What is a pledge?
A pledge is like a promise: the total or monthly donations you intend to make to the operation of the church over the fiscal year ahead. A pledge is not a contract, but a statement of intention. We recruit pledges during the annual pledge campaign, which generally runs in February or March. Pledges allow us to forecast the amount of money we can plan for when setting our budget for the coming year.
A pledge can be made by any member of friend of the congregation who wishes to support the church in a way which provides a consistent basis for financial planning. Members have a special responsibility to pledge; according to the church By-Laws, a member is expected to “make a sincere effort to support the congregation financially, pledging regular contributions if possible.” However, many friends also support the church with an annual pledge. Our church is financially self-sustaining, and pledge donations represent most, though not all of the church’s annual income.
What if I don’t have much to contribute?
We appreciate all contributions, large and small, along with gifts of time and talent as well as money.
When does my pledge come into effect?
At the beginning of the church fiscal year. Our fiscal year runs from July 1st to June 30th. Of course, you can begin pledging at any time in the calendar year by contacting the church administrator, or by using the pledge form on our website.
How do I fulfill my pledge of financial commitment?
There are several ways to fulfill your pledge.
• Direct Deposit is the preferred method, as it allows for your monthly pledge to be transferred electronically, without your having to remember it every month.
• Post-dated cheques, sent to the church office prior to the start of the fiscal year.
• Monthly, quarterly or lump sum payments made by cash or cheque and placed in the offering plate at a Sunday Service. If you choose this option, please mark “pledge” on your cheque or envelope to ensure it is recorded correctly.
Will I get a tax receipt?
Yes, the church issues tax receipts for all identified donations at the end of the calendar, not the fiscal, year.
Can I get some background on the proposed 2017-18 budget increases?
Absolutely. Here is background information on some of the projects the church looks forward to implementing in 2017-18.
Why make adjustments to ministerial and staff compensation packages?
Over the past several years, the church has moved closer to following the salary guidelines detailed in the Canadian Unitarian Council’s policy on Church Staff Compensation. (If you decide to consult the guide, Winnipeg is located in Geo Index 3.)
We believe fair compensation is one of the important ways we live out our 3rd Unitarian Universalist principle: Justice, equity, and compassion in human relations. Further, experience has shown that compensating fairly contributes to the recruitment and retention of hard-working staff who advance congregational goals and Unitarian Universalism.
Until now, our minister has been compensated at the upper end of the minimum recommended salary scale for a congregation of our size (Mid-Sized I, in the guide.) Through their experience interviewing Candidates, our Ministerial Search Committee has learned that candidates who fit the profile you have requested – with a breadth of experience in many different leadership areas – will merit compensation at a higher range than this church has offered in past years.
Our Director of Religious Exploration (DRE), with nine years experience at this congregation, is presently compensated at the minimum level recommended for a congregation of our size in a similar location. During this time, the DRE has steadily worked at adding to her credentials, and has become highly respected by her peers throughout Canada and the U.S. In recognition of her experience and professional growth, the Board has proposed her compensation be increased to the mid range recommended for Canadian religious educators.
Why implement Lifespan Faith Development?
At present our Director of Religious Exploration (DRE) serves families, children and youth. Young adults bridging out of our youth group find themselves missing the support of their close youth group friends. Some move away and others begin new connections. The Board has set a priority of supporting ministry to young adults, and, to this end, are participating in a project with congregations across Canada to explore and improve our ways of welcoming and including young adults in congregational life. The DRE has been given an additional 60 hour contract during the current church year to support this project, but without sustained Lifespan Faith Development leadership, this focus will be difficult to maintain.
In addition to support for young adult involvement, the proposed Lifespan Faith Development program could assist with activities such as:
• Leadership development,
• Recruitment and training of volunteers,
• Unitarian Universalist initiatives in faith and social justice,
• Collaboration with committees and others in strategic planning and goal-setting,
• Enhancing opportunities for growing inter-generational relationships.
SO ... rather than increase the DRE’s job from 80% time to full-time, the Board is proposing to hire a part-time RE Assistant, allowing the DRE to take on Director of Lifespan Faith Development responsibilities, supporting UU faith development for all ages.
The Adult Programming Committee would continue to fulfill their current mandate, promoting adult learning with the goal of enhancing the physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual well-being of members and friends of the congregation within their shared UU principles.
And what about the parking lot?
In 2014, the congregation approved adding 25 years to the amortization of the mortgage, and increasing the mortgage in stages up to $350.000. The goal was to implement capital improvements, beginning with repairing the front retaining wall and steps, and paving the parking lot. The result was a decrease in the cost of our mortgage payments (from $29,880 to $20,314) over the past two years, as we benefitted from the longer amortization but did not borrow the mortgage funds approved.
In 2015, the church’s revenue did not allow for borrowing the costs of the entire project, so in 2016 only the steps and retaining wall were completed. The Capital Project Implementation Team proposes that project be completed by first installing drainage and lighting (2017), and completing the paving (2018.) The existing engineering surveys will still be valid if the project is completed by the end of 2018.
The 2017/18 budget envisages an increase of $4.900 to the annual mortgage payment, allowing for installation of lighting and storm drainage this summer. This improvement will lead to enhanced safety and security for everyone using the building. It is expected that the parking lot will then be ready for paving next year. At the present rate of interest (3.5%) the projected annual mortgage payments, taking into account funding the entire parking lot project, would be $30,000 - $35,000 – slightly larger than the payments on the old mortgage before re-financing.
I still have more questions. Who can I ask?