Stewardship 2021: Growing Hope Together

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Stewardship News

”Our church literally depends on you and me to keep going. […] Membership in a church is a solemn vow to support that church.  In return, we get to be part of a community that also supports us.”  -- Aston Bloom
Dearest members and friends,
This time last year, we were gearing up our annual pledge campaign on the theme of Our Common Ground. We had just held an all-campus workday in place of worship. We were imagining a year of continued focus on our facilities and caring for them more robustly than we had in prior years. We were imagining what seeing those improvements would feel like. 
Six weeks later, we found ourselves adapting to a pandemic. In 72 hours, we shifted worship online. Within a week, most of our staff were working from home and members were signing up for Zoom accounts. Later that month, we moved towards collaborative worship with our (now beloved) Baja 4. In two very short weeks, everything shifted. Gathering on our literal common grounds became a memory. 
Now, we find ourselves 10+ months into a pandemic unlike anything we have seen in our lifetimes. Despite this, we have survived, and even thrived! Thanks to a determined Facilities Team, we have continued to make update to our campus including: resealing the Thoreau and Lincoln roofs, updating the electrical system on Goddard, and clearing the brush away from the west side of campus. Thanks to a new focus on racial justice and faith formation, UUCT had a robust engagement with the Beloved Conversations-Virtual course, with 10% of our membership, leadership, and staff participating this fall. Our Care Team has supported families sick with COVID and delivered food to hospital staff caring for COVID patients. We have leaned into our relationships with the Baja 4 and we are learning about what it means to be in covenant with other UU congregations. We have continued to do the work of church in new and exciting ways.
Which is why this year’s pledge campaign theme is Growing Hope Together. Because the buildings we share, though important, are not actually the church. We are the church! We are the ones who actually do the work of growing hope in our shared future as a community, and as Unitarian Universalists. 
You have helped keep my hope alive this past year. You have continued to support our beloved congregation with your generous pledges and donations (which have stayed steady amidst great economic uncertainty). You have shown up to meetings, learned Zoom, and figured out how to do the work of church in a pandemic. You have said “yes” to new ways of gathering because you know it is important that we show up for one another. You have leaned into our collaboration with the Baja 4, and we have learned that we are truly stronger together. You have kept my hope alive, and I thank you for that. 
In the 2021-22 church year, we will, eventually, return to in-person activities. This transition will not be easy and might not feel right for a little while. And, I have confidence that the hope we have grown together during this pandemic will sustain us through any awkwardness of this transition. The strength of our community will carry us through to that new normal. I am sure of that. 
Which is why your Stewardship Team and I are asking you all for your continued financial generosity, continued volunteer commitment, and continued hope in our shared future as a congregation. We recognize that the economic impacts of the pandemic have affected our members in drastically different ways. If you are someone who has not taken a financial hit, consider a donation to cover the impact on someone who has lost their job, or left a job to take care of children, or lost income due to other factors. Whether you are able to pledge more, or less, or just about the same this year, we welcome and appreciate your generosity.
Pledge cards can be mailed back to UUCT (4831 E 22nd Street, 85711), dropped off in person on Saturday, February 20th from 1-4 pm, or filled in on-line here. Your Stewardship Team and I will be happy to receive your pledge in-person and see you from a safe distance with masks on. There will be a surprise gift for the first few dozen members who drop off their pledge card. My baby bump will also be in attendance if that is something you are curious about. J
We have already surpassed the high bar of “holding steady” during a time of great economic and societal uncertainty. With your continued support, we will get to the day when we can gather all together again. When we can sing, and laugh, and eat, and simply be with one another. May we continue growing hope in that shared future. 
With great love and appreciation, 
Rev. Bethany