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Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Central Nassau, Garden City, NY

The Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Central Nassau (UUCCN) in Garden City, NY, had a tough year and almost didn't make the Fair Share payments to the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) and to the District. They struggled to pay both the UUA and Metro New York District. As they neared the end of the congregational year, their thoughts turned to all that needs attention—the boiler that needs to be replaced; the alarm system requires updating; the loss of rental income…

The Board of Trustees, Minister, and Finance Committee were of one accord: “We’ll simply have to find a way to do what we know is right. We have a lot to cover. Not just the bills, the emergencies, but also our Fair Share and Full Share payments. Taking a year off is not an option. Though we don't have much time, we have imagination, creativity, and a challenge that we can meet!”

Over the past five years UUCCN has benefited greatly from a strong relationship with the UUA and Metro New York District. They made a commitment to becoming Fair Share and Full Share because it was the right thing to do. Mindful of the many services that they have received from both the UUA and Metro New York District, they hoped against hope that they would find a way out of no way... They were determined that UUCCN would make the right decision and honor all of the commitments. All of them. UUCCN’s leadership worked hard to ensure that they did “the right thing.”

UUCCN's check was received just in time for each of attendees of General Assembly to get and proudly wear our purple ribbons indicating that UUCCN is an Annual Program Fund Honor Congregation—a Fair Share congregation. This was not only for the world to see but, more importantly, for each member of UUCCN to know that they had fulfilled their responsibilities. Being an Honor Congregation for five years in a row is a cause for celebration of years of ministry together. Through that effort there were extra appeals, generosity of some anonymous members of the congregation, a multi-generational “Stimulus Party,” a “Mile of Quarters” to which all ages contributed—each effort made a big difference. Each effort showed the spirit of generosity. Each effort mattered… There is much to be thankful for.

Yet, that led the congregation to other questions, each one difficult to answer: How on earth will we be able to take care of the rest of the bills? They had already received a Chalice Lighters grant. Will they still be able to support the sibling congregations as is not only expected, but required, in congregational polity? We have already received both the Metro New York District and the UUA Eugene Pickett Awards for Growth of Unitarian Universalism. How will they sustain this?

Rev. Hope Johnson, the minister of the congregation affirmed the congregation’s commitment to the spirit of generosity: “There is no doubt in my mind that we will cover the rest of our responsibilities—known and unknown—because we will remember that good stewards can do more than they think they can do, even, or perhaps especially, when ‘the going gets rough.’ Creativity. Dreams. Growth. Imagination. Love. Reaching in. Reaching out. Risk-Taking ... All of these, and more, will help us to realize our dreams—big, small, and in-between. We will continue to do all possible to keep our little engine humming happily as we face the many peaks and valleys that lie before us. We can do it. More importantly, we will do it…”

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Last updated on Thursday, September 8, 2011.

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