Transforming Our Love: UCM’s Annual Budget Drive for 2020-21

Transforming Our Love

Annual Budget Drive 2020-21

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

What would you do if our beloved Church did not exist? Where would you find folks who cared about the migrant workers who support our dairy farmers, who care about the refugees who come to Vermont to start a new life, who work hard to save our environment?

Responsible stewardship helps to bring all these loving, caring people together.

The time is here to show how important UCM is to you. The time is now to ensure that UCM will continue to advocate on behalf of those in need, on behalf of our troubled environment. The time is here to act on our priorities, to act on what is most important to us. It is time to give generously during the upcoming annual budget drive. It’s time to put our money where our mouths are, so to speak.

Please, show how important our beloved community is to you. Be loving. Give generously.

If you’re feeling ready to pledge, please take a look at the Fair Share Giving Guidelines (which were mailed to all UCM members and friends last week) and arrange your one-on-one meeting with your visiting Steward before Sunday, April 5.

If you have additional questions about Stewardship or this year’s Annual Budget Drive, please read the following FAQs!

What is the Annual Budget Drive?

The Annual Budget Drive is your opportunity to participate in the holy practices of stewardship and generosity, in order to provide a foundation for the Unitarian Church of Montpelier to exist in community and enact our mission in our world. It’s during this time each year that we reach out to you, our loving community, to Pledge a financial commitment for our next fiscal year. Pledges in particular allow us to plan for our budget each year, and are the foundation of our programs’ stability and development.

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 pledge in order to ensure our Board, Executive Team, Minister, and Finance Committee will be able to confidently and responsibly plan for our Annual Budget. Our pledge totals are entered directly into the input side so we can plan for the output side – our beautiful facilities, amazing staff, and wonderful programs. While we gratefully receive all gifts, it’s the pledges we count on and use for our budgetary planning purposes. Pledgers are our foundation.

Please check out the Stewardship Brochure and Fair Share Giving Guidelines that were mailed to you at the beginning of March (or pick these up any Sunday between now and April 5, 2020 at the Stewardship Table in the Vestry) for more information, or reach out to our Stewardship Co-chairs Charlotte Root at and Joel Dennison at

What are two easy ways to submit a pledge?

  • Arrange a one-on-one visit with your Steward, who will assist you as you complete your pledge card.
  • Visit the Stewardship Table in the Vestry during Coffee Hour.

Who is supposed to pledge?

Members. Friends. Parents. Newcomers. Each one 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 recognize the value they find here.

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

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

How much should I pledge?

We ask everyone to consider making a pledge to the church that is both responsible and significant, based on each person’s own financial situation. For those who have not yet incorporated the Fair Share Guidelines, we ask you to consider the place of the church community in your life, and work toward a goal of giving for yourself that falls in these guidelines in the place that feels right to you.

We ask that everyone give until it feels good – we emphasize that this is not simply a donation to yet another charity, but a spiritual act of commitment, generosity, responsibility, gratitude, and reciprocity for all that this amazing community brings into your life.

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. For newer members and friends, we ask that you consider pledging an amount that reflects a significant commitment to this place you have chosen as your spiritual home.

Here are some resources on how to interact with the Fair Share Guidelines:

Suggested Fair Share Contribution Guide
Answers to Your Questions about the Suggested Fair Share Contribution Guide

I’m doing well – what should I pledge?

If you attend Sunday services; regularly participate in or help to organize our myriad programs and activities; if you have children in L.S.E., OWL, or High School Youth Group, and these connections are important in your life, then please consider pledging at a level that will reflect gratitude for all that the church and our church community brings into your life. We ask that you demonstrate your commitment to our UCM community through the significance of your pledge. Please use these Fair Share Guidelines to help you gauge your level of engagement and 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 please simply pledge what you think you can give to the church relatively regularly throughout the next year. Your pledge should still reflect the significance of your relationship with the church, at your financial level. Please use these Fair Share Guidelines to help you gauge your level of engagement and pledge.

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, Rev. Joan Javier-Duval. You can reach her through email at Our Lay Pastoral Ministry Team may also be available to support you through this time – Mary Jane Ohlson is our LPC Coordinator, and can be reached at

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

Pledges offer us an idea of the total amount of budgeted funds we can expect to receive during the coming fiscal year, so that we can plan our operating budget. While unmarked donations via the weekly offering are greatly appreciated and are also used to help support the church, as well as monthly Community Pouch Recipients, they are inherently unpredictable, and thus we cannot rely on them in planning our budget.

Pledge payments may be placed in the offering plate, however we do 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 highly appreciated!

Our community runs on a combination of everyone’s time and monetary contributions. We 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 with the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) possible. This stewardship drive is the only time of the year when we talk significantly more about money than other things, because we need to make sure our financial house is in order, so that we can continue to 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?

Our pledges are used to pay salaries for our wonderful staff, historic building maintenance, and seasonal costs such as heating, administrative costs, and the costs of our ministries, programming, and support for our committees and teams.

Our budget, developed by the Finance Committee based on submissions from church leaders, approved by the Board and then the full membership, details the inputs of pledge donations and outputs of amounts budgeted for each of these programmatic areas. There is a visual graphic showing the distribution of expenses according to our Mission in our brochure, and if you’re interested in seeing the short or even the full budget, please reach out to Charlotte or Joel!

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

Not specifically, in conjunction with the Budget 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. And if you get involved with the Board, Executive Team, or other committees, you’ll have even more contact with the development of our budget. However, it is not possible for us to earmark specific pledges to pay for specific things. That’s because it’s important that we stay aligned and unified in both fundraising and budget development, which is why the process is so collaborative, accounting for all of our church needs, according to our Mission.

If you’d like to make a donation outside of your pledge to a specific cause, please contact Stewardship Co-Chair, Charlotte, at

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

What if I have questions not answered here?

You can direct additional questions to our Stewardship Co-chairs Charlotte Root at and Joel Dennison at