It’s A Wonderful Church

by Dave Schowalter & Moira Rouse, Stewardship Team

As our 2024 pledge drive kicks off this coming Sunday, our Board of Management and Minister are heavily focused on the long term sustainability of UUCW’s finances.  In recent years, the pledge drive has essentially covered the salaries for our staff–our Minister, RE Director, Music Director, Bookkeeper and Sexton.  All the rest–employee benefits and taxes, building expenses, programs and more, which make up a little less than half of our annual budget–need to be borne by fundraising, gifts, building fees, and income from our small endowment.  This has not been achievable in recent memory.  As a result, we have been drawing down the endowment.  Luckily, outstanding performance of the endowment, thanks to the Investment Team, has minimized the impact of these circumstances, but it is unsustainable, nonetheless.

Our theme this stewardship season is “It’s a Wonderful Church,” conjuring the classic movie,”It’s a Wonderful Life.”  The movie’s main character is George Bailey, played by Jimmy Stewart, a character who may be flawed, but who has always led with his heart and his care for his community and his family business, although his unmet desire had always been to travel the world in a life of adventure.  When George comes into financial difficulties with existential implications for his family business, he wishes that he had never existed, and is then shown the results of such a world.

What is the value of UUCW and how would your personal world and our collective world be different without it?  To imagine the full impact in the distant future, take it even further and imagine what the world would be like if UUCW had never been?  This Sunday, we will be exploring that question, and even having some fun with it, but the implications of our predicament are serious.

While it may be unrealistic to expect increased pledges to cover our deficit, the pledge drive is our single largest income source, and so the results of the drive have a proportionally larger impact on our financial health.  So please take particular care this year as you consider what you can pledge for 2024-2025, and what that investment does for us and our community in the future ahead.

Thanks for all you share.

The Stewardship Team

Moira Rouse

Dave Schowalter