by Robin Pugh, Director of Lifespan Faith Engagement
One thing I’ve noticed during this time when our physical building is closed is that new people are accessing our church community in different ways than before the pandemic. For this reason, Rev. Kim and I have reconsidered the fees we charge for non-members who are in our Faith Engagement classes. Before the pandemic, newcomers came to services on Sunday morning and spent months (or even years) getting acclimated before they became more involved. Their experience with UUCWC was largely Sunday morning worship. Today, we have people who rarely attend worship but are involved in chalice circles, Wellspring or other small groups.
We want people to enter our community in ways that feel most comfortable to them. People who walk into a church for the first time are searching to meet a named or unnamed spiritual need. For some people, small groups meet that need more than worship. They create an intimate home within a larger church community. Unitarian Universalism is about healing disconnection – disconnection with our deepest selves, one another, needs greater than our own and the unknowable. Small groups are one way to heal that disconnection. Worship is another.
In acknowledgment of the increase in people accessing church through the small groups, UUCWC will be raising the fee for non-member participation in Faith Engagement classes beginning in January. The letter below assures that newer participants in our community understand the expectations as well as the benefits of being a part of UUCWC.
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We are so glad that you’ve found your way to UUCWC. We trust that as you explore the community further, you will find this to be a place and people that brings meaning to your life.
Unitarian Universalists believe that we are each whole and of worth just as we are, and that we are called toward growth and change. We believe we cannot do this transformative work without the help of others and so, though our journey is our own, we look to the community for help, companionship and even accountability.
One clear way that many of our members and friends engage in this practice of Unitarian Universalism is through our Adult Faith Engagement programs. You will note there is a fee for these programs. Religion and money have always been a tricky subject, but we believe direct communication and transparency are best.
Members are asked to contribute, on average, $2,500 a year toward the maintenance of UUCWC. This helps cover building costs, program fees, fair share salaries for our staff and much more. Some can give more than this and do; others work toward giving at this level over time; and some might not be able to give at all, but everyone is valued equally.
Beginning in January 2022, we are asking all non-member participants to also contribute toward the financial health of the community. And while we understand that your commitment may not be that of a member, your involvement in the spiritual deepening programs requires resources that are best shared by those receiving them. If you are already a pledging friend, we thank you; this letter is not for you.
Our sliding scale for non-member participants begins at $200-$400 (or $20 per session, recognizing that some meet once, and others, twice a month).
This fee does not cover the costs associated with programs like Chalice Circles or Wellspring, and so for those who can, we ask you to consider giving beyond this $20 per session. What do you receive besides the resource packet? What gift might affirm or honor the care, community and growth that unfurls in that space?
Again, we are so glad that your journey has brought you to UUCWC. If you have any questions about this or anything related to the congregation or Unitarian Universalism, please contact Robin Pugh at firstname.lastname@example.org.