The Stewardship Corner, May 28
During the months of May and June, we are devoting a “Corner” of our Communications to our Annual Stewardship Campaign. This year’s campaign concludes in June, the end of our “church year.”
This article comes from Jean Thomson, a member of the Stewardship Committee.
Hello! As you may know, we are in the midst of finalizing our budget for the next fiscal year, and that’s where you come in.
And I want to invite you to come right in through the church door you normally use, this time using your imagination.
As you enter, let me remind you of a couple of ways the church spends money. You are entering our building—and the lights are on! The heat is on! As we continue to warm up, the a/c will be on. Our building looks kept up and well-attended too!
This takes budgeting, this use of light and heat, and a/c. And the maintenance! But oh, do eyes glaze over when we talk about the cost of light and heat and a/c and maintenance. Instead, let’s continue on the tour we’re taking as you enter the church. No doubt you are heading for a particular room.
Do you know that most of our rooms are named for people who have come before us? There’s a book about our rooms, written by long-time member Jane Pejsa with help from our Archivist Mary Welfling. I don’t know about you, but I am really looking forward to reacquainting myself with our church rooms!
As you enter, you may pass through the lobby of the Howard Conn Fine Arts Theater, or you may come in via Jones Commons—spaces named for beloved senior ministers Howard Conn and Vivian Jones. In between is a hallway adjoined by the Elaine Marsh Library, a tribute to our much-beloved Elaine, for her 23 years of ministry with us. Situating in Jones Common, look up! At the end is the brilliantly lit Nancy Baltins window. Nancy is commemorated here and in the Nancy Baltins Room off our downstairs kitchen, used as our Drop-In Center. Do you know Nancy is pretty much singularly responsible for the revival of the Drop-In Center? It’s one of the most important outreaches to the community that we have ever made. Nancy was a good friend and I always love gazing at her window.
Now, when I am back at Church, I know I want to head to the Bovey room, on the second floor. The beautifully decorated room served as a primary Sunday school room for almost 50 years. (I remember!) In later years it housed junior high activities and served as a meeting room. Recently the room has been restored to its original beauty and now serves as the home for Plymouth’s Archives.
Perhaps one of the most romantic commemorative spaces we have is the choir-robing room—because of its legacy. This room, the Ross Room, commemorates the late-in-life marriage of Hazel Fraker and Archie Ross. They were, respectively, assistant treasurer and treasurer of the Church for 30 years—before marrying!
Time for a little respite, after hiking about? I would go to the Parsons Room, named for dear Jack Parsons, a longtime member, and advocate extraordinaire of our Church.
Now, aren’t these spaces intriguing?? They are not just rooms in a physical plant requiring light and heat and maintenance. These rooms, indeed our whole Church, are made up of people – people who have come before us, people who thought enough of our future to endow us with money to create living, breathing spaces.
We owe our future members the same courtesy – we must keep up the treasured rooms, alive with the memories of people from yesteryear, alive (soon!) with people today, and alive tomorrow, due to us.
Maintenance of our treasure of rooms, peopled as they are with legacy and memory, is a very necessary and important budget item.
Please give generously—before June 30! The rooms we love look to you.
Hi, I’m John Schenk,
As a part of May’s Stewardship Month, I want to reprise/revise my stewardship video that I posted last November, which started out by noting what an improbable, unpredictable and unsettling year 2020 was … and then shifted to noting some of the good news that came our way during the year.
- As last year ended, we said farewell to Paula Northwood and had a chance to thank her for her inspiring leadership, her loving care for so many of us and her many years of thoughtful and generous spiritual presence.
- We called our new Lead Minister, Dr. DeWayne Davis. From Day One, DeWayne hit the ground running and quickly began to deliver continued energy to community ministry, social justice, and prophetic preaching.
- In the face of the adversity of the Covid-19 Lockdown, Plymouth adapted well to the challenges of virtual and socially distanced worship and fellowship – calmly, effectively, with good humor and more than a little bit of grace. That said, I can’t wait to be together in person once again!
And just in case you missed last Fall’s video (who am I kidding, I missed it!), I wanted to make sure I shared the results of 2020’s Pledge Campaign – last year we had pledge goals of $1.5 million and thanks to an 11th-hour rally, actual pledge dollars collected for the year snuck just past $1.6 million, thanks to all of you!
Another reminder – exceeding our 2020 goal helped us weather the first shocks of the pandemic without any staff reductions, expand the church’s support of racial justice and climate environmental justice initiatives, and help see Academie Elze, the Spanish immersion preschool, through a difficult spring and summer.
So that’s great news about 2020 and about our congregation’s resilience and generosity, but where are we standing as the current fiscal year is coming to its close?
Well, in many ways about the same spot we were in about a year ago, still largely virtual, still finding ways to show up strong in the community, still building on the promise and positive energy that has been Plymouth’s hallmark for as long as I can remember … and still trying to sneak over the finish line of our 2021 Pledge Campaign.
Through March 2021, we had pledges totaling $1,415,000. Also through March, our actual pledged contributions received were running a little more than $100,000 behind our budgeted goal for the year – frankly, not unusual as historical cashflow trends go, but still, from a Stewardship Campaign standpoint, a little bit nerve-wracking…
So, a final “ask” …
- For those of you who haven’t yet made your pledge to Plymouth, now’s the time.
- For those of you who made your pledge for 2021 but haven’t yet written your check, now’s also the time.
- And for those of you fortunate enough to realize that you made it through the lockdown of 2020 and saw your finances remain healthy and maybe even increase, there’s no better time than now to honor that abundance and share that wealth by increasing your pledge to Plymouth.
So, yeah! Let’s keep it up!
It’s been an honor to have served Plymouth as a co-chair of the Stewardship Committee for these past few years. And I’m super-excited about Plymouth’s continued growth and vitality.
Thank you for your support and your generosity and thank you for keeping the faith!