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"We feel strongly that the world needs the loving, forward-looking
and rational message of Unitarian Universalism," said Jan and Stu Sendell of
Morristown, NJ, when asked why two Unitarian Universalist (UU) organizations are
named to receive financial support from their estates after they die.
Like many UUs, the Sendells hope for a time when more people will
find supportive spiritual homes within our denomination. They also dream of a
time when UUs will give back generously to our cherished liberal religion to
help it grow and flourish. Jan and Stu looked to their estate plans to help this
dream of a vibrant Unitarian Universalist future become a reality.
Though only in their late fifties, the Sendells wanted to prepare
carefully for their retirement years and provide for the needs of their family.
It was also important, they felt, for their estate plans to be representative of
their values as Unitarian Universalists. For them, the estate planning process
has been a time of reflection - a chance to acknowledge the people, places and
ideas that have had the greatest impact on their lives. With three grown
daughters and several grandchildren, Jan and Stu decided to create an estate
plan that would assist these loved ones and support the organizations for which
they care deeply.
To meet these goals, they have divided their combined life estates
into four equal shares: one share to each daughter, and the fourth split between
the Morristown Unitarian Fellowship in their hometown and the Unitarian
Universalist Association (UUA).
"The UU movement is our fourth child," they explain, "and we want
it to be all that it can be." Their words echo those of many others who value
their UU home congregations and fellowships not only for themselves and their
immediate families, but also for the difference they make in the community at
"The Morristown Unitarian Fellowship and the Central Unitarian
Church in Paramus, NJ, before it, played a vital role in the formation of our
values and the values of our children. [These congregations] also provided
needed havens for community groups that weren't welcome anywhere else. Both
housed gay and lesbian support groups over 30 years ago, and they continue to
this day to be in relationship with those organizations."
Many of us find our primary spiritual homes in a particular
fellowship or congregation, but Unitarian Universalism extends far beyond the
doors of any single church or UU gathering. The Sendells feel a commitment to
this larger movement, too. "The UUA, in our opinion, has the opportunity and the
responsibility to nurture existing congregations, ministers, and lay leaders,
and to grow our religious movement and expand its impact on society." To help
the UUA fulfill this mission, they have designated the UUA's share of their
generous bequest to add financial resources to a permanent Properties, Loans and
Grants Fund. Administered by the Association, this fund assists congregations
with capital building projects, be it the first building a congregation calls
home or the expansion of existing facilities for a growing congregation.
Theirs is a gift of great vision, expressing their belief that the
UUA - at its best - is a resource from which congregations at every stage of
development may draw strength.
Jan and Stu are members of the UUA Legacy Society which recognizes
and thanks those who have included a charitable gift to the Association in their
estate plans - a gift by will or trust, life insurance benefits, IRA benefits,
and the like. Each of the more than 300 gift provisions represented in the UUA
Legacy Society, including the Sendells', is a unique statement of hope for the
future of our liberal religion and its treasured principles.
For more information contact giftplansatuuadotorg.
This work is made possible by the generosity of individual donors and congregations.
Please consider making a donation today.
Last updated on Thursday, September 8, 2011.
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