holding on to the big picture.

13 May

My church has done an amazing and fantastic thing: They have raised their pledges an average of 20% this year.  WOW!!!

Adding to the WOW factor is that HALF of the congregation identified that they are giving at or above 2% of their adjusted income.  DOUBLE WOW!  This is not common in UU churches, especially in such difficult economic times.

I am totally and utterly blown away.  I am thrilled to my toes.  I am so impressed it is hard to talk about it without tearing up – the people here are so amazing and they care about this congregation, about each other, about the unique place this liberal religious congregation holds in the community.  It matters.

And I am impressed and hopeful because they are committed to fiscal responsibility.  Rather than continue to draw down the endowment, as they have done for a large number of years, they are committed to living within their means.

Which is what finds me in an odd predicament, because living in their means results in a $120k reduction in expenses.  That is more than 1/3 of the budget that needs to be cut.  *OUCH*

Let me tell you, it is hard to hold DOUBLE WOW and *OUCH*  at the same time.  Hard to know that committees will be going without funding, that staff positions will be reduced. That this next year will be tight, tight, tight.

But.  But.  When I raise my head and look beyond this next year, I see a congregation that has learned a lot about itself.  About what matters.  About each other and themselves.  About the amazing things they are capable of.  I see a congregation that is so deeply invested in nurturing one another that we will bloom, bloom, bloom.  I see the beginning of a new era, and it looks really good.

Double Wow, and Ouch.  But the Ouch is fleeting – one particularly tight year.  The double wow is not – it is the big picture view, and it sure is inspiring.

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