The Future of Seedling
The past few years have seen changes in the United Methodist denomination as well as church itself. When Seedling (formerly known as the Loan Fund) was founded over 100 years ago, churches were building new sanctuaries or adding on to their existing church to accommodate the growth of their congregations. As we see membership decrease, the need for building new sanctuaries or adding on to existing buildings is not there. As we are now regulated by the PA Department of Banking, we must make new loans in order to be compliant. Considering these changes and the decreased need for loans, Annual Conference voted on June 3, 2022 to wind up Seedling Financial Ministry over the next few years.
This is not the end of our story! After the wind up is completed, Seedling will provide CF&A the “seed money” to start a new ministry that better reflects the needs of churches. Through the years we have helped hundreds of churches grow their ministry and you can be proud of the ministry you have partnered with.
Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Seedling's Proposed Wind-Up Plan
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is Seedling Proposing a Wind-Up Plan?
As we look forward to seeing the viability of Seedling Financial Ministry, we see uncertainty as to the volume of new construction and additions to existing structures for many churches due to Covid and other issues impacting in-person attendance at Church Services as well as other meetings and activities.
As membership decreases, so does the need for loans. Our mission states that we extend loans to churches. but our last new loan closed in January 2020. If we are unable to make new loans and replace maturing loans in the future, we could experience a significant reduction in our cash flow available to pay principal and interest on our outstanding investment certificates when due.
Additionally, if we continue down this path, we may be subject to increased scrutiny from our securities regulator. Under the current circumstances, we believe that the timing is right to wind up this ministry over the next few years.
The Board of Trustees, CF&A, Seedling’s Board of Directors, and Cabinet have reviewed and considered all of the relevant information and deem it advisable and in the best interests of the Conference that now is the time for Seedling to wind up and terminate its operations.
Seedling is currently in a financial position to be able to pay our investors at maturity without having to have church’s payoff their loans immediately. This is a win-win situation in that our investors will receive their funds and our churches can continue making regular payments to their loans.
What is the Time Frame for Winding Up?
Since the proposal was approved at Annual Conference on June 3, 2022, the plan will go into effect immediately. We expect that the majority of the investments will be paid out by December 31, 2024, with only the longest-term investments remaining. The last investments to mature will redeem in 2027.
What is the Benefit to Seedling Winding Up?
We view this as refocus on mission. After repayment in full of all of Seedling’s outstanding investment certificates, and all current loans have been paid back in full, the entire capital account of Seedling will be available to the Conference in which CF&A will oversee and recommend usage for available monies to support existing and/or new ministry opportunities.
We anticipate the value to be more than $8 million. If that’s the case, Seedling will be able to provide the “seed monies” to fund existing ministries and/or start new mission opportunities.