Minister’s Column March 2019

Dear Ones:

March begins; and so does our UUS:E Annual Appeal. This is an important moment in the life of the congregation every year. Not only do members and friends make their annual financial pledge to the congregation, but each of us also has an opportunity to reflect on the meaning and value of UUS:E in our lives. You will be able to meet with other UUS:E members and friends in peoples’ homes, break bread together, talk about what UUS:E means to you, and make your financial pledge for the coming fiscal year. Those of you who cannot participate in any of the ‘pledging potlucks’ will be able to meet with an Annual Appeal steward in a one-on-one meeting.

As is the case every year, operating costs continue to increase. However, this year the Policy Board has set some ambitious Annual Appeal goals in relation to our staff. You might say “Staffing for Growth” is our overarching goal. First, we have created a new staff position, the Membership Coordinator. After a number of years of discernment, we have identified this position as critical to helping us grow UUS:E in a variety of ways, including overall number of members, depth of connections within the congregation, and growth of participation in congregational programs. In the current year’s budget we have funded the Membership Coordinator for half a year. Now we need to fund it for a full year.

Second, likewise after a number of years of discernment, we have made a commitment to expanding our music program at UUS:E, including a professionally administered concert series and an ongoing music salon. This program expansion will necessarily increase our Music Director’s hours. We are proposing minimally a two-hour increase in the coming year.

Finally, we have realized that we are under-paying our Sexton. For many years, we have used guidelines from the Unitarian Universalist Association based on compensation for a custodian. However, our Sexton is truly a building manager and we need to pay her accordingly. It is a matter of fairness.

Sustaining the Membership Coordinator position, expanding the Music Director position, and providing fair compensation to our Sexton. These are the goals driving the major increases in next year’s budget. We hope you will be excited about these goals. Why? Because they are the signs of a thriving congregation, a growing congregation, a vibrant congregation, a congregation that is here to stay!

The Stewardship Committee’s theme for this year’s Annual Appeal is “Honoring our Past; Building Our Future.” It is the right theme for our 50th anniversary year. What better way to honor our past than to make a significant pledge to help us meet goals that build a bright future for UUS:E! For your generosity, thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

With love,

—Rev. Josh