"Impact and integrity" motivate CWS board member

"Impact and Integrity" -- that is how Church World Service board member Rev. Dr. Margaret Cowden, summarized her commitment to and enthusiastic endorsement for the mission of Church World Service.

Rev. Dr. Margaret Cowden
Rev. Dr. Margaret Cowden.

By Ronald Blaum/CWS

"Impact and Integrity" — that is how Church World Service board member Rev. Dr. Margaret Cowden, summarized her commitment to and enthusiastic endorsement for the mission of Church World Service.

Rev. Cowden joined the CWS Board in 2008 as a representative of the American Baptist Churches (ABC), USA, and is a member of the Board’s Administration and Finance Committee.

Now retired, she served for many years as Treasurer for the American Baptist Home Mission Societies. Prior to that, for 12 years she served on the Ministers’ and Missionaries’ Benefit Board, the pension board for the American Baptist Churches. As could be expected, by being deeply involved in the financial oversight for the denomination, she was well aware of the financial support that flowed from the ABC to Church World Service. "My primary awareness of the relief and development work of CWS came from serving on the American Baptist Home Mission Societies."

As we met to discuss her role on the CWS Board, Rev. Cowden was very candid in stating: "I have long been deeply appreciative of the fact that the American Baptist Churches chose to be a part of the denominational and ecumenical structure that support Church World Service. Often I would find myself watching news of tragedies such as Hurricane Katrina or the Indonesian tsunami and initially feel that there was little I could do in the face of such massive suffering. But by supporting Church World Service, I knew that I was involved with an organization that was well respected and committed to working with integrity and making a real impact around the world. From a denominational perspective, I knew that the money we provided was leveraged by being combined with the support from other groups and would have far greater impact than we would have had on our own."

Upon joining the CWS Board she said she was immediately impressed by getting to know board members and CWS staff who have given their lives in the service of others. At a recent meeting of the CWS Board, it was that passion for a lifetime of service to others that motivated Rev. Cowden to offer an impromptu message of encouragement to other board members. "Let us take our passion for service to the next level," she said. "By that I mean let us be proactive in our own estate planning and help secure the future of Church World Service by including CWS in our will or trust."

She recalled how, in her role as treasurer of the American Baptist Home Mission Societies, that she would pore over the legal documents that spelled out bequest gifts. She wondered, "What was the story behind those gifts. What made the donors decide to include the church in their estate plan? I wanted to be able to share those stories to motivate others."

The legacy of those donors made her all the more committed to make sure the funds the church received were well-managed and used wisely. "I see that same commitment to good stewardship among the staff and board of Church World Service," she said. "It is gratifying to be actively involved in its mission by serving on the board."

What is your story? What motivated you to include Church World Service in your planning? Need to speak with someone about how to leave a bequest to CWS? Give me a call at 1-800-297-1516. I’d love to hear your story.

Media Contact:
Lesley Crosson, 212-870-2676, lcrosson@churchworldservice.org
Jan Dragin, 781-925-1526, jdragin@gis.net


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