A Rich and Rewarding Experience

2014 Stewardship Campaign Testimonial

Barbara Begner

In 1996, I attended UUCA for the first time.  My children were small and I felt they needed exposure to some religion.  I needed a place to nurture my soul and a liberal religion was the only way I could venture back into some sort of worship.  I felt comfortable here.  I taught RE for a bit and attended sporadically for the next 10 years, never really connecting to the people but loved the services.  I remember attending services during the Stewardship campaigns with impatience, judgment, and bewilderment as to why time was taken out of precious worship time to ask (or in my eyes, beg) for money. I’m guessing there may be some of you out there right now feeling the same way so bear with me!    How ironic that now I am standing here in front of the congregation giving a Stewardship testimonial!

I donated as a friend throughout the years but didn’t become a member until about 5 years ago.  What changed over the years?  My kids were now grown, I was divorced and I had a yearning for a deeper meaning in my spiritual journey.  My soul needed to be nurtured.  I realized that what I was no longer a sporadic visitor, but a regular attendee.  On the Sundays that I would not be able to attend services, I felt a void.  UUCA was becoming integrated into my being.  I became a member, began teaching RE again, volunteered as an usher and Spirit in Service connector.  Instead of being a taker, enjoying all the wonderful things that were offered, the music, the sermons, a place for prayer and meditation, I felt the need to be more generous financially.  I finally realized that all the incredible programs offered didn’t materialize out of nowhere, costing nothing, there was a financial price to pay.  The phrase where spirituality and money mix now had meaning to me. Last year I was on the Stewardship committee, meeting with other members to go through the pledge signing process.  I hate asking people for money.  But I was struck with the idea that if we, as a congregation, did not meet our budget, perhaps the consequences would be far reaching.  What would UUCA look like without it’s awesome employees who produce the fantastic sermons, music, religious education, and youth programs (to name just a few) that bring richness to this congregation as a whole?

These thoughts spurred me into action, not only asking others for money, but increasing my pledge by 50%. I am by no means a wealthy woman, in fact being a Dekalb County School System employee, I have taken a pay cut each year for the past eight years. Regardless, this year I am increasing my pledge by over 10%. UUCA is an important part of my life.  My soul continues to be nurtured through the music, the sermons, service work and fellowship.  I hope that your experience here can be as rich and rewarding as mine has been. I challenge you to look at your life without this congregation being an integral part of it and perhaps that vision may assist you in digging just a little deeper.

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Make a pledge today at uuca.org/us/generosity-giving/financial-commitment-form.