Having been a former stewardship campaign chair as well as a board member, I have been inspired by the generous level of donations that many of you bring to funding the work of our church community. Yes, my wife Diane Fox and I both give our time and talents to TVUUC, and this is certainly at the core of our relationship with this church. Over many years, Diane has been active with the auction, seeking to embody the love and service that she saw through Greg McKendry when he was a member of the auction committee. Organizing Women’s Table is also a way she works to form deep connections with new and old friends at TVUUC.  For both of us, the Art Committee has been an ongoing commitment, and I value being of service on organizing UU Conversations. I know many of you have similar ways that you bring your time and talents to our church, doing the work of committees, task forces, organizing fellowship meals, dialogues, helping with the caring committee and teaching our youth, to name only a few. Commitments of time and talent are important ways that we make our church community vital.

However, time and talent represent only two of the three ways that our church community is able to survive.  The third is, of course, our financial commitment for salaries, facilities and programming. While plate collections are important, they make up only a small portion of what it takes to fund TVUUC.  Stewardship pledges are the primary way that we meet our financial obligations, and they allow the TVUUC finance committee and board to prepare a budget for the next year. Our goal for next year is $550,000 towards our total annual operating budget of $620,000.  Divided by the 365 days of the year, this is almost $1,700 a day or $11,890 a week. Most of this funds people power, the tremendous staff who help facilitate our community activities. Recognizing these real costs, and contributing ensures our mission “to create a welcoming community that nurtures spiritual growth and challenges us to transform the world through acts of love and justice.”  Supporting what we do, and what we strive to do, as well as what we represent in Knoxville is worth every cent of our budget. Thank you for your fair share commitment to funding our journey together.