Spring is finally here! It’s time to grow our gardens and also our fellowship. BUUF is like a neighborhood tree that provides shade, shelter and fruit to the community. We BUUFers nourish the tree. We are like the roots that bring in water and nutrients and the leaves that produce energy so the tree can grow. Our endowment fund is the taproot that provides long-term stability and water in times of drought.
What is the fruit of our tree?
- Meals for hungry community members at the soup kitchen
- Principled religious education for our children and youth
- Organic gardening in Benton Harbor and on our very own grounds
- A voice for liberal causes in our local community and beyond
- Emotional support for one another in hard times, meals and assistance when we need it, good conversation at Sunday services and other events, and pastoral support when we are ill or in crisis
- Fun gatherings throughout the year, like bonfires and socially distanced gatherings during Covid, and UU AllComers dinners and our annual cabaret during better times
- A meeting location for other non-profit groups like Spiritual Frontiers, All God’s Children’s Choir and get out the vote efforts
- Working with community organizations like Interfaith Action, BISN, NOAR and ALPACT to ensure a more just and loving world
This is a tree worth preserving.
Last year we grew our tree by quite a lot. We added many branches and leaves, and our roots grew deeper. Despite some external challenges like the pandemic, we produced bigger and sweeter fruit to sustain ourselves and our neighbors. For example, we moved our Sunday services and events online, sponsored various Covid-safe outdoor events, sponsored food and clothing drives, more fully supported various community organizations, delivered RE bags to children and gift bags to members and got a youth group up and running.
Still, feedback from our 5-year strategic planning sessions tells us that BUUFers want to make an even bigger impact. We want to our fellowship to bear bigger fruit, so to speak. This means we will need to bring in more resources for our tree…more water, fertilizer and sunshine…or, in human terms, we need to shower our fellowship with more time, talents and treasure.
As many of you know, BUUF depends on pledges for the majority of our income, in addition to a small contribution from our endowment fund, rental income, unpledged donations and in-kind donations. Our just-get-by pledge goal this year is $45,000, a $4,000 increase from last year. If achieved, it will allow us to add a healthy ring to our trunk and keep up our great work within and outside our fellowship. We can continue paying for our music director position and possibly a long-term technical assistant for our services. We can continue and even add to our work in the community. Our aspirational pledge goal is $55,000. This will allow us to make progress on some long-term priorities, such as building & grounds updates and future hybrid (in-person and online) services, as well as exploring long-term possibilities like a green burial program, recycling projects, community education and/or the construction of a covered pavilion.
You will soon receive a gift bag from BUUF with some fun supplies for spring! In that bag, you will also find a pledge letter explaining the pledge request and a pledge form. Please take the time to read the letter and submit your pledge. If you can, please increase your pledge from last year by 5% or more. More of us will need to give, or all of us will need to give more, in order to achieve our goal. Thank you, fellow gardeners, for helping to grow and sustain this community tree we call BUUF!