Enhanced services to Nazarene churches a centerpiece of the deal

Dr. Craig A. Dunn, Chief Executive Officer of the Wesleyan Investment Foundation (WIF), The Wesleyan Church, headquartered in Fishers, Indiana, USA (www.wifonline.com) and Dr. Marilyn J. McCool, General Treasurer of the Church of the Nazarene (www.nazarene.org) in Lenexa, Kansas, USA, signed an agreement completing the sale of the Nazarene USA Church Loan Fund (UCLF) to the Wesleyan Investment Foundation. The transaction of nearly $30 million is effective June 1, 2011, and all current and archived loan files will be transferred to WIF on June 9, 2011.

This historic partnership was unanimously approved by the USA National Board and General Board of the Church of the Nazarene and the WIF Board of Directors in February 2011. WIF CEO Dunn discussed the impact of the transaction on investors and churches in The Wesleyan Church. Read the full article.

“This will greatly expand the opportunities for church loans to Nazarene congregations,” according to Dr. McCool. “Future origination and servicing of Nazarene church loans by the Wesleyan Investment  Foundation will greatly benefit our local churches and districts by providing loan options well above the current $400,000 ceiling,” she said.

“We will not only be able to increase the church loan limits into the multi-million dollar range but expand loan service options and provide savings accounts to Nazarene churches and individuals,” Dr. Dunn noted.

The Wesleyan Investment Foundation was started in 1946 to serve the needs of churches that could not obtain loans from local banks because they were too new (church plants) or due to a lack of understanding by banks as to how churches are financed.

Dr. Dunn identified the mission of WIF as providing loans to churches, giving them the “tools” to reach their communities for Christ and transform lives for the Kingdom. The Wesleyan Investment Foundation was seeking to expand with an asset acquisition to increase its ministry to local churches. According to the Wesleyan Investment Foundation CEO, the purchase of the loan fund portfolio will increase the WIF portfolio of loans by about 10%. The 55-year old Nazarene USA Church Loan Fund was completely self-funded with no liabilities.

The idea was first discussed within the Board of General Superintendents and Senior Leadership Team at the Church of the Nazarene Global Ministry Center in February 2011. An informal meeting with WIF CEO Dunn followed the General Board meeting in Louisville, KY. Both denominations recognize the leading of God in this transaction.

Speaking on behalf of The Wesleyan Church, General Superintendent Dr. Jo Anne Lyon said, “This transaction between WIF and UCLF represents both the spirit of Jesus’ prayer for unity in the body of Christ and a defined action that increases the services available to the denomination. Jesus’ prayer also contains a promise for obedience, ‘. . . one that the world will believe.’ This is an enormous promise to both The Wesleyan Church and the Church of the Nazarene and we are honored to follow the instruction of our Lord in such ventures.”

Dr. J. K. Warrick, Church of the Nazarene Board of General Superintendents chair, affirmed the new working relationship, “This is an example of how we can better serve our Lord and His church when we are open to the leading of God’s Holy Spirit, as He brings us together for message and mission.

“It marks a new day of cooperation among the holiness denominations and, particularly, The Wesleyan Church and the Church of the Nazarene. As stewards of God’s message of reconciliation, God’s mission, and God’s resources we can do no less. We are pleased with this new level of partnership and look for other ways to join hands and hearts as we serve our Lord.”

Additionally, Dr. Warrick underscored the vision of those who founded the Nazarene USA Church Loan Fund: “The BGS is grateful to Nazarenes who, nearly six decades ago, established this as a ministry to local churches.”

“We also express appreciation to those whose participation helped it grow. This vision created the opportunity to partner with WIF, an organization sharing our mission to serve the local church,” Warrick added.

According to Mark Wessels, administrator of the Nazarene USA Church Loan Fund, communications  from both organizations will be sent to all local Nazarene churches affected by this sale to insure a seamless transition.

The 2009 General Assembly of the Church of the Nazarene meeting in Orlando, Florida, voted to give the Board of General Superintendents authority and responsibility toexplore closer working relationships with like-minded churches in the Wesleyan-holiness tradition. Likewise, the General Board of The Wesleyan Church approved at its May 2010 meeting a resolution aimed at greater cooperation with the Church of the Nazarene and other “like-minded” holiness bodies.

For more information on this historic agreement, please contact WIF at info@wifonline.com or visit www.wifonline.com

Pictured, left to right: Mark Wessels, Dr. Craig A. Dunn, Dr. Marilyn J. McCool, and Dr. J.K. Warrick.