“What I noted about Chet, first and foremost, was that Christ was the guide in his life,” – Joe Moser, estate planner who helped create the Chet Dyment Fund.
George Chester "Chet" Dyment spent summers in Maine, where he developed a heart for the small churches along the coast.
When Dyment died on April 11, 2016 at age 90, he had put a plan in place to create the Chet Dyment Fund to support what he called “the small Maine seaport churches that are having such a difficulty in operating due to increased costs.”
His donation of just over $1 million was announced on Nov. 13, 2016.
Dyment owned the Southshore Bearing Shop in Quincy, MA, until he retired. Dyment moved to Florida, but spent summers in Stockton Springs, ME, and attended nearby Searsport United Methodist Church.
When Dyment’s stepson told Searsport Pastor Elizabeth Bailey-Mitchell Dyment was looking for help with estate planning, she said “I know just the person.”
She introduced Dyment to Joe Moser, a member of John Street UMC in Camden, ME, an attorney and estate planner.
See a short video of the presentation featuring the area churches
The $1,029,565.28 gift is designated to support church building and congregational development in Knox, Waldo, Hancock and Washington counties in Maine.
“The phrase ‘church building’ was to be used in the active sense, not in the bricks and mortar sense,” Moser said.
In addition to the fund, Dyment made an unrestricted donation of $20,000 specifically to Searsport UMC.
Pastor Bailey-Mitchell has been serving Searsport since 2013 and got to know Dyment and his wife, Anne.
“It became clear to me that both of them were very generous people and loving people,” she said. “Just good Christian folks.”
Pastor Bailey-Mitchell helped out when Anne became ill, and officiated at her funeral service in 2014.
“I had no idea how generous Chet wanted to be with not only the Searsport church but the area churches, but I knew that it was a deep concern for him that small churches were struggling,” Pastor Bailey-Mitchell said. “It’s going to benefit so many churches; it’s really exciting.”
Bishop Sudarshana Devadhar thanked Moser on behalf of the Conference and the Maine districts for his work in creating the fund. The bishop also thanked Pastor Bailey-Mitchell.
“Elizabeth, thank you for your ministry,” he said. “Because of God’s grace and your ministry this has happened. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.”
The bishop noted that Pastor Bailey-Mitchell serves part-time; he said the heart of ministry is the formation of relationships, and those relationships are what foster this kind of generosity.
Dynent is survived by six children and 13 grandchildren; two step children and nine grandchildren. His first wife, Ilene, died in 1971.
Mid-Maine District Superintendent Karen L. Munson presented a commemorative book that will be a gift to the family. It includes photos of the churches that are in the counties outlined by the fund and their mission statements.
“I think this gift from Chet Dyment is going to be a tremendous boost in hope and confidence that somebody would love the churches that much to support them in that way,” Rev. Munson said. “It’s tremendously exciting.”
The fund is modeled on the Perry F. Rich Fund, a private trust that has distributed funds to support Maine churches for many years.
The money will be administered by the Conference Trustees, who have voted to invest the funds with the United Methodist Foundation of New England. Work is being done now on the specifics of how the funds will be used and disbursed.