Connections: Diane Doucet
Nov. 16, 2014
Assisting Aged Ministers
Diane Doucet will retire in March 2015 after seven years as Assemblies of God Benevolence Ministries coordinator. Part of her job has been compassionately tending to Aged Ministers Assistance needs. AMA Day is observed biannually in the AG, during May and November. Doucet, 67, recently sat down to chat with Pentecostal Evangel News Editor John W. Kennedy.
evangel: What exactly is Aged Ministers Assistance?
DIANE DOUCET: AMA is a compassion ministry started in 1934 for our elderly ordained ministers and their spouses who have given sacrificially to lay the foundation of this Fellowship, our pioneers of the faith. They have planted and nurtured small churches and, for the most part, been paid very little, and sometimes nothing at all, trusting that God will provide for them in their old age. He does, through AMA.
evangel: Who qualifies for assistance?
DOUCET: Most applicants are around 80 years of age, and most of them are widows. To qualify, they must be at least 65, or a surviving spouse must be at least 60. They must have had 10 years of active ministry with the Assemblies of God as an ordained or licensed minister before retirement. The current (monthly) income limits are $1,470 for couples and $980 for an individual. For instance, if a couple’s monthly in income is $1,000 and the AMA Committee approves their application, we would send them a $470 gift each month.
This is not a pension or retirement fund to which they contributed. Usually the only income they have is Social Security, and that is too low to provide for daily necessities.
evangel: How is this benevolence financed?
DOUCET: The AMA ministry is funded by donations from caring church members, ministers, churches and districts. Last year we dispensed over $700,000 to 300 people. Without this help, they would not have been able to put food on the table, pay utility bills, or buy the necessities we all take for granted.
evangel: Why is such assistance needed in a Fellowship that has been around for a century?
DOUCET: This ministry is still needed because when hundreds of people were planting churches there was not enough money to save for retirement. Many of these people served where no one else would go. Thankfully, today many of our pastors can afford to save for retirement.
Without the help of compassionate people, some of our pioneers would be in dire need. Since the beginning of AMA 80 years ago, 2,717 people have been blessed through the ministry.
evangel: Could you tell me an example of how AMA really made a difference?
DOUCET: One of the stories I will never forget is of a widow who died three years ago. She and her husband were evangelists. After he died, she was left with less than $200 a month from Social Security. What would have happened to her without AMA to raise her monthly income to a livable amount?
With the gifts she received from caring people through AMA, she was able to take up residence at Maranatha Village. She played music in the chapel and continued to serve God with all her heart practically until the day she died.
evangel: Does AMA help in other ways besides monthly supplements?
DOUCET: In addition to monthly assistance, we are able to help our ministers by paying for necessary helps Medicare doesn’t cover: eyeglasses for a minister who otherwise would not be able to read his Bible; a hearing aid for a minister who would otherwise sit in a corner, isolated; dental work for a minister who would suffer in pain. This assistance makes a huge difference in the lives, activities, and family participation of these people.
Editor’s note: To apply for assistance or to learn more about how to help AG aged ministers, call 417-862-2781, ext. 2184; email: email@example.com; or visit ag.org/ama.