Stewardship–a shared and sharing ministry

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 Grateful for the religious pluralism which enriches and enables our faith, we are inspired to deepen our understanding and expand our vision. As free congregations we enter into this covenant, promising to one another our mutual trust and support.*

Our living tradition draws upon the wisdom and teachings of religions and human experience around theSSL Montclair globe and throughout history. We see to liberate minds to search for truth and pursue deeper understanding of our world and our place in the universe. Our Unitarian Universalist principles call us to act in ways that transform lives and ultimately our world for the better. We stand boldly on the side of love and justice, breaking through barriers of oppression and intolerance. Our vision of a world community with peace, liberty and justice for all is an expansive and worthy pursuit.

As Unitarian Universalists, we dedicate ourselves to one another, to promise our mutual trust and support in, among, and beyond our congregations. It takes a high level of commitment of money, time, and leadership to realize our vision and sustain our ministries and programs. One significant way we support the vitality of our faith community is through our gifts of money. Sharing of our resources is part of our shared ministry in the Beloved Community we create together.

In community, money flows from and through our interconnected relationships, rich with complexity, attitudes, and energy; and at its best, money is dynamic, empoweringoffering plate, and generative–an instrument of transformation. We do not have to possess a great amount of money to use what we have in ways that are beneficial and life-sustaining. Abundance is realized when we appreciate all that comes into our lives and share what we can with intention and good will. We are blessed and so we are called to be a blessing to the those around us and to the world.

Giving and generosity are matters of the spirit and at the heart of stewardship. Giving is a spiritual discipline, a practice that reflects one’s religious values, spiritual depth, and maturity. Being generous is a way to help take care of others and a way to say thank you to God and the Universe for everything we are given.

There is a direct relationship between one’s deepest held values and the motivation to give. We contribute our time and resources to the things that matter most to us and for which we are grateful. Therefore, our money and our giving have greater impact when we are intentional about how we express our gratitude and live out our values.

How we share what we have as people of faith matters. 

We might ask ourselves…

  • Have I taken time to experience gratitude for all I have received in my life and from my faith community?
  • In what ways am I expressing gratitude and acting upon my deepest held values and beliefs?
  • Am I giving to my faith community as generously as possible within my means?

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During this Holiday Season, may each of us be an instrument of Love and Illumination, Hope and Generosity~

Laurel Amabile

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Looking for meaningful ways to support UU values?  In addition to your local congregation, here are some organizations in your wider UU Community to consider in your year-end giving….

Church of the Larger Fellowship (CLF)–a virtual and global UU congregation.  http://www.clfuu.org/

Faithify–a UU crowdfunding website: http://www.faithify.org/

Unitarian Universalist Association–: http://www.uua.org/giving

UU Partner Church Council–connecting UUs and congregations around the world: http://www.uupcc.org/

UU Service Committee social justice and human rights organization: http://www.uusc.org/

* Excerpt of the Unitarian Universalist Association’s covenant to affirm and promote its principles.   http://www.uua.org

Women, Giving and Religious Affiliation

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A new study by Women’s Philanthropy Institute has found that young, single women without ties to religion are giving more to charitable organizations than their peers with religious affiliations. And, these Millennial and Gen X women are giving two-and-a-half times more than single women in the Baby Boomer and older generations.

This represents a marked change in the historical trend in giving that has been the basis of our assumptions up to now. While there is a clear correlation between religious affiliation and giving…

Religious affiliation is no longer the basis for charitable giving decisions–particularly among young, single women.

Giving data show that young, single and religiously unaffiliated women give twice as much to secular organizations than to faith-based organizations. Clearly younger women’s giving choices are influenced by factors worth exploring and understanding.

So, how might religious and faith-based organizations respond to this trend?hand-holds-flower-spill-many-flowers-and-butterfly_fydbgcr_

  • Learn about the interests and needs of Gen X and Millennial women to structure worship experiences and programs that appeal to them.
  • Provide meaningful opportunities for community service and volunteer engagement that connect with mission and values.
  • Seek input and ideas from young women–learn what matters most to them in life and community.
  • Encourage social interaction with peers and across generations–nurture relationships.
  • Affirm the leadership and generosity of the young adults who are making a difference in your organization.

 

Let your Giving Speak, this day and every day~

 Laurel 2012

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Resources:

Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/news/millennials-charity/

Next Gen Donors:  http://www.nextgendonors.org/

NPR All Tech Considered:  http://n.pr/11fWRRw

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Black Friday…Cyber Monday…Giving Tuesday…December 2nd

As we enter the busy season of holiday shopping and spending, it is easy to lose sight of our desire to be generous with those we love and the causes we care about the most. We get swept up in the frenzy of commercial marketing and in being a consumer.

#GivingTuesday is a refreshing alternative to spending. It focuses on our natural inclination to be generous and contribute to the organizations that are making a positive difference in world.

In a recent webinar hosted by Donor Perfect, it was reported that online giving to nonprofit organizations participating in Giving Tuesday 2013 were up by 19%, about twice that of organizations not participating. And, participating organizations saw similar increases in average gift amounts.

With this level of success in just a couple of years, every charitable organization should take notice and join this  global movement. 

Joining Giving Tuesday does require an investment in time and energy on the part of organizations. It is largely an online fundraising effort, so your organization will need to ready your website and mobilize your constituents and social networks to maximize the opportunity.

The #GivingTuesday website has lots of great resources to get you started, and you can track activities and trends through the hashtag on social media. If you are a smaller charitable or faith community, you may be interested in the suggested communication strategy I have developed for my clients: http://wp.me/P1xUUk-1qx

Together we can Dream Big and Give Big this season!

Laurel 2012

 

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RESOURCES to help your UU congregation or organization raise funds:

Faithify:  http://vimeo.com/94507174