Guest Column – With Link

The Beacon Bits editor left out an important link in Wednesday’s Guest Column. Below is the column, with the link included.

Stewardship: Who Will We Choose to Be?

I had the pleasure of speaking with you all this past Sunday about Stewardship. Today I am following up on what I shared.

You are all part of our beloved community: together, our interconnected actions and choices have an impact on each other, our church, and the world around us. We are called to create a community grounded in our shared values and commitment to social justice, and to work together to build a world that reflects these values.

We choose, every day, how we spend our time, how we treat others, and how we use our resources. Each of these choices has a ripple effect, influencing not only our own lives but the lives of those around us. As we consider our financial commitments to the congregation, we are faced with a choice. Will we choose to invest in our beloved community, to support our shared mission and values, and to ensure the sustainability of our congregation? Or will we let financial challenges get in the way of our vision for who we choose to be?

The Board of Trustees is preparing the fiscal year budget that we will work under for the next fiscal year starting in July. We will vote on this at our annual congregational meeting on May 21st. Thank you for the gifts of time, talent, and treasure you all contribute already.

The largest income factor in our budget is your pledges. We haven’t done an annual pledge drive in several years, as Beth Marshall, our Stewardship Chair, mentioned several weeks ago. It’s nice not to be always talking about money, of course, but one unintended consequence can be that we don’t have the financial health of Northwoods top of mind.

We are currently facing a financial deficit of $15,000 in relation to our annual expenses, which roughly total $280K. One of the reasons for this is that our expenses have gone up: we now have a settled minister after many years, benefit costs for our employees continue to rise, and we need to continue to care for our building. This is a challenge that we cannot ignore, hope will go away on its own, or assume leadership will figure it out. Instead, we must face the challenge together with honesty, transparency, and a shared commitment to finding a solution.

If each pledge unit were to add just $135 to their annual pledge, we could bridge the gap in our budget. Or, if half of the pledge units were to add just $25 per month, we could not only balance the budget but also fund our committees like SEE Justice to do more outreach work. Even if you can only add $10 per month, or even $5 per month, every little bit counts. With your pledge, think about what Northwoods means to you, the benefits you receive from our community, and what you can and wish to contribute. You can adjust your pledge with this form.

Let us choose to be a community that supports each other and invests in our shared vision for a just and compassionate world. Let us face our financial challenges with honesty and transparency, and work together to find a solution. And let us be a faith community that reflects our shared values and commitment to what we believe in, both in our financial commitments and in all aspects of our lives. Who do we choose to be?

Thank you for your commitment to our beloved community.

Sara DaSilva