Merriam-Webster’s definition of stewardship: “the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one’s care”. Reading that, and thinking about Seattle Unity, warms my heart. For, along with all of you, Seattle Unity IS entrusted to my care, though I rarely think of it in those terms.
I recently looked at a video made by Seattle Unity leaders in the 1960’s, and was entranced by the stories THEY told of their time as stewards. (Although they did not call themselves “stewards”.) The care and attention they devoted to the thoughtful construction of our current church building and its congregation was very moving, particularly for the times we are in now.
We are now at a similar time, looking at our history and planning major changes for our future. And, like our forbears, we are indeed stewards of this beloved entity we now call “Seattle Unity”.
Our Lovely Librarian, Didi Graves, is leading the “This is US” project, a broad-based and eclectic collection of our part of Seattle Unity’s history. Here’s a link to more about that project: The video mentioned above will be available at some time in the future for viewing via our website.
Formed last year, the SU Stewardship Committee is leading the campaign to make our current incarnation of Seattle Unity more financially sustainable. They began by asking questions. They collated answers, looked at Seattle Unity’s finances, and determined that, to eliminate our current expenses/income gap, if everyone chose to give 10% more this year than last year – no gap! Sustainable Seattle Unity! Voila!
To further this goal, they are in the midst of a Stewardship Campaign. They are asking people to determine what they plan to give to SU this year, whatever that amount may be, and then to write that down and turn it in to the Stewardship Committee.
Having people commit to their prospective gifts can be a difficult thing to ask (kudos to the Stewardship Committee for taking this on!) It’s obviously incredibly useful – in this manner, managing our finances throughout the year will be much less fraught with uncertainty.
If the Stewardship Committee, reviewing the pledges, sees there is still a prospective expenses/income gap, they will notify the Board of Trustees. (As of last report, about 1/3 of the amount has been pledged.) The Board can then thoughtfully plan other programs such as fundraising events at strategic times during the year.
This year, this Stewardship Campaign will take the place of our traditional “Easter Ask”, so add that amount into your prospective pledge when you’re doing your math.
With enough commitment from our congregation, if the Stewardship Committee sees us well able to match our income and expenses, they will let the Board know that. Instead of fundraising parties/events, the Board could be focusing in on commUnity building parties or events – coming together in fellowship and fun.
We all, Board, staff, and Stewardship Committee, deeply appreciate your current generosity and your thoughtful stewardship, in whatever form that takes for you individually, in support of Seattle Unity.