I was editing several of our talks at the church recently (converting the file formats to get them ready to be added as a feature on our website: www.allsoulsuuohio.org), including the one where Rev. Karen Bruno talked about stewardship. In it, she mentioned that, like evangelism, stewardship is one of those words we don’t like to talk about at All Souls.
Rev. Bruno mentioned that everyone pretty much understands that “stewardship” is a code word for “money.”
I’m bringing that word to the top of the page here to remind you about something that Rev. Bruno referenced in her talk. Say what you will, eventually it comes down to the fact that the church stays open due to income from its member’s giving.
If you look at the year end financial report and pledge report on the third page, you’ll see we ended the year in the black financially and almost met our goal for having all pledged money received (believe me, falling .02% short is very good). This is fantastic news and we are delighted.
However (you knew there would be a “however,” right?), we need to take into account many things. First, we had budgeted for lawn care and only ended up spending a tenth of what we budgeted. That’s because one of our members (you know who) continues to donate his time to making the church look nice outside and that was coupled with a mild summer and winter. Second, we suspended the payment of our dues to the OMD and UUA in order to free up funds for our part-time pastoral care. Third, we had several repair items and improvements for the church that have been suspended until we could see what our financial outlook is for the upcoming fiscal year (leveling the kitchen floor, installing the sink, erecting a new sign, fixing the bell tower pulley, fixing the foyer window, etc).
We love our beautiful historic church, but the plain truth is, she is old and needs regular upkeep. We also have many plans that we’d like to put into action to continue growing our church and its outreach. Those projects depend a lot on volunteer efforts but also, many times, money: primarily for supplies or expertise in getting the projects done.
Yes, stewardship also means volunteering your time and I don’t means for a second to underestimate the value of that. There are so many talented members and friends in our church who do not have the finances to commit more than service to the church. And that’s fine.
We love All Souls. The church has been here since 1894 and is not going anywhere. We are a diverse group of people celebrating all faiths, all individuals, and all paths to spirituality. We are unique in the area in celebrating that view, and I think that is important, especially today. In conclusion, please consider your pledge for the upcoming fiscal year. Thank you.