Florida Baptist Retired Shepherd’s Fund Established following sale of Retirement Center

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Jacksonville, Florida – March 11th, 2022 – During the annual Board of Trustees meeting on March 10th-11th, President & CEO Rick Wheeler announced the completion of the sale of the Florida Baptist Retirement Center to KR Management and the founding of the Florida Baptist Retired Shepherd’s Fund through Mission Dignity.

Originally, the FBRC was established to aid and care for the aging and those who had served the Lord in ministry. While Florida Baptists have been privileged to serve retirees at the Vero Beach location since the early 1960s, the increased regulatory environment and complexities of leading a broad-scope retirement community during a global pandemic led to the decision to sell the center to a company who had more scale and capabilities in the retirement center space. “Once we prayerfully made the decision to sell, we began looking for the right partner to continue the ministry in Vero and the Lord answered our prayer.”  Wheeler went on to say that repositioning these funds honors the original intent of the retirement center was to provide assistance to retiring Florida Baptist pastors who have faithfully served the Lord. The solution: The Florida Baptist Retired Shepherd’s Fund.

Most of the resources used to start the Retired Shepherd’s Fund originated from the sale of the Florida Baptist Retirement Center. Joined by Dr. Tommy Green, Executive Director of the Florida Baptist Convention along with Dr. Hance Dilbeck and Aaron Meraz from Guidestone’s Mission Dignity. Wheeler signed the fund agreement document to launch the fund which will benefit retired Florida Baptist ministers who have demonstrated a financial need.  The newly created Florida Baptist Retired Shepherd’s Fund will supply a “13th check” to all Florida Baptist retirees and their spouses who receive assistance from Mission Dignity.  Wheeler stated that he estimates that the fund will “distribute over $2.5 Million to retired Florida Baptist pastors and their widows over the next ten years.”  Commenting on the establishment of the fund, Guidestone’s President Dr. Hance Dilbeck stated, “We want Florida Baptists to know that this is very significant for Mission Dignity, and it sets a high bar for Southern Baptists across the US to emulate.”

Shepherd's Fund, Rick Wheeler, Tommy GreenIn a recent interview, Mission Dignity recipient and retired Florida Baptist pastor Dale Johnson along with his wife Janelle stated “We appreciate the gift that the Florida Baptist Foundation is giving to Mission Dignity.  It really meets a tremendous need. The small churches we served in did well to pay us a salary…and to have people that love the Lord and understand what we were doing and to meet these needs now in our lives, we are so appreciative.”

During the announcement, Florida Baptist Retirement Center Board Chairman, Albert Byrd prayed over the KR Management executive team and for their future endeavors.  KR Management President Ryan Rockefeller expressed their excitement in owning the center. “From the day, we walked on the campus, we knew there was something special about this location” Rockefeller commented. Rockefeller went on to announce that the new name of the center will be Hidden Lakes Senior Living Community.

The sale was also recognized and featured at the Board Fellowship Dinner which included key executives from KR Management of Largo, Florida, the buyers of the property who currently own and/or operate fourteen senior living centers across Florida.

To participate in giving to the Florida Baptist Retired Shepherd’s Fund, you can reach out to Florida Baptist Financial Services at (904) 345-3222 or email us at rwheeler@floridabaptist.org

For more information on assistance provided by Mission Dignity for retired ministers, please go to: https://www.guidestone.org/Mission-Dignity

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