Returning, Reviving, Rebuilding
One year ago, in March, we launched our Stewardship Campaign just days into the pandemic. I’ll never forget what a scramble it was to create our very first virtual service on Stewardship Sunday! This was the short-lived pre-Zoom era, so we created a series of recordings and sent links out to everyone. It was very lonely recording my stewardship message from my home office when just days before I had been envisioning speaking from the pulpit in front of a full congregation.
We ended that pledge drive significantly shy of our pre-Covid pledge goal, and we weren’t even sure if pledgers would be able to keep up with payments as the year unfolded. We can now look back with extraordinary gratitude at a year in which members and friends have stayed remarkably engaged with our church community personally, spiritually, and financially.
So far this church year we have been running just a bit ahead of budgeted pledge income, and thanks to the diligence and expertise of several members of the HUUC Board and Finance Committee we were able to take advantage of a “Paycheck Protection Program” loan, which Congress offered to small businesses and non-profits. HUUC met the terms of this program, and the loan has now been forgiven. While this is not an income source we can count on for 2021-22, it provided welcome support and allowed us to maintain our staffing and operations without disruption throughout the year, including adding a new Tech Coordinator position at a critical time.
As we now launch our 2021-2022 Stewardship Campaign we are all still very much in this pandemic together. But now instead of constantly hearing news of a spreading virus, we get to hear news from friends and relatives about a spreading vaccination effort. We can begin to look forward to slowly returning our congregational life to normal, possibly later in 2021, or maybe it will be early in 2022, but it will be during the next church year. And we must get ready!
The HUUC Board of Trustees has approved a pledge goal that will return us to just a touch above our pledge budget for the 2019-2020 church year. Our 2021-2022 pledge goal of $223,000 represents a 1% increase over our pre-Covid pledge income and an 8% increase over total pledges for 2020-2021. With this level of pledging in place we will be able to accomplish the following as a church community:
- Provide a 4% raise to our senior minister after providing no pay increase at all in 2020-2021
- Bring our Choir Director position back to fully funded as part of our staff with a 4% increase over 2019-2020 salary
- Complete our goal of increasing the salary for our Music Director by 12% to a level commensurate with the time and expertise we receive from this staff member
- Hire a new Religious Education Director, with the guidance and support of our current Interim DRE
- Hire a new Church Administrator who will take over from our long-time, and soon-to-be retired, staff member Denise Martinez
- Maintain our Tech Coordinator position with a 2% raise budgeted for this position
- Begin replenishing our Building Major Maintenance fund with a budgeted allocation of $2,000 towards future repair and maintenance needs for our church facility
- Increase the amount of our contribution toward denominational dues by 5% to 45% of the requested payment level after dropping down to 40% in 2020-2021
- Begin to fund a programming budget for Adult Religious Education
And now for some “pledge facts” that might help you to think about an amount to pledge towards our budget for the next fiscal year:
- For the 2020-2021 church year, our congregation pledged $206,500, and for 2021-2022 our pledge goal is $223,000, an 8% increase (but only 1% higher than 2019-2020 total pledged giving).
- The average pledge at HUUC is currently $1,700. An 8% increase to the average pledge would be an increase of about $136 per year.
- The UUA Fair Share pledging guidelines are a great place to start, especially for first-time pledgers. These guidelines will help you to make a pledge that takes into account your specific household financial situation.
So, let us take this moment to dream big about how we support the programs and staff of this church. Pledges make up 90% of our annual budgeted income, and your pledge helps us to further live into our mission and vision. I am grateful for you each year as you say yes to this congregation, to our staff, and to our faith. We are all here because of your gifts of time, energy, and resources. Thank you for your generosity this year.
And now, it’s time to submit your pledge. This is our third online pledge drive. The pledge form is right here on the HUUC website, just below on this page. Your pledge is secure and private and will only be received by our Stewardship Chair, Reid Hester.