Minister’s Column March 2020

Dear Ones:

I’d like to share some thoughts about raising MONEY at UUS:E!

First, our annual appeal kicks off on March 1st. Those of you who’ve been around UUS:E for more than a year know how this works. Sign up for a pledging pot luck. If you can’t, please expect an annual appeal steward to contact you for a one-on-one meeting. Please get back to them in a timely fashion. They want to know why and how UUS:E matters in your life!

The cost of operating a nearly 300-member congregation never seems to decline. It only seems to rise. So, as always, we’re asking for increases in financial pledging for the next fiscal year. What drives our projected increases? The Policy Board has set a number of important goals: matching our staff compensation and benefits to UUA guidelines; supporting initiatives to enhance building security; paying dues to the Greater Hartford Interfaith Action Alliance, and providing sustainable funding for our Membership Coordinator (we hope to rehire this position over the summer).

But making a generous pledge for the coming year is not just about reaching these short-term goals. It’s also an ongoing investment in our spiritual home. Indeed, your investment ensures there will be a home for liberal religion east of the Connecticut River for many years to come—a home for the free and responsible search for truth and meaning; a home for our children to develop their religious identities; a home for beautiful music and compelling visual art; a home for the growth of heart, mind, soul, and relationships; a home that sends us forth to work for justice and equity in the wider community. Our theme for this year’s annual appeal is “Building Beloved Community Through Generosity.” Please plan to make as generous a pledge possible for all we do to build beloved community at UUS:E.

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Second, as some of you are aware, our congregation, like many congregations around the country, is regularly harassed by scammers. They typically pose as me or our president, Rob Stolzman. Using fake email addresses, they send requests for gift cards to UUS:E members and friends. Please ignore these messages. And please know that we will never ask anyone at UUS:E for any kind of donation in this way.

Third, thanks to everyone who participated in February’s sixth annual UUS:E Chocolate Auction. Thanks to the bakers and the bidders. We had everything from good old-fashioned chocolate cake, to chocolate meringue pie, to black bean chocolate brownies and much, much more. The auction earned just under $1300 for UUS:E.

Finally, speaking of fundraisers, the UUS:E policy board is looking to develop our fundraising efforts over the next year. We’re about to put together a team to manage the UUS:E virtual tag sale on eBay. If you’d like to be part of that team, let me know. We’re also in the early planning stages for a vendor-based fair, the “All Creatures Great and Small Festival.” This is a day-long event scheduled for September 26th. It will showcase animal-related services: medical, training, adoption, therapy, etc. There will be live-animal demonstrations, crafts for sale, an art show, raffle and much more. We need volunteers for publicity, set-up, clean-up, parking, managing finances, food prep, and foodservice. We need you! Contact our office at uuseoffice@uuse.org to get involved.

There’s still more. Want to cook a gourmet meal for the UUS:E community to have a night out at Chez UU? Want to work on a team exploring how to rent out our kitchen to local food vendors for off-hours food prep? Contact me.

That’s it for now. Enjoy the end of winter and beginning of spring!

With love,
—Rev. Josh