September 2016

September is the time when the leadership of the congregation turns attention to our annual pledge drive. In October every member and friend is asked and encouraged to make a financial pledge to support the shared ministries of our beloved congregation. It takes all of us pitching in together to keep our vibrant programs running, maintain our buildings and grounds, and continue to move towards our vision.

Money is a subject many people find difficult to talk about. There can be a lot of emotions tied up in our relationship with money. The lessons we learn about money start at a very young age … probably every single person has some story they could tell about what they learned about money from family and friends as a child.

Money and church can be an even more complicated conversation. For people raised in a faith other than Unitarian Universalism, or who were not churched at all, they may not know how we manage money in our faith tradition. Perhaps people hold assumptions that we receive money from our Unitarian Universalist Association, or from other sources, but this is not so.

Unitarian Universalists own their congregations. This means the members of the congregation, in collaboration with staff, make the big decisions about our buildings and grounds, our programs, and our staffing. We are also responsible for providing the funds for the commitments we make and the programs we create. This is a covenantal act… part of our sacred promise to do the work of the church responsibly. Most of the Unitarian Universalists I have conversations with believe that money can be used for great good in the world. Having money can certainly make many aspects of life easier, more comfortable, and less stressful. Paraphrasing songwriter Susan Werner, when they have plenty and then some, UUs are often quite generous in helping others to have plenty and then some too.

Most Unitarian Universalists I speak with enjoy being generous, especially if their generosity is directed towards something that makes an important difference in their lives … like fostering spiritual growth and nurturing connections, and making the world a more welcoming and green place. My hope is that our vision to create such a place, and our sacred covenant to do the work of the church responsibly, will inspire a new level of generosity so we can move into 2017 confident that we can meet our commitments to one another for the responsible stewardship of our sacred space and our shared ministries.

Many, many members of UUCG give generously of their time, their talents, and their treasures. Perhaps you would like to share with the congregation why you give so generously. Starting in September I’ll be asking people to share their stories of generous giving during the worship services, on posters in the building, and in other ways. Please send me an e-mail or a text if you would like to share your story of what inspires you to generously support UUCG.

With a grateful and joyful heart,
Reverend Jan

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