In looking for signs of an early Spring, like a Groundhog shadow or a Valentine’s Day card, I hope everyone has noticed the outside of our building was recently painted. There is a freshness to the church exterior that reflects the care and attention given to it by our Buildings and Grounds Team (B & G). The most physical work we have is maintaining our facilities. Helping on a Church Work Day is a great way to show support and appreciate what B & G does for the UUCV. We don’t have the funds to fix everything right now. That means we have some deferred maintenance. Large projects like repaving the parking lot may need a capital campaign to fund the work. If we are willing to wait until the Major Maintenance Fund is replenished, it may be a couple of years before the parking lot is repaved, slurry coated and re-striped for spaces. Maintenance issues are an example of making difficult choices with limited financial resources. We know repairs need to be made and yet due to the large costs involved, we must learn to wait. Our church budget-making process can be looked at in the same way. We know that we want something for a committee, or that we are struggling in some area due to a lack of staffing, but because the resources are limited, we may have to wait or make a difficult choice. This dynamic of balancing priorities often reminds me of the phrase; “It’s a good idea whose time has not yet come.” It’s that question of: What do we want, versus what do we need?
As we begin drafting the budget for 2019-2020, we are like the month of February with its promise and potential. We hope to plant seeds that will grow into something beautiful. The early thinking is that we are in an improved situation due to no longer having a Membership Manager. We also have the benefit of an increase in pledging revenue because of new folks joining the UUCV. Yet, just because it looks like we may be on the right path in resolving our deficit and right sizing the church, it does not mean that we can breathe a sigh of relief. There is a lot that goes into the making of our budget. Financial statements make for unexciting reading. At best they are a combination of reality and imagination.
Ours is an expression of dreams. We see it as a “moral” document that supports our values and mission. If we want to do more at the UUCV, do more in our community, and do more in the world, we will need to continue to learn what it means to grow our generosity. To grow in the giving of time, talent, and treasure. We know, when we have numbers, a larger membership, we can spread out the financial support of the UUCV. On March 17 we will have a Stewardship event called Celebration Sunday. On that day we ask everyone to reaffirm their pledge and if possible, to increase your financial giving to the church.
We ring the bell three times. Once for those who came before; once for those who are here now; and once for those who are yet to come. I hope you will commit to that legacy by reaching, stretching in your pledge, giving what you can, even if it is not what you are longing to give.
Living in Paradise,
Bryan Buck, UUCV Board President