The Finance Committee of the Board of Directors continues to receive feedback and questions about the proposed United Church Mission
plan. The proposal is likely to continue to evolve based on these conversations. In order to minimize confusion, Andy Gustafson and I have decided to blog periodically on the subject, as a way of keeping readers informed of the latest thinking of the Board and staff.
This week, a change was made to the web page and to the narrated slide show titled “United Church Mission – an Overview”. The change was to remove references to a goal of 10% of pledges and offerings [UPDATE: This has been changed to total income
] given to the wider church.
This 10% figure was always meant to be a challenge or ‘stretch’ goal to which a church could aspire over time, much like the personal tithe toward which many of our local church Stewardship committees ask us to grow as individuals. However, we found that almost everyone providing feedback thought that the Board was asking all churches to give 10% more or less immediately, and this has generated a bit of alarm!
What the Board is actually proposing is that churches calculate the percentage of pledges and offerings [changed to total income] they currently give to the wider church via the Massachusetts Conference (in Fellowship Dues and Basic Support combined), and commit to maintaining that percentage for the near future. The dollar amount of a church’s United Church Mission contribution would go up or down over time, along with increases and decreases in income. Churches would also be asked to consider gradually increasing the proportion they give, as they are able.