event was held.

Barb and John Fillion of Hyde Park Community UMC received the Norm K. Quick Heart for Giving Award for their years of service to their church and community, including Barb’s terms of office on the Council on Development and Foundation. Richard LeGrande received the inaugural Lasting Legacy Award for his planned gifts through the Foundation that will benefit Otterbein University and Otterbein Homes. Tom Hofmann received the inaugural Bishop’s Award for Philanthropic Leadership for his decades of services to the Conference including leadership of the Light the Way Campaign and Connectional Table.

The event will be held again in September 2025. The Foundation will provide quarterly educational sessions online and around the Conference in 2024. More information will be forthcoming.

Written by Susan Black, Executive Director of the United Methodist Foundation of West Ohio