Why does this congregation exist? Who are we supposed to be serving? These are basic questions that we should know the answers to when we make a decision to donate our time, talent and money to UUCA. I can’t answer those questions for you, but I can make a case that we are not just here to serve our own members (though we kind of have to do that at some level, right?) but to serve “our neighbors.”
One way that we serve our neighbors is to share our resources with them. As a faith community, we have chosen to collect money every month and donate it to a local non-profit organization, often becoming one of a very small non-profit’s biggest donors. So we share our wealth with our neighbors.
We have members who have 1) recently drummed up our support for the Blue Ridge Pride Procession and Festival, 2) assisted in offering a very well-attended, public workshop addressing the opportunity gap in our area schools, and 3) are planning a public program to reclaim Armistice Day, which was designated as “a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated on November 11.” That event will be here on 11/11 at 11am in our Sanctuary. So we share our talents with our neighbors.
And speaking of our Sanctuary, we have a campus which we support and maintain through your generosity during our annual budget drive. We pass your generosity on by offering our spaces to a wide variety of charitable organizations at low or no cost. Just in the past month we’ve hosted meetings or events for: Narcotics Anonymous; a young men’s mentoring group; Guardian ad Litem; Buncombe County Department of Health; HelpMate and Our Voice; a support group for people with ALS and caregivers; Just Economics; and the cooperative preschool that meets for a half-day every school day. So we share our buildings with our neighbors. In fact, about 1/3 of the time, our building is used by outside groups. That is really good sharing!
So look at that. You contribute your time, talent and money to UUCA. Then, our congregation not only provides the support and experiences one can expect from a faith community but also acts as a base to improve the lives of those beyond our faith community. That ought to give you something to mull over as you think about those beginning questions: Why does this congregation exist? Who are we supposed to be serving?