As indicated on our Finances page, about three-fourths of MVUC’s operating costs are met by regular stewardship contributions from members and friends
How Do I Decide What to Give?
Many of us are ill at ease talking about money and about our individual financial commitments to MVUC. Yet we are learning that being at ease in discussing money is an important part of our individual growth and our growth as a church community. A congregation that shares stories about giving and receiving is one that enjoys a spirit of abundance and possibility. Money is a symbol for the vitality and wellbeing of our church; it provides us with the ability not only to keep the lights on, but to do our good works at MVUC and to serve the broader community.
While many of us support multiple worthwhile causes, we believe MVUC is first among equals and properly receives our most generous support. We ask church members to give thoughtful and serious consideration to the many contributions of MVUC to your life and that of your family, the importance of UU values in your life, and the church’s role in the larger community and the world. We then ask you to make a financial commitment consistent with the importance of MVUC to you and your values, and aligned with your financial capacity.
The first step in deciding what to give is to ask yourself the questions: What does MVUC mean to me? What does it mean to my family? What aspects of congregational life most enrich our lives? Which activities most foster our spiritual growth? Is it attending services and Religious Education classes? Enjoying the connection and support of a spiritual community? Experiencing nature on the extensive and beautiful church grounds? Delighting in MVUC’s superb music program? Participating in social justice education and outreach efforts? Supporting MVUC’s climate action priorities? The list of activities and opportunities to participate is extensive, as is the value MVUC generates.
How Much Should I Give?
To help you decide how much to give we have prepared a Fair Share Guide. The notion of a fair share is a function of what you can afford, how much the church needs, and your relationship with the Church. We find the more people are involved in participatory and voluntary activity (provided they can afford it) the more they give. The question of what one can afford depends not only on income, but also on wealth and expenditures. A young family with a good income will likely face all sorts of capital and living expenditures (housing costs, student loans, child rearing expenses) that an older family does not. (Click on the image below to see a PDF.)
To fully meet the churches financial needs, we need about $500,000 per year in stewardship and other contributions from members and friends. This requires an average contribution of more than $2,700 per year from each of our approximately 180 member households. Giving from member households varies widely as demonstrated in the fair share chart. A few are able to contribute more than $10,000 per year. Some contribute very small amounts. Typically, these gifts that support our operations come from income. In some case’s people have capacity to make one off gifts from their wealth. They may have inherited, they may have profited from an asset sale, for example. In these cases, as many have done a one-time gift can made to support our seven acres of grounds and historic buildings. This is described in the Fair Share guide as a Sustainability Gift.
Commitments Enable Planning and Communicate Our Intentions
Stewardship contributions are most useful if they are predictable. For this reason, we ask members and contributing friends to make stewardship commitments indicating their planned level of giving. Your stewardship commitment (sometimes called a pledge) is not a binding obligation, but should represent your good-faith intentions. A commitment can be expressed as a weekly, monthly, quarterly, or annual amount. For your convenience, payments toward stewardship commitments are tracked over the course of a calendar year and periodic statements are provided showing your commitment and your contributions toward it.
A stewardship commitment can be made or revised in any of the following ways:
- On-line form. Use our on-line stewardship commitment form.
- Commitment card. Fill out a commitment card during our annual Spring stewardship campaign or at any other time of year. Cards are available in the Commons under the TV monitor.
- Email. Send an email to email@example.com indicating a starting date and an amount per week, month, quarter, or year.
Your stewardship commitment can be paid automatically on any frequency between weekly and quarterly. To set up a recurring payment, see instructions at Making Payments Online.