Dear UUCSV Folks,
“Rats!” Charlie Brown often says when things don’t go his way. I found myself saying it recently. “Rats!” I thought to myself. “I love chili and I want to go to the Chili Cook-Off—but I can’t because I have to take part in a community event that evening at the other church I serve down in Rappahannock County.” This is part of the price of part-time ministry. I can’t be here for all the things I’d like to be, and you must sometimes experience occasions and events when you’d like a minister to be here but none is available. You know what full-time ministry feels like, because you have had it for many years. But full-time ministry costs money.
Our building is a teenager now and is beginning to show its age. Some of the building systems need upgrading. Recently we spent nearly a week with no heat in the RE end of the building when one of the heat pumps failed. It took a while to locate parts for the aging machinery. But upgrading building systems costs money.
This is the time of year when we pause to think about money at UUCSV. Our annual stewardship campaign is underway, led by an active committee chaired by Mark Lore. Over the coming weeks you’ll be hearing about this campaign and how you can be part of it. You will be asked to make your pledge commitment for the year which starts July 1, 2017.
Mark and his committee have adopted the theme “UUCSV at a Crossroads” for the stewardship campaign. We truly are at a crossroads, looking not only at our aging building but even more importantly at whether we can return to full-time ministry which has meant so much to us in the past. The jury is still out on this question, and the verdict is not certain. It’s possible that UUCSV is now in a period of part-time ministry which will last for a long time, and may even be permanent.
The answer will depend upon how well each of us responds to the challenge of the stewardship campaign. If enough of us will step up our pledges, we will be able to say with confidence to prospects for our ministry next year that we are ready to support their full-time ministry. If not enough step up, we will have to continue with part-time ministry. That is a real crossroads.
As you consider your financial support for UUCSV for the coming year, I hope you will think of all the ways the church makes a difference in your life—whether it is through worship, music, work for social justice, your covenant group, the Religious Education program for our children, or any of our many other programs. All of these—and especially full-time ministry— cost money. With your generous support, UUCSV can plan on returning to full-time ministry and continuing to be a beacon of our progressive faith.
Yours in gratitude, Russ