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QDo I really need an estate plan? Aren’t they just for people with a lot of money?

AEveryone needs an estate plan. Many people believe that estate plans are only for the wealthy and underestimate what their own estate is worth. But when people add up the value of their insurance policies, retirement plans, and their home, they begin to realize that even a modest middle-class estate can be worth half a million dollars—and sometimes much more.

If you do not have an estate plan, the state will determine the guardianship of minor children and the recipients of your assets. Unfortunately the state does not take into account your personal values, Christian commitment, goals, family situation, or needs. An estate plan allows you to decide who will become the next steward of the resources God has entrusted to you.

Another thing to keep in mind is that many people who have supported Christian organizations throughout their lifetimes want to make sure that part of their estate goes to support Christian causes at their death. Rather than allowing their death to cause their charitable giving to stop, they use it as an opportunity to make one of their largest charitable gifts ever.

—Mike BuwaldaMike Buwalda is a stewardship educationconsultant for Barnabas Foundation (


QIn early copies of the gray Psalter Hymnal, the form for the ordination of deacons does not have the sentence “Respect their need for dignity; hold in trust all sensitive matters confided to you” after the sentence “Be compassionate to the needy.” When was this important line added?

AIn its report to Synod 1986, the chaplain committee observed that not only its chaplains but all pastors and congregations are faced with the possibility of legal actions against them in view of the litigious mind-set of Western society. Synod responded by appointing “a committee to study the legal and ecclesiastical ramifications of receiving confidential information by all those who serve the church in an official capacity, with a view to providing advice and guidelines” (Acts of Synod 1986, p. 719). One of the recommendations adopted when the committee reported in 1988 (Agenda for Synod 1988, pp. 317-343) was “that synod instruct the worship committee to revise the forms for ordination of ministers, elders, deacons, and evangelists (now called ministry associates) so as to include statements of their agreement to hold inviolate all confidential communications received by them in the performance of their duties”

(Acts of Synod 1988, p. 535). Congregations that have early copies of the gray Psalter can find the modified forms on the denominational website:

—George Vander WeitGeorge Vander Weit is pastor of Fuller Avenue Christian Reformed Church, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Creation Care

QDoes composting make enough

difference to the environment to be worth the trouble and smell?

A Studies show that 40 to 50 percent of household garbage is compostable. So, yes, it’s definitely worth the effort as far as reducing solid waste goes. Also, you will never have to buy fertilizer again.

Composting is as easy as a pile in the back yard, and if done properly it should not smell like anything but rich earth. Here are a few tips to make sure your garbage is cooking right:

  • Add compost in layers, first green (nitrogen rich) and then brown (carbon rich).
  • DO add veggie and fruit scraps, hair, coffee grounds, tea bags, muffin wrappers, and lawn clippings for the green layer; sawdust, dried grass and leaves, dried flowers, shredded newspaper, and dryer lint for the brown layer.
  • DO NOT add dishwater, grease, cooked food scraps, kitty litter, barbecue ashes, or weed seeds.
  • Add enough water to keep it moist (like a wrung out sponge).
  • Mixing it (with a pick or shovel) will make it compost faster and smell less.

Easy Compost Recipe  

Adapted by Houston Recycling Committee from The Garbage Book. Serves: garden, grass, indoor plants. Cook time: a few weeks.

Old garbage can or oil drum

Something to make holes

Green waste

Brown waste

Punch holes in the sides and bottom of garbage can or drum. (This gives the needed ventilation.) Add thin layers of alternating green and brown waste until the can is full. Moisten and keep covered. Your compost should be ready in a few weeks (when it is a dark rich color).

Place several cone-shaped piles of compost on boards or plastic and leave it to dry in the sun for an hour or two. Place worms from the bottom of the pile back into the soil or new compost pile.

Take remaining compost and sprinkle a thin layer directly on lawn or garden as fertilizer and soil conditioner. Steep a cloth bag full of compost in water overnight to create liquid fertilizer for your indoor plants. Never use pure compost as soil. It is too rich in nutrients.

It’s that easy!

—Cindy Verbeek

Cindy Verbeek is the church and community group liaison for A Rocha Canada—Christians in Conservation ( and a member of Houston CRC, British Columbia.

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