Stewardship involves giving our time, talent, and treasure to sustaining our church. Giving is a spiritual practice of generosity that is beneficial to the giver. We encourage every member to make a pledge of financial commitment that they can feel good about, yet is realistic. Our Unitarian Universalist faith calls us to affirm the inherent worth and dignity of every person, and we strive to welcome all who share our liberal religious values regardless of means or wealth status.
The Stewardship Committee is charged with planning and executing the stewardship campaign for the operating budget each year. During the summer the Stewardship Committee works with the board and minister to reserve key dates on the calendar for the next stewardship campaign.
Adopting a budget allows the congregation to plan staffing and other financial commitments. Our budgeting process starts in January-February when committees consider their financial needs for the next fiscal year. Budget requests are then submitted to the Finance Committee in March. The Finance Committee works to prepare a proposed budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1.
The budget drive kicks off in April with Stewardship Sunday service followed by a congregational meeting to elect new board members and present the proposed budget. Each member household is asked to make a financial commitment called a “pledge” toward funding church operations for the next year. Members and friends typically gather for potluck dinners called “Cottage Dinners” which includes a short facilitated conversation about the budget drive and stewardship. As an alternative, members can meet one-on-one with a representative from the Stewardship Committee to have a similar conversation.
Pledges are typically paid monthly although other options exist. The Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations (UUA) provides a Suggested Fair-Share Contribution Guide with four levels of increasing commitment. The guide is a simple way to determine the pledge level you are comfortable making today, and to consider possibly increasing the level in future years.
Pledge forms are available on paper and online. Completed pledge forms are typically due in late April or early May. In May, the Finance Committee and Board of Trustees work together to finalize the operating budget. At a congregational meeting in June, members vote to approve the final budget. According to our bylaws, in order to vote, a member must make a financial contribution of record during the current or preceding year, as well as participate in the life of the church.