As our mission statement says, “We are a Christian community of people who are reaching out to our neighbors, at home and abroad, sharing our faith and our resources.”
First and foremost, we would like to thank you for your commitment to Central Square Congregational Church, UCC, and the work that we do in Jesus’ name. And now, more than ever, we need to do God’s work.
While it is a bit later than usual, we are preparing our annual budget (2020-21). We were fortunate in our last fiscal year, although our plate offerings and fundraisers were down, to meet our pledged funds budget, despite the last quarter being in the middle of a pandemic that shut down our church building and in-person worship. And we are deeply appreciative.
As you know, gifts, tithes, and offerings that we receive are what we use to determine what expenses we can incur, and what programs we can support. Expenses for such things as our Pastor and our small number of crucial part-time support staff; our livestreaming of worship; our music program; our Sunday school and youth programs; heat, water, lights, gas, and other utilities for our church, our church kitchen, and the Bridgewater food pantry; everyday repairs and maintenance; keeping our spaces clean; insurance; office supplies and expenses; and of course, our Christian outreach.
This year is a bit different than most:
• First, it is likely we will not be able to run our major fundraisers, or at least not to the monetary degree that we normally do;
• Second, we do not have the opportunity to accept in-person donations from visitors and members at our weekly worship services, through at least December;
• Third, we are currently not able to invite groups and individuals to rent our facility for meetings and gatherings.
While some minor cost savings are also part of the current environment, it is in no way an equal trade. We are deeply appreciative that, so far, we have been able to keep up with our payroll expenses, thereby keeping our staff from experiencing a loss of income. And our goal is to continue doing so as long as we are able.
With all of this in mind, we’re simply asking you if you are able, to give a bit more this year than you normally do. Are you able to give another dollar per week? Perhaps another $5? $10? Perhaps more. Or, perhaps you aren’t able to do any increase at this time. Maybe you are able to give a one-time additional gift to help tide us over, or maybe your finances are unusually tight, or uncertain, and you are not able to gift anything extra, or perhaps not even your usual giving. Whatever your situation, we understand.
Whether you can consider committing to more this year, or wish to make a completely different pledge commitment from last year, we invite you to fill out an annual giving form (see below). If you are keeping your pledge the same as last year, you need not fill out a form.
And as always, there is no penalty if circumstances change and you are not able to meet your annual giving pledge. While we ask that your amount be realistic for you, things sometimes change unexpectedly, especially in these uncertain times, and so must your commitments. Conversely, sometimes we also find ourselves in a surplus of resources, and we welcome any additional amount you find you can give along the way, even if it is above your pledge amount, and even if it’s just a one-time extra donation.
And please know that your giving amounts are kept confidential. Online forms are sent directly to the Treasurer’s inbox, and sealed envelopes are put directly in the hands of our Financial Secretary.
Please feel free to share this information, the links to the forms on our website, or the paper forms with family, friends, and neighbors, or anyone you know who wants to help support our work. Additional forms are available by calling or emailing the church office.
And remember a few things:
• There is never a penalty for not meeting your pledge. Life is unpredictable. Circumstances change. Sometimes for the better, sometimes not. Should it become unrealistic for you to contribute as you thought you might, we would always want you to do what is best for you and your family.
• Your pledged figure is kept confidential. The Financial Secretary is the only person who processes pledges in our church, with the support of our Treasurers (for electronic submissions).
• Giving additional amounts above your pledge is always an option. It seems odd to say, but you are not constrained to the amount you pledge should you find you have more to give, either on an ongoing basis, or on a one-time occasion. Your additional gifts will further help us meet our budget obligations and to support our ministries.
• You need not be a church member to commit to annual giving. Again, total pledged giving drives our annual budget, and allows us to plan our ministry. Commitments in the form of pledges are welcome from all.
• CSCC receives no funds from the town, the state, or the United Church of Christ. All of the money we have available for ministry and other operating expenses comes from you and from our fundraisers.
Thank you again for your support of God’s work in our world. Now more than ever.