For a year and a half now we have been giving away our entire offering each week to an organization in the community that we believe serves our values, and the response has been wonderful. The amount we raise in our weekly offering has continued to grow to around $3,000 a month, more than double what we were raising in our offering before. I’m also grateful to our Share-the-Plate team, which has done a great job recruiting recipients for our offering.

I’m aware, though, that there has been some confusion about how we go about giving to our Share-the-Plate recipients while also continuing to support the congregation. It’s made for what I admit have been fairly awkward explanations on Sunday mornings about how to do that. So, beginning this week in worship we are moving to a new practice that I hope will reduce the confusion.

We are renaming our offering the Community Plate, rather than Share-the-Plate, to make clear that all cash and checks that we receive in our offering will go to recipients in the community that have been chosen by our Share-the-Plate Committee (now renamed the Community Plate Committee). We will ask that you place any checks or cash that you have brought to fulfill your financial commitment to the congregation or any other contributions to us from our visitors in a wooden box that has been built in the new lower entry to the Sanctuary. We are grateful to UUCA member David Nelson for building the box, which has a slot for checks or cash. We will also have envelopes available at the box for you to identify your cash contributions, if you wish.

I hope this change will simplify our collection, make the intent of our offering clearer and ensure an efficient way to promote the kind of stewardship that is so essential to our future: sustaining support of our congregation to assure that it remains vital and strong, and enduring commitment to provide community support to help put our values into action.