Dear Member and Friend,
This is the time of the year when we as members of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Reading make a commitment of our time, our talent and our treasure to the Annual Budget Drive. As is our tradition, each of us is asked to reflect on the meaning of this church and this in turn causes us to ask how we will find the time and resources to once again support our beloved congregation. Each year we step up as individuals and as a community because this congregation means so much to us. To stir our thinking, we once again have a theme for this year’s Annual Budget Drive. So you may ask what the meaning of this year’s theme is: “Forward Through the Ages”
Stewardship, past and future: The answer is simple, yet not so simple. We are talking about stewardship. The stewards of a church are its caretakers, the people who take responsibility for it, nurture it, help it to grow, save it when it needs saving, and provide its sustenance. The members of the congregation whose names adorn the stained glass windows of the sanctuary and those before them were stewards. Our children and our children’s children will be the stewards of the future UUCR. The notion of stewardship has a timeless quality about it; hence, “Forward Through the Ages” is a meaningful guidepost for us.
And present: What of the present? We are the stewards this day, this month, this year. There is no one else! Our ancestors in the pews worked hard and led us to where we are now. We applaud them, we revere them, but they are no longer here. It is up to us, to us alone, to ensure that their legacy will endure. It is up to us, to us alone, to steer this precious church of ours to the best of our ability.
Our special church: Exactly how precious is this church to us? What are we willing to give and why? Of course, there are the bread and butter issues to face. We have an operating budget in the vicinity of half a million dollars and the bulk of that is paid from proceeds of this Annual Budget Drive. But saying this doesn’t capture the essence of stewardship. What must be said is that our church is not just any organization or any charity that has competing financial needs. This church is our spiritual home where we live out our values both as individuals and as a community. When we search our hearts, we realize that this church, our church, should take on our highest priority for giving.
We have so much to celebrate: We are so proud of what we have built here at the UUCR, and we, as the only stewards, want to preserve and enhance what we love to share with future generations. Please reflect on some of our greatest treasures.
- A first-class minister and the most marvelous worship services that are truly inclusive and elevating
- Enjoyable summer and evening services that appeal perhaps to our more reflective sides
- Truly beautiful and highly functional campus buildings and grounds
- A caring and highly professional staff
- A magnificent choir and music program which stirs us deeply with beautiful music
- A growing and wonderful Faith Development Program for children and youth
- An effective newcomer welcoming and orientation program, which helps to energize and grow our congregation with wonderful new members
- Meaningful and extensive social outreach programs that form partnerships in the wider community and model diversity
- An exceptionally streamlined and highly effective church organizational structure; from our visionary Governing Board to our dedicated church committees
- Superb adult enrichment activities including Chalice Circles, both men’s and women’s spirituality groups and religion or personal growth-oriented classes
- Exceptional cooperative community events that are both fun and skill building, such as the Kris Kringle Fair, the Auction, and the Spring Fling.
Please Be Generous. Remember, your generous contribution is vital to the well-being of our church, now and in the years to come. Would you really have it any other way?
Let’s Get Together. At Sunday services and on our website you will be learning more about the four major events, our social gatherings that will take place in March both at the church and in host homes. These meetings will allow us to give voice to our personal ideas of stewardship and of the special role this church plays in our lives. Please sign up and take part in an adventure of sharing, learning, fellowship and exploration of giving. The schedule is included in the recent mailing and can also be clicking on the link Pledge Drive News.
Commitment Sunday, March 17, will be the final celebration of our mutual community spirit and sharing of values at a single church service. At that time, we will have a pledge card for you. Please, please attend!
MEMBERS OF THE FY14 CANVASS COMMITTEE
George Marinakis, Co-chair Matt Wilson, Co-chair
Phil Kluge Steve Oston Dakota Raine Eric Rizzo