The 1517 Society

In 1517 Martin Luther nailed 95 theses on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany.  That event is usually considered the beginning of the Protestant Reformation and the Lutheran Church.  Luther envisioned a church that would cherish great traditions of the past, but be “ever-reforming” for the sake of the on-going proclamation of the Gospel.

Continuing Luther’s vision, members of the 1517 Society have pride in the rich history of the Reformation and are committed to its continuation as God’s tomorrow brings with it fresh and new opportunities for worship, learning, service and outreach.

The 1517 Society consists of members and friends of Reformation Lutheran Church, Media, PA, who have included the church in their will or provided for a charitable gift annuity or other form of bequest.

The 1517 Society was established in 2002 by action of the Congregational Council in response to a recommendation from Stewardhsip Ministry and Endowment Fund trustees.  It recognizes the members and friends of Reformation who intend to provide end of life gifts for the on-going ministries of Reformation into God’s Tomorrow.

Gift Designations

Building Fund – Gifts can be designated to the “Building Today for God’s Tomorrow” renovation and expansion program to fund the project or to reduce the mortgage.

Church Endowment Fund – Gifts can be directed to the Endowment Fund.  The growth of the fund provides a small portion for emergency repairs; another small portion for start up support for creative new ministry; and a larger portion for community outreach and special benevolence opportunities.  Specifics can be found in the Endowment Ministry.

David Leibig Fund – This fund established in memory of our beloved Director of Music, David Leibig, supports young musicians who apply for the grant on a competitive basis.  A second grant is given to high school students for out-standing musical abilities.  The recipients perform a concert in May at Reformation.

Reinhard Memorial Fund – This fund was initiated by Helen Beck, a long time member of our church, in memory of her parents.  It provides a scholarship to a seminary student each year.

Any New Fund – Bequests and gifts of any amount are welcome.  However, any new endowment fund requires a minimum of $50,000.  Before taking any action to establish a new fund, please consult with the Pastor.


Outright Gifts – Gifts of cash are the most popular type of charitable gift.

Appreciated Securities – If you have held securities for at least one year, and they have increased in value, you may gift them to the church without paying Capital Gains taxes.

Matching Gifts – Your employer may have a matching gifts program.  This is an ideal way to double your gift.

Planned Gifts – These are the gifts that are arranged during your lifetime, but will benefit the church at a later date.  The various types of gifts are listed as follows:

  • Bequests A bequest is a wonderful way of remembering your church and is very simple to do.  This gift can be unspecified or can be designated for a specific account of the Endowment Fund.
  • Charitable Lead Trusts  The Donor places income-producing securities of real property into a Charitable Lead Trust for a fixed period of time.  An income is paid to the church for the term of the trust and the property returns either to the donor or a beneficiary designated by the donor.
  • Charitable Remainder Trusts   There are two types of Charitable Remainder Trusts.  A Charitable Remainder Unitrust is valued annually to determine what the payout will be for the coming year.  A Charitable Remainder Annuity Trust will make fixed payments each year.  Both these trusts can be established to pay you and or a beneficiary income for life.  These trusts are irrevocable.
  • Charitable Gift Annunities  A Charitable Gift Annuity is a simple contract between the donor and the church, which is irrevocable.  In exchange for a gift of cash or marketable securities, the church will agree to pay one of both annuitants a fixed sum regularly for their lifetime.  The rat is dependent on the age(s) of the donor(s).  If it is funded with appreciated securities, part of each payment is tax-free and the capital gain is spread over many years.
  • Life Insurance Policies  You may designate the church as owner beneficiary of a life insurance policy.  This may be done with an existing policy or by purchasing a new one and naming the church as beneficiary.

What’s Next!

If you would like to become a member of the 1517 Society please fill out an application or contact the Church Office at 610-891-0600.