Dear Friends and Members of the First Unitarian Church of Oakland,
Now is the time for us to grow our vision of the beloved community. Now is the time to move forward our mission to be radically inclusive and anti-oppressive. Now is the time for us to be more of the church we aspire to be.
Each year our community comes together in a stewardship campaign where we pledge our resources to manifest our vision and mission, provide for our staff and keep this beautiful building alive and welcoming. This yearly commitment of resources is one of our communal spiritual and ethical practices.
Our church is in a very exciting place. We have begun three years with Pastor Jacqueline as our parish minister and Rev. Sheri as our Associate Minister of Faith Development. Our membership is growing. Our mortgage on track to be paid off in the spring of 2017.
We have vibrant programs in worship, justice and music. There’s a new inter-generational worship service, more music in our first service, and Club UU for our youth. Over 25 members and friends recently participated in a rally to oppose Urban Shield, which militarizes local police forces. We are making a difference within, among, and beyond – and in three years we will welcome a new minister who will take us on the next leg of our shared journey.
Come share our hopes and dreams and what we can accomplish together by deepening our connections.
Hurray for our stewardship campaign!!!
Pastor Jacqueline and the Board of Trustees
(Don’t miss an important message from Stewardship Chair Janet McFarland, below!)
In this season we are Deepening Our Connections to our dreams and visions, our values and one another through the annual pledge drive. This is a spiritual practice we do together, aligning our dreams with our resources.
I will share two brief stories of how I’ve deepened my own connections here and why. I first joined the church in 1995 as a mom with young children. I made a small pledge but my main contribution was time and talent. One Sunday three years ago I returned to the church as an empty-nester. That day Pastor Jacqueline spoke from the pulpit about the terrible injustice done by the acquittal of the man who took young Trayvon Martin’s life. We all grieved together. I was so grateful to have a community to hold me that day. I may have returned an empty-nester but I didn’t feel like I was alone. In this community I found hope — not necessarily that “things” would get better — but that, together, we could have a larger impact than I could have alone. I have been grateful every day since for this beloved community.
Soon after that I signed the book and made a pledge I thought was generous. With the best and most stable income of my life I knew I could meet that pledge. Over the years since I have realized that THIS is my community and I increased that pledge, three times in this past year alone. Here in this place I am supported in my values.
Even more recently I signed up for a year-long personal training program. I was chagrined to realize that I am actually spending more on that commitment than I am on my pledge. This said to me that my personal commitments are not fully aligned with my spiritual values, so I’ll be signing on to the website this week and righting that imbalance.
Long after I am gone this community will continue to work toward our Vision:
To build a radically inclusive community, to grow the beloved community by expanding the welcome table and deepening our commitments to countering oppression as an intentional multiracial, multicultural, multigenerational congregation.
Our love, in the many forms it takes, is what this church is made of. I have confidence that whatever number you write on that pledge form line it will be true to both your resources and your vision for this church. Every gift is valued, appreciated and essential to fulfilling our shared mission. What we have to give matters. I find I love giving!
As a trustee of the Board, I pledge to you to do my best to honor our vision and to work with you to realize it in the world. Please join me.
We live in a world of covenants—both temporal and divine. Some are not honored, while others stand the great test of time. These sacred agreements are central to liberal religious identity and the promises we make to each other. How might covenant help us to navigate a world of so much brokenness and invite new possibilities for restoration, healing, and wholeness? Please join Rev. Jeremiah Kalendae, Worship Associate Elle Parks, Musicians Stefan Schneider, Geoff Ullerich, and Half Dozen of the Other for transformative worship this Sunday! This is a Time For All Ages Service.