Fourth in a series of letters to First Parish about this year’s pledge campaign and appearing as inserts in the Sunday order of service. This one is from March 10. All are being posted on: firstparish.org/campaign.
“We’re living in a period where a lot of shocking things are happening in our daily lives. It puts tremendous stress on people and on our institutions. How do we nurture spiritual communities that prepare us for resiliency, compassion and collective strength? This is a question we need to answer.”
~ UUA President Susan Frederick-Gray
Isn’t it beautiful to know that you—and every member of First Parish— is not alone in this world? We live in difficult times, but your values are raised up and magnified by all of us in Boston and beyond who are working to give life to our Seven Principles. We do this through the UUA Annual Program Fund, which is the epitome of Reach High, Reach Wide, the theme for your 2019-2020 Annual Pledge Campaign.
I suspect some of you wonder if it’s worth paying our line item in your budget. Let me tell you why we’re deserving. We are the glue that connects you to the interdependent web of more than 1,000 churches across the country that practice Unitarian Universalism. Having a centralized resource gives us a strength, voice and depth of experience that no single church can achieve on its own. TheUUA Annual Program Fund enables organized UU faith, minister credentialing, service trips, UU publishing ventures, General Assembly and religious outreach, giving us many tentacles into the world to do good.
The UUA creation of the Love Resists Campaign is one example of how we work out in the world. By engaging UU and other supportive leaders to raise their voices against racism, xenophobia, bigotry and injustice, Love Resists is helping people of faith and conscience to expand the concept of “sanctuary” across the country, making our shared communities safer for all of us, in particular for those who are most at risk. So far, 15,000 UUs, some from First Parish, have joined in the effort.
We are always working behind the scenes for First Parish. For instance, we supported your ministerial transition a few years ago, providing an interim minister and helping the search committee to design a job description and compensation package that resulted in the hiring of Rev. Howard Dana. We assist with administrative stuff, too, like salary surveys or providing RE curriculum, or creating safe-church policies to protect congregants and staff, to name a few.
What does this cost you? We ask each congregation to contribute about 6.75% of their annual operating budget to the UUA Program Fund. As one of the largest UU churches, that comes to $64,332
for fiscal year 2019-2020 for First Parish. We thank you for your past contributions, which I’d like to acknowledge have been a struggle for you to make in the last 15 years. It humbles us to see how steadfastly you’ve increased your contribution in recent years to, currently, 68% of what we need. We appreciate your trust in our shared mission and your covenant with our wider faith.
We look forward to celebrating once First Parish in Concord joins the UUA’s Honor Roll for contributing 100% of its request to the UUA Annual Program Fund. Wishing you the best of luck in raising enough pledges to allow us all to reach high and wide.
UUA Annual Fund