Stewardship 2018-19

Engage, Nurture, Transform!

 

Stewardship: (noun) An ethic that embodies the careful planning and management of resources considered worth caring for and preserving.

I love this definition. It really emphasizes the pastoral aspect of stewardship. We are all stewards of our world and experience, whether we are acknowledging our roles in that or not. As engaged stewards, we have choices about which communities to invest our time and precious resources in.

We are the blooming flowers planted by previous stewardship efforts. There have been groups of gracious folks before us who have imagined that one day this community would be in existence, and worked with their time and resources to make that future happen. That time is now, and we are the result. We have the responsibility to imagine a future that we believe in, and invest in it now.

That is stewardship.

If you’re feeling ready to pledge, please see this year’s brochure or go straight to our online pledge card.

If you have questions about Stewardship or this year’s Pledge Drive, please read on to see some FAQs!

FAQs:
What is the annual stewardship drive? 
What are six easy ways to submit a pledge?
Who is supposed to pledge?
I’m not really ready to become a member of this church, so why am I getting asked to make a pledge?
How much should I pledge?
I’m doing well – what should I pledge?
I have a limited income – what should I pledge?
What if I have a hardship situation that prevents me from making a financial pledge?
How is pledging different from putting cash in the offering plate?
What about the time I contribute? Do you just care about money?
Where does my pledge go?
Can I designate what I want my money to go to?
How can I change my current pledge?
What if I have questions not answered here?

What is the annual stewardship drive?

We participate in the acts of stewardship in order to provide a foundation by which we can exist in community and enact our mission in the world.

The Unitarian Church of Montpelier is financially autonomous. We have no diocese or umbrella organization to support us if we fail to meet our annual operating budget needs. We are it – we are in effect a co-op.

We, the Stewardship Committee, are joyfully preparing to engage with you all in this crucial process of understanding what stewardship means to our beloved community and how you can be a part of caring for and preserving it.

Our Stewardship Drive this year kicks off on March 10th with a dinner celebrating stewardship for our whole congregation, and wraps up on March 25th with a report to the congregation on how we’ve done on fulfilling our goals for funding the budget. During the stewardship campaign, every household in our community is asked to make a pledge – a promise – of financial support. The pledge you make and then honor in the upcoming year keeps the Unitarian Church of Montpelier thriving.

Please check out this year’s stewardship brochure and pledge card for more information or reach out to me, Charlotte, as your Stewardship Coordinator, at root.charlotte@gmail.com.

 

What are six easy ways to submit a pledge?

 

Who is supposed to pledge?

Members. Friends. Parents. Newcomers. Each of us who is connected to the Unitarian Church of Montpelier is asked and expected to make an annual financial commitment to support the livelihood of our community and the mission of our church.

In addition, pledges can be and are made throughout the year by new members and friends as they realize the value they find here.

 

I’m not really ready to become a member of this church, so why am I getting asked to make a pledge?

We are very grateful to have many non-members of the church who pledge financial support to our community. We call them friends of the church. We invite everyone who is regularly participating in church activities to make a pledge to support the continuation of those and other church activities.

 

How much should I pledge?

This is a personal decision, of course, but we do have guides available that are put out by the Unitarian Universalist Association to help you gauge your pledge.

We ask everyone to consider making a pledge that is both responsible and significant based on each person’s own financial situation. We ask that you consider your personal budget and determine an amount you can contribute to the church on a weekly or monthly basis.  We believe that our standard of giving should reflect our standard of living, and your commitment should demonstrate the importance and significance of the church community in your spiritual and intellectual life.

Most of our members are able to contribute on a regular basis, and many households already pledge at levels that reflect the Fair Share Guidelines’ Supporter-Transformer levels of giving. For those who do not, we ask you to review these guidelines and consider the place of the church community in your life, and work towards this goal over time. For newer members and friends, we ask that you consider pledging an amount that reflects a significant commitment to theplace you have chosen as your spiritual home – we emphasize that this is not simply a donation to yet another charity, but an investment in your spiritual life and the vitality of this community.

 

I’m doing well – what should I pledge?

If you attend Sunday services, are active in our programs and activities, or if you have children in R.E., OWL, or Youth Group, and these connections are important in your life, then please consider pledging at a level that will reflect all that the church and the church community brings into your life, and demonstrate your commitment back to them with the significance of your pledge.

 

I have a limited income – what should I pledge?

Please know that you are always welcome at our church. If you’re out of work, have a modest income, or are facing demands on your resources, then just pledge what you can.

 

What if I have a hardship situation that prevents me from making a financial pledge?

If you cannot make a financial pledge due to hardship, and wish to remain an active member in the Unitarian Church of Montpelier, please take some time to discuss your situation with our minister. You can reach her through email at ucm.revjoan@gmail.com.

 

How is pledging different from putting cash in the offering plate?

Pledges give us a good idea of the funds we can expect during the year so we can plan our operating budget. While cash donations via the weekly offering are greatly appreciated and are used to help support the church and the Community Pouch, they are inherently unpredictable, and thus we cannot rely on them in planning our budget.

Pledge payments may be placed in the offering plate, and we ask that they be made by check with a notation on the memo line that they are for your pledge. If you want to place cash in the offering basket toward your pledge, you can place it in an envelope with your name on it – this will provide us with the information we need to track these cash contributions.

 

What about the time I contribute? Do you just care about money?

Your volunteer efforts are hugely appreciated!

Our community runs on a combination of everyone’s time and monetary contributions. While we are moving towards a system where we can better honor and appreciate all of the hours our community members put in to keep our programs running smoothly, we also still have to have some focused time each year (usually in March) where we ask for, discuss, and honor the monetary contributions that keep our facility, staff, and membership to the UUA possible. The stewardship drive is the only time of the year we talk more about money than other things, because we need to make sure our financial house is in order so we can do more with and for our members and the community.

We could not survive without the generous donations of our members’ and friends’ time and talents. If you are eager to know more about our volunteer opportunities, committees, and other areas where your energy is needed, please read our weekly announcements or talk to Rev. Joan or any committee leaders about the options open to you.

Where does my pledge go?

If you are a member of the church, a chunk of your pledge goes to pay national and regional dues for the Unitarian Universalist Association. The rest of the pledge is used to pay salaries for our staff, building maintenance and seasonal costs such as heating, administrative costs, and the costs of ministries, programming and committees/teams.

Our budget, approved by the Board and then by the membership, details the amounts budgeted for sub-items in each of these areas, and we provide regular reports of our expenses.

 

Can I designate what I want my money to go to?

Not specifically, in conjunction with the Stewardship Drive. If you are a member of the church, you have a voice – when considering the budget – in deciding how the overall church pledge income will be used. However, it is not possible to earmark specific pledges to pay for specific things.

If you’d like to make a donation outside of your pledge to a specific cause, please contact the Stewardship Coordinator, Charlotte, at root.charlotte@gmail.com

 

 

How can I change my current pledge?

If your financial circumstances change and you want or need to change your pledge – either up or down – simply contact Church Administrator Sam Rossier and tell him what you need to do.

A pledge is a promise – it is not a contract – but letting us know of your intention if you need to change your pledge helps us anticipate our cash-flow and manage our budget.

 

What if I have questions not answered here?

You can direct additional questions to our Stewardship Coordinator Charlotte Root at root.charlotte@gmail.com.

Adapted with permission from the Unitarian Universalist Church of Columbia’s website.