Unitarian Universalism is a covenantal religion in which we as individuals come together and our congregations come together in voluntary association and mutual commitment. It is through ever deepening covenant – connection, collaboration, community – that we pursue our personal spirituality and that we have the greatest impact for good in the world.
We at CCUU affirm that every person is a steward – that is, a caretaker or trustee with a vision for the future. Every member is asked to fulfill the expectations of membership by giving generously of their time, talent, and treasure. Nothing in this church exists without the generosity of our membership. Every chair, hymnal, and shingle on the roof came from the gifts of a member or friend. Because this is not a top-down church, there is no higher denominational entity giving money to the church. To the contrary, in addition to our operating budget, we give a percentage of our budget to the UUA and to non-profits that are doing work that is in line with our values.
CCUU’s annual budget drive is held yearly October-November. Our members are asked to “pledge” by completing a Financial Commitment Form, pledging financial support for the operating budget of the church for the upcoming fiscal year.
As each of us decides on our financial commitment to the church, we are asked to consider the broader mission and ministry of the congregation: our personal connection and engagement, the warmth of authentic community, the opportunities for personal and spiritual growth, the nurture of our children in Religious Education, our congregation’s support to the surrounding community, the support for people who need caring, and our consistent availability for people who seek welcome in our congregation.
The UUA has created a Suggested Fair-Share Giving Guide as a helpful tool. We ask members to give the Guide their full consideration. The Guide and a sample of CCUU’s Financial Commitment Form are available using the links below. Some people may find it necessary to make a commitment to move toward their suggested financial fair-share goal over time. It might be a three-year process or even a five-year process. Moving toward a Fair-Share financial commitment, whether quickly or in a steady, intentional way, is a welcome process that builds community and instills a spirit of personal stewardship.
Generosity is not about a number. A generous person lives with a sense of trust and abundance, and each person will know what the “right” amount to give is.
CCUU is only as strong as its members and friends are generous. The more time, talent and treasure the church receives, the farther our message can reach.
Your Questions Answered
What is Stewardship?
Stewardship is another word for care and support of the church. In a sense, we are all stewards of the church. Stewardship is an approach that embodies responsible planning, protection and management of resources.
What is a pledge?
A pledge is a financial commitment, intended to be paid out over the course of the church fiscal year (January through December). We invite members to make a financial commitment in October during the Annual Budget Drive, to fund the budget for the next fiscal year.
Why do we make a financial commitment?
With our financial commitment, we pledge to fund the daily operations of the church and to ensure that the church is here for us and others now and into the future. The church belongs to each of us, and our financial support is the major source of operating funds. We are not funded by any outside group or groups.
What is the money used for?
All revenues (pledges, rentals, investments, fund raising and donations) are used to support all the activities of the church – the worship and music programs, religious education, outreach and the minister’s salary. The budget reflects our mission and vision.
Is pledging a requirement of membership?
We expect that all members will help to support the church. Making a specific financial commitment also helps the church Board to know how much money is available for planning the activities of the upcoming year. The CCUU bylaws require members to have at least one recorded financial contribution each year.
Can only members make a pledge?
We expect that all members will make a financial commitment. We also welcome our friends who are not yet members to make a pledge, if they wish to do so.
Should everyone pledge the same amount?
Some members are able to pledge more, others less. All of us support our church at individual financial levels.
How much should I pledge?
It is recommended that you contribute a percentage of your annual income.
What is a Fair Share pledge?
The UUA has developed the Fair Share Giving Guidelines, a detailed spreadsheet that helps you decide how much to pledge based on various percentages and levels of income. The Guidelines are given to each member during the annual budget drive. CCUU aspires to become a Fair Share congregation.
When should I pay my pledge?
Most people begin to pay out their financial commitment at the beginning of the fiscal year. So, while you make your financial commitment at the end of one year, it is not due until the new year begins. Some people prefer to pay their pledge all at once before the new fiscal year begins, but most prefer to pay over the course of the year. Each person can choose the schedule on which to pay – weekly, biweekly, monthly, quarterly, etc.
Will I be reminded about my pledge during the year?
Yes – the Financial Secretary will send out periodical reminders of your balance, usually around mid-year and in the third quarter of the year.
What about the money I put in the collection plate?
Some people use the Sunday offering to make their payments, either by check or with cash. Envelopes are available for your cash donations so that they can be associated with you and counted toward your pledge.
What if my financial circumstances change during the year and I can’t meet my obligation?
Simply let the Financial Committee chairperson know, or, if you prefer, the minister, if you need to adjust your pledge.
What is tithing?
Tithing is giving 10% of your income to support a church. It is an ancient custom, mentioned in the Bible. Many UU churches ask their members for a “UU Tithe”, which is 5% of your income to support the church.
Is it okay to give money to the church outside of my pledge?
Yes, but these monies will not count toward your pledge. Every second Sunday of the month, we are invited to donate to a chosen charity. You may get credit for a cash donation to the charity if you indicate your name on an envelope; you may also write a check to CCUU with the notation of the charity on your check. There are also occasional fund raisers and special events to which you may wish to donate. All of your contributions to the church will be credited to you for tax purposes.