Giving in Covenant
For the majority of our congregations in the Pacific Western Region, paying the requested contributions to the UUA and the District is just assumed. These contributions are seen as what we give to fulfill our covenant as member congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Association. It is what we owe to other congregations and to ourselves. Just over seventy percent of our congregations in the Pacific Western Region are giving at the requested level. If yours is one of them, thank you. If it is not, please read on.
It is so easy to get into thinking, “Well, what is in it for us? What are we getting for the money we contribute?” This kind of thinking is pervasive in our dominant culture where we think of giving and receiving in a contractual way. We want to get our money’s worth! Although we want to invite congregations to think about this in a more covenantal way, it makes sense to answer this question. The UUA counts on this money to provide a host of resources and services that many of us just take for granted and I have listed some of them below.
A more covenantal way of thinking about our giving and receiving is that we belong to one another and that that has implications on how we are with one another. It means that we show a willingness to give according to our ability and to receive according to our need.
We live in a time when the very existence and health of many of our treasured institutions is not guaranteed. Now, more than ever, we are called to make sure that the institutions and organizations that help us live out our values are supported. Our promises to one another have never been more important. The reality of our interdependence has never been more poignant.
If you congregation is not giving at the requested level, please consider a commitment to doing so in your upcoming budget. If this is not practical, consider a plan to honor this commitment within the next three years. If you do not know your congregation’s status, please contact apf [at] uua [dot] org.
You might consider:
- Being a member congregation provides a clear identity for your congregation and numerous opportunities and resources.* It seems fair that there are also responsibilities as part of that.
- There are probably many stories in your congregation of using UUA services and resources of which you may not even be aware.
- Congregations making the requested contribution are subsidizing your congregation. This does not always mean that they have a higher level of giving or financial resources --- it often means they place a greater priority on their covenant with our association of congregations.
- The UUA awards grants to the districts based on the percentage of congregations who honor this covenantal giving.
- We need one another now more than ever and this country needs what we have to offer more than ever.
In gratitude that we belong to one another,
Rev. Jan Christian
jchristian [at] uua [dot] org
*Your contributions allow us to credential religious professionals, provide a wide variety of services to individual congregations, train lay leaders and religious professionals (through workshops, webinars, scholarships etc.), create life-span curricula (like Our Whole Lives) and other program and worship resources, support congregations and ministers during ministerial transitions, collect and disseminate best practices and templates (including one for congregational websites), support our annual General Assembly and other gatherings, enable Beacon Press, Skinner House, and UU World to reach thousands within and outside of our faith, mobilize resources during congregational emergencies and make possible our justice work in the world. A tour of www.uua.org makes the depth and breadth of our work abundantly clear. The work of our Pacific Western Region www.uua.org/pacific-western is also highlighted there.