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From the Ministers

In Care - March 2017

This Little Light of Mine

by Rev. Deborah Cayer

It’s the time of year when we make pledges of financial support for next year’s programs. And Now More Than Ever we are called to Let Our UU Light Shine. Carmine Gallo says, “Passion fuels the rocket, but vision—a big dream— points the rocket to its ultimate destination.” Money is one type of fuel, and it can take us a great distance to very good places if we have a bold vision. So, where is ERUUF’s big dream of love and justice, freedom and courage, compassion and truth taking us?

We recently reported 647 members and 335 active friends to the UUA, and that we serve just over 180 children. This year we created new ways to help new members get connected and it’s worked. In the coming year we’re going to keep doing these good things, and we’re going to shift our focus to member engagement. We want everyone here to be able to connect with others in small groups and meaningful activities, and we want to help people find opportunities to serve. This is already in motion.

But what about the people who can’t get to ERUUF? What about religious liberals who live out in the counties around Durham? If we’re feeling insecure here in our little liberal bubble in the Triangle, imagine how others are feeling in the red areas of North Carolina! How might we offer them some of our light to add to their own? And what might we learn from them, receive from them if we do? One group to the south has asked us for support for worship and program materials. And there is no UU presence between us and Richmond, VA. Imagine who might be just north of us, and how much they might benefit from a covenant group type gathering, and some friendly support from some of our strong small group leaders? If we have significant increases in pledges we could take this on without adjusting what we’re already doing.

This past year we were an Early Voting site for 18,281 Durham citizens, and we worked on voting rights in parts of the city where people’s rights haven’t been respected. This year we’re going to continue to work on issues that affect People of Color, and we’ve begun forming relationships with partners in organizations that are led by People of Color. Right now we offer meeting space to groups that serve refugees and immigrants, and we’ve begun asking them and groups like Durham CAN to help us figure out what our neighbors need most, and what’s needed in our community around sanctuary. How can we help? How might we support our neighbors in this new era that’s so hostile to so many? And the earth…we hear it calling us. What are good ways we can put our love into action for the earth? Our Earth Justice folks are eager to bring us opportunities, and we’re in the process of rearranging staff portfolios to be able to support lay leaders who are already engaged in this ministry.

Here’s some more good news. While she will no longer be our student minister, Jacqueline Brett will be able to work full time on the ministry team at ERUUF in 2017-18 while she prepares to see the UUA’s Ministerial Fellowship Committee! Her vision and partnership in ministry have been a large part of our growth and vitality these past two years, and it’s truly a blessing that she can serve with us in the coming year. However, this year we had two ministers plus a student minister, and that level of ministerial staffing is exactly what we need. It also would definitely help us succeed if we could afford administrative assistance in the main office and in RE, and if we could give our excellent staff a raise. Significant increases would enable us to have this level of support.

If this sounds ambitious, it is. And it isn’t. Much of this is what we already do; we’ve just started planning ways to do it differently and better. But the outreach pieces would be new for us. Again, increases would enable us to support this outreach without having to cut parts of what we do now.

Here’s some information to help you think about how your giving could help ERUUF’s light shine more brightly.

If you are currently pledging per year:

ERUUF can meet its needs and grow towards its vision if you increase your pledge by an additional:

$20-2500

$60-1000

$2600-9900

$500-3000

$10,000+

10%

 

We have a vision, a big dream of love and justice for all. Now more than ever it’s time to let the light of our liberal UU faith shine brightly, and bring hope and encouragement to hurting people and desperate places.

In faith, Deborah