Pledge_title

Love is the spirit of this church,

and service is its gift

This is our great covenant

To dwell together in peace,

to seek truth in love

And to help one another

A Pandemic Pledge Drive 2020

 

UUUF has now been in existence for 27 years. Every spring since our founding, our members have enjoyed gathering together, in settings both small and community-wide, to share hopes and plans for our church’s future.

Money is but one of the tools that sustains our community, albeit an important tool. Our annual pledge drive events allow us to discuss how we will financially support our operations and outreach at our UU home and into our world at large. Over the years, there have certainly been economic and societal factors that have challenged us all. With the arrival of Covid-19, we are now experiencing an unprecedented time in history together.

A month ago, your Board was still hopeful we would be enjoying each other’s company at a pledge season kick-off delayed until late April. We are so fortunate to be part of this vibrant, multi-generational community; a party to honor this seemed so fitting after what we hoped would be a few weeks of social distancing. Then the new reality settled over us all. The importance of continuing to protect each other requires we support and celebrate this fellowship in a completely new way.

 

Here’s our Plan B:

Please take some time to reflect on what University UU Fellowship means to you and your family. Think about the ways that this community enriches and blesses your life. Take time to acknowledge the friends and members no longer alive who gave their time and treasure for collective years in order to make possible this community in our lives today. Acknowledge that there is real uncertainty in this time, and we are all grappling with many unsettling unknowns.

Be assured that, in addition to moving UUUF to a completely online format, your Board is meeting online weekly to oversee the operations and finances of this beloved community. The finance team applied for relief through the recently passed Cares Act. This may result in assistance with meeting payroll and mortgage payments. Like so many businesses, our ongoing renters (the Church of God and Children First Preschool) are not utilizing the facilities due to safety concerns.  We are treating each as valued long-term business relationships and waiving their rent payments until they can be operational again. We continue to pay our hourly religious education staff, as their relationships with our children and families are not easily replaced or replicated, and we need them ready to return when we can be together again.

We are able to live our values in these ways thanks to forward-thinking leadership over the past two decades. The generosity of numerous members and friends over the years has allowed us to build financial reserves in our capital and endowment accounts. Many churches, UU or otherwise, are not so fortunate. Your Board is fully committed to prudent fiscal oversight as we manage our current budget shortfall, and we want to live within our yearly income as much as possible. We will meet this challenge working together, even as we are physically apart.   

The 2019-2020 fiscal year’s budget included $142,000 in expected revenue ($79,000 in pledges, $45,000 in rental income, and $18,000 from donations etc.) Covid-19 has shredded the current year’s revenue expectations and laughs at our attempts to be certain about future revenue as we attempt to forecast a budget for the next fiscal year.  We do know, however, that our current year expenses are projected to be $138,000 so this is our starting target for our 2020-2021 pledge drive.  This amount is necessary to maintain our current level of staff and services without any reliance on rental income.

We can be certain of two things: we have a Board that will monitor and react as the situation becomes clearer, and we have you, our members, who consistently support UUUF through good times and bad.  We will present some budget scenarios at the Annual Meeting in May so members know the choices we are facing early enough to discuss and plan and act with thought and care in line with our values. The amount you are able to pledge will directly impact those choices.

In addition to your annual pledge amount, another important opportunity to help shape UUUF’s future is a separate pledge or gift towards the newly established Ministerial Reserve Fund. Your Board decided to continue with this endeavor to assess the viability of ministerial leadership because of the strong show of support at the February’s Quarterly meeting.

Please give today with an open heart. Give and/or pledge to reflect the value and importance that UUUF holds for you and your family. To make your online pledge for 2020-2021 please fill out the Online Pledge Form (link is also above.) There you will also find the UUA Fair Share Guide and view our 2020-2021 Pledge Drive Results.

We realize not everyone enjoys navigating the online world. Please call the church (407-737-4018) or email to info@universityuus.org if you would like to receive your pledge form via email or regular mail. Our goal is to have a pledge commitment form completed by all members by May 31, 2020.

After this crisis has passed, we can look forward to a truly special reunion, where we can share together in person all that makes UUUF the remarkable community it remains. Sure, there will be food, music and likely some cake… but mostly there will be friendship and connections that run deeper because we all have been reminded that friendship and love are what truly sustains us - through this and into our future together.

 

Your UUUF Board

Chris Reid, President

Martha Kirby, Vice President

Kelly Buchanan, Trustee

Sara Sullivan, Finance Team Representative

Lorraine Williams, Secretary

Beatriz Reyes-Foster, Trustee

Amy Mowbray, Trustee