Stewardship 1: Budget
It’s fall—the season for football, crisp days, pumpkin spice everything, and church stewardship campaigns. Yes, it’s time to plan the church’s finances for the coming year. We will kick off our formal stewardship campaign on October 29, but I will lay the groundwork with a few messages over the next few weeks.
“Why do we have to do this?” I hear you cry. “The church talks too much about money.”
I’m not sure I agree. First, this church talks a lot less about money than many congregations. Second, and more important, money, for better or worse, is a major indicator of our values. In our neo-liberal, consumer-capitalist society (I know all the good buzz words), how we allocate our money tells us what is important. I hope that by the end of the stewardship campaign, on November 19, we can convince you to show how important the church is in your life by making a pledge.
First, however, a brief explanation of the budget process at Cleveland Park UCC. We have asked the chairs of the congregation’s committees to look at their spending over the current year and request a specific amount for next year. (They may consult with their committee members before submitting their request.) In early October the Treasurer will put those numbers together with planned payroll costs, estimated rental income, and other budget lines to create a draft budget. The budget remains a draft, always subject to revision, until the congregational meeting in late January. Remember that we are a congregational church, and that you as members are the only ones who can approve the budget.
The Stewardship Committee will review that draft budget and will estimate how much we will need as pledge income to make the budget work. We will then come to you in late October, inviting your pledges to support the work of the church. Once we see how much we anticipate receiving in pledged income, the Stewardship Committee and the Cabinet will adjust the budget up or down, to match our plans to our income. Only then will we ask the congregation to approve the budget.
All this process stuff, however, doesn’t answer the bigger questions of why you should give and why you should pledge. More on that in the coming weeks.
EVENTS & ANNOUNCEMENTS
Jazz Worship Service, 10/1—Members of the Worship Committee will lead the service with the Michael McFadden Quartet playing a selection of jazz and gospel pieces.
Blessing of the Animals, 10/8—We hope you’ll join us for this beloved intergenerational (and interspecies!) service. All animals on leashes or in crates are welcome. You may also bring a photo or stuffed animal to be blessed.
“Seeking the Sacred,” 10/10—Our fall spiritual practice series will meet Tuesdays from 7-8:15 pm in the parlor. Through contemplative prayer, journalling and discussion, the group will explore many ways of drawing closer to holy presence. Join the welcoming circle! (through 11/14, except 10/31).
Socially Responsible Investments, 10/15—Our Board of Trustees is considering a proposal to reallocate our investments according to socially responsible criteria. Please join the Trustees after worship to discuss this important issue.
Poetry Hour, 10/15—Join us from 4-5 pm in the church parlor and bring one or two poems to read (with 8 copies to share). Invite a friend! Questions? Le Rowell at email@example.com.
Walk to End HIV, 10/28—This year the Potomac Association of the UCC is walking together! To order a t-shirt: UCC Walk T-shirt. To register: UCC Team. First Congregational UCC is hosting a meet up before the event at 8:15 AM. The team will leave from there at 9 AM for the walk starting at Freedom Plaza. FCUCC is at 945 G St NW, close to Metro Center and Gallery Place.
“Waking Up White,” 10/29—BEGIN READING! We’ll gather after worship to discuss Debbie Irving’s excellent memoir about race. In her words: “This is the book I wish someone had handed me decades ago. My hope is that by sharing my sometimes cringe-worthy struggle to understand racism and racial tensions, I offer a fresh perspective on bias, stereotypes, manners, and tolerance.” Questions? firstname.lastname@example.org.