Making a compelling case is one of the most important elements to a sucessful annual budget drive or capital campaign.  Congregants want to know “what difference will my contribution make?”  So when a congregation is preparing for an annual budget drive or capital campaign its extremely important to take the time to draft a compelling case statement about what can/will happen when the annual budget drive or captial campaign goal is met.  Congregational Stewardship Consultant, Frankie Price Stern, shares with us this Financial Stewardship Campaign Case Statement from the Community Church of Chapel Hill, UU, her home congregation.

“How Will We Love This World?
2010 Financial Stewardship Campaign
Community Church of Chapel Hill, UU
Case Statement

Transformational love is at the heart of our faith and history as Unitarian Universalists and as members and friends of the Community Church of Chapel Hill:

Our Principles and Sources challenge us to engage the “transformational power of love” to confront “powers and structures of evil.”

  • Charles M. Jones, our founding minister, called us to work toward “an understanding and creative love that can both accept and transform human life.”
  • One of the most popular readings from our hymnal proclaims that “Love is the doctrine of this church, the quest of truth is its sacrament, and service is its prayer.”
  • The UUA public advocacy campaign introduced at our 2009 General Assembly invites us to address issues of exclusion, oppression and violence by “Standing on the Side of Love.”

The question we face as individuals and as a church community is “How?”  How will we nurture, articulate and put into action this doctrine of powerful and transforming love?  How will we love this world?

Challenges and Choices: Questions

In an era of financial meltdowns and unprecedented economic uncertainty, what institutions will we choose to support?  When financial resources are stretched thin for many, how will we choose to spend our money?

During challenging economic times, it is especially important to support the people and organizations that make a real difference in our lives and that can help make a real difference in the larger world.  The Community Church has proven to be just such a place for its members and for the larger community for many years, and we can do even more as we move forward.

In a world where expressions of hatred run rampant, how will we choose to respond?  At a time when intolerance often seems to be the “default” position for people and institutions around the world, how will we be true to our doctrine of love?

In 2008 when hatred and intolerance erupted in the form of a gunman at the Tennessee Valley UU Church in Knoxville, the members of the church could have responded with hatred, or they could have withdrawn and focused only on their own deep wounds.  But they chose a different way.  Their decision to move forward in the spirit of transforming love led to the development of the UUA’s “Standing on the Side of Love” campaign.

How will we as individuals and as members of a church community respond to the great challenges, opportunities and questions of our time?

“Living the Question” in Community

As UUs, we are intrigued by questions great and small—some that have no answers and some that we answer by how we choose to live our lives. In his Letters to a Young Poet, Rilke wrote of the need “to live the question” with the hope that “you will gradually, without even noticing it, find yourself experiencing the answer.”

Living the question is what we do as a church community, and it is a process that manifests itself in all we do together:  We “live the question” as a community by coming together to:

  • Worship—coming together in community to explore, articulate and challenge our deepest beliefs and values
  • Create authentic community—caring and listening to each other deeply, one-on-one and in small groups, and ministering to each other’s needs
  • Extend our reach into the larger world—ministering to those beyond our walls and caring for our precious and often fragile world

An important part of “living the question” is sharing our stories to explore who we are, where we come from, where we are going and what role the church plays in our individual and shared journeys.  Here are a few of those stories:

  • “From the day I attended my first service here, I have felt free to search responsibly for truth and meaning in my life. Less than four years after beginning my journey into Unitarian Universalism, I can’t imagine my life without it.”  Pete Rubinas
  • I have needed something to lean on for dealing with challenges as I do social work, such as when I sat with families as they watched their babies die in the NICU. That’s where I knew it was faith in a greater spirit than my own that would give me the strength to help those families—and myself.  So thanks, Community Church UU, for supporting me as I face all kinds of challenges.”  Joann Haggerty
  • “Where do we come from?  We are gifts from the past.  Every one of our ancestors struggled and sacrificed so that we could be here.  Who are we?  We are the dreams our parents dream in their best moments.  Where are we going?  We are constantly headed into history where we will be the gift givers.”  Donna Washington

Our “Fair Share Giving Guide” provides an excellent framework for giving to the church.  If all of us, according to our abilities, commit to become “fair share” givers to the Community Church, we will easily be able to fund the opportunities before us, and our shared ministry and stewardship of the church will continue to grow and prosper.

Choosing to Bless the World

We’re living in a time of great opportunity for change and transformation on a national and global scale, and we have so many wonderful gifts to share with each other and with the world.  When we choose to bless the world with our gifts of talent, time and financial support, we open ourselves to joy and a sense of abundance that cannot be experienced any other way.  Our combined financial support makes possible the work of the church and helps us together move toward living the questions and experiencing the answers.

In the words of UU theologian Rebecca Parker:

What do you think of this case statement?
Does your congregation have a compelling case statement?
Would you be willing to share your congregations’ case statement?

About the Author
Robin Nelson

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