Fifty Cent Fund History

Historical Notes:  This sermon was delivered by Russell Conwell to his Grace Baptist (Temple) Church congregation in 1912. The portrait referred to in the text is the property of the current Baptist Temple congregation which is located in Blue Bell, PA. An image of the portrait can be found at the end of this sermon. The Samaritan Hospital referred to in the text is now the Temple University Hospital. The Baptist Temple building referred to in the text is  on the Temple campus and was renovated to become the University’s Performing Arts Center. The Wiatt Mite Society house referred to in the text was replaced by a new University building some time ago.

Sermon By Russell H. Conwell
Sunday Morning, December 1, 1912.

We are here to unveil this picture of Hattie May Wiatt, a little girl who died in 1886. Years have gone rapidly by, but she still speaks. We intend to put this picture in the pastor’s study, in the most prominent place, and keep it there through the years to come, that people as they pass through may ask: “What meaneth that picture?” And the story, simple and wonderful, may be told.

Little Hattie May Wiatt lived in a house near the church in which we then worshipped, at Berks and Mervine, which is now occupied by the Christian Church. It was a small church and was crowded, tickets of admission were obtained sometimes weeks in advance for every service. The Sunday school was as crowded as the rest of the congregation, and one day when I came down to the church, to attend Sabbath school, I found a number of children outside. They were greatly disturbed because they could not get in, on account of the crowd of children already in the Sunday school […]

Endowment Committee Annual Report

The Policy Manual for the Endowment Committee calls for the Committee to submit an annual report to the Church Council. Here is the report for 2015.

Funds on hand at the end of 2015 were $93,414.

During 2015, the Endowment Fund managed the funding for several activities:

Student scholarships
Mission trips
Back to School Blessing

Also during 2015, the Committee:

Sponsored a “Planned Giving” seminar which was well-attended and well-received. A followup session is planned for 2016.
Initiated an “Endowment Committee” section on the church’s website.
Publicized the “Fifty-Cent Annuity” in an effort to raise awareness and re-invigorate the campaign.

If you have questions about the Committee’s activities, talk to one of the members: Curt Floyd, Chuck Herr, Pastor Sara, Jason Jones, Greg Turk, or Randy Welch.

End of Year Final Giving

Have you ever wondered…

   Judy Blahofski & Randy Welch
…about that container in the narthex with the sign “50 Cent Annuity”?  It all started over a hundred years ago, with a little girl named Hattie May who wanted to attend Sunday School. However, the church in her Pennsylvania neighborhood was so crowded that it didn’t have room for all the children who wanted to attend.

That made Hattie very sad.  Hattie became sick and tragically died a couple of years later.  After the funeral, her mother handed the pastor a little bag that contained 57 cents.  Hattie had been saving for a contribution to give to the church for a Sunday school building.  The pastor turned the money into pennies and offered them for sale; this raised $250, and most of the buyers gave their pennies back to the church.

After years of hard work and creative fundraising, those 57 pennies grew into enough money to buy the house north of the church.  Eventually, more room was needed and the congregation was so inspired by Hattie May’s gift of 57 cents that they continued to grow and expand. Eventually Temple University, one of the largest universities in the country, evolved from that inspiration.

The 50 cent annuity fund at Chatham United Methodist Church was started by Jim Fleming in 2009 after he read about Hattie May. It was his vision that if people would drop in their spare change as they walked by, the fund would grow and eventually help the church fulfill its mission to welcome the stranger, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and visit the sick and lonely.

Since its inception, the annuity fund has raised over $7,900.  These funds are being held in the building fund and will be used for the planned renovations so we can welcome more people – like Hattie May […]