There are many ways that we put our faith into action; generosity is one of them. Bob Brennand outlines many of the ways that OUUC puts faith into action with charitable giving and offers an update on Share the Plate.
Thank you to Bob for his leadership of the Share the Plate Team. He is joined in this work by Maureen Fitzgerald, Selden Hall, Anne Hundley, Zoe Myers, and John Rapano.
As we say each Sunday, may the offering be generously given as it is gratefully received.
Blessings on your week.
Share the Plate Update
By Bob Brennand
Share the Plate (STP), along with the Minister’s Benevolence Fund (MBF), Books, Beans and Brownies (BBB), Raise the Paddle, and Faith in Action donations make up the predominant OUUC’s financial giving to the local community. Share the Plate is a long-time program to share weekly offerings with community organizations. Many UU congregations have some form of Share the Plate offering program. OUUC’s STP program traditionally distributed funds from six two-month periods each year, with the offerings for the first four Sundays each month split equally between Operating Funds and the STP recipient.
Contributions have risen over time, with recent annual contributions near double amounts prior to 2009. This has allowed STP to distribute $2,300-$4,200 to each recipient in the last two years. STP applicants apply through October of the year prior to receiving their funds, so one downside of STP funding is that an organization has to wait four to fourteen months to collect their funds. The STP Committee wanted a way to help increase donations to urgent needs, so starting in 2021, 1/8 of the STP collections were designated to the Minister’s Benevolence Fund (MBF), which focuses more on short term, urgent community needs.
There are 53 services per year at OUUC, including Christmas Eve service. There are two ways that offerings are split at each service:
- “Share the Plate” services – 48/year (6 recipients x 8 Sundays) of those are typically “STP” services, with the contributions split 50% to Operating Funds, 44% to Share the Plate, and 6% to the Minister’s Benevolence Fund.
- “Minister’s Benevolence Fund” services – For the remaining 5 services/year (fifth Sundays of a month and Christmas Eve), the contributions are split at the Minister’s discretion. Sometimes this is 50% to Operating Funds and 50% to the MBF, but Christmas Eve has traditionally been 100% to the MBF, while disaster relief and the annual partner church offerings typically are allocated 100% of the offerings.
Typical Sunday service funding split:
On an annual basis, the Operating Fund collects approximately 47% of the contributions, with STP collecting approximately 40%, the MBF approximately 10%, and other funds such as the partner church and disaster relief or special offerings 3%.
In the future, it will be announced during the offering portion of the service whether it is an “STP” Sunday, or a “MBF” Sunday, in case congregants want to direct their offering in one direction or the other to meet their giving preferences.
The STP Committee could currently use one or two new members, so if you are interested, please contact Bob Brennand through Realm or 360-310-0747. Most of the work is in the June to October timeframe and involves fine tuning the STP application, marketing for applicants, reading, reviewing, and scoring applications, working together to agree on the final six recipients, and then collaborating with the recipients and Jo Sahlin to create a short video and organizational statement to share online. Last year we had about twenty applications for the six openings. Most of the applications were impressive with the organizations doing valuable and worthwhile work, so the decisions were not easy.