Thanks for responding so enthusiastically to the kick-off for our annual canvass last Sunday. While I’m not reluctant to talk openly about our financial needs I am careful; too much money talk can make you want to switch channels!
I’m convinced, however, that one of the reasons we have so many folks who give below the average needed to balance our budget is a simple lack of understanding of the needs.
Some give a small amount, but it’s truly all they can afford – those on a fixed income, for example. No one tells you how much money you ought to give – we need to have an average pledge of about $1,700a year to keep the ship afloat. Fortunately there are some who are able to give more than that amount –some considerably more.
But we need those at the $300 to $500 level to double or triple their annual pledge – if they can afford to do so; and there are many who can.
That’s why I asked the staff to stand at the front of the sanctuary on Sunday and to introduce themselves,saying what they do, how long they’ve been working here and how they feel about it. They stood in order of their longevity, beginning with our Minister of Music, Ed Thompson, who is in his 34th year. He’s followed by Bobby Santiago, our sexton, who has been with us for almost 20 years. Next comes Jamie Forbes who started as Director of Religious Education more than ten years ago, and for the past few years has been Youth Outreach Coordinator.
For more than nine years Jan Braunle has worked in the office, as well as her work with the shawl ministry. For five years David Vita has served as our Director of Social Justice. Perry Montrose has been DRE for four years. Our Business Manager, John Carroll is completing four years. Lili Rappaport has been our Youth Program Director for two years. Nick Cundy joined the custodial staff this year to helps things run smoothly on Sunday mornings. DebraHaffner, our Endorsed Community Minister serves without salary as one of the ways she lives out her commitment to congregational life as she heads up the Religious Institute she started ten years ago. She was recently given our UUA’s Ministry to Women award.
About 80% of your annual financial pledge helps pay staff salaries, reason enough, I think, to be generous.Our Board of Trustees has taken on the task of doing the annual every-member canvass using the slogan:Called to Generosity.
The word generosity has a Latin root meaning ‘of noble birth.’ We’re reminded of Emerson’s assertion: “Who does a good deed is instantly ennobled. Who does a mean deed is by the act itself contracted.”Generosity expands one’s character. Generosity is generative – it has a spiritual quality. Because of the generosity of so many members and friends we’ve managed to navigate some rather treacherous financial waters. No matter what the amount, filling out your pledge card within the next few days is itself an act of generosity extended toward those who have taken on the task of keeping the ship afloat.
The staff joins me in extending our appreciation – thank you for your generosity.