and some good news and some bad news," said the preacher with great gravitas. "The church needs a new roof." Whereupon there was much consternation and moaning in the congregation because as they all knew, roofs are really expensive. But, he said brightening, "There's good news! We found the money!" Whereupon there was congratulations and general celebration. "But now for the bad news. . .it's still in your pockets."
It's still in your pockets. Yes, indeed, it will soon be time for the annual "Sermon on the Amount" as the ministry profession names it. And yes, the observant among you would be right in stating I am "singing for my supper." But there is more to it than this. You need to know something of how I think about this. There is only one reason to give money to operate this community. Only one. You believe in its mission. Not because you like the minister, or seeing your friends, or worst of all to "get what you want." It's because you believe in its mission--in the reason we gather for sacred purpose. Here we express and abbreviate it this way: "We nurture hearts and minds, practice beloved community, and work for justice."
On a personal note, my wife Kathleen and I believe in this mission and in this Special Community and we will pledge--and it's not even our community. How much more will those of you do for whom UUSF is your community? Soon the annual UUSF stewardship campaign will begin. Rather than dun you for months it will be short and quick--for which I think an extra 10% pledged in gratitude for this brevity is entirely justified.
You will no doubt hear of a significant shortfall in revenue because, bless them, very generous donors have died this past year, that the continued presence of our major renter HaMakom is in doubt, that 75% of our costs go to staff salaries and benefits (which is normal across our denomination), all of which conspire in almighty fashion against a balanced budget and adequate staffing. I believe that what we do here matters and whether you donate, pledge, or engage in planned giving (or all three!), that matters too.
It's still in your pockets. Don't leave it there. It matters.
See you in church.
Lifespan Religious Educator