The Institutionalizing a Ministry of Generosity (IMG) program espouses the idea that generosity is more than an action – it is an abiding attitude and a culture that encompasses many areas of congregational life far beyond money.
Congregations who are intentional about adopting new practices and paying attention to the need for cultural shifts are open to all types of giving. What does being more generous with our time look like? Could we be more welcoming, or more generous listeners? What kinds of programs could we develop within our congregational life to promote and transform our culture around all these contributions?
The IMG program is sponsored by the Pacific Western Region (PWR) of the UUA. The region provides materials and support to engage congregational leaders and help them with their work. At UUSM, volunteers have already participated in three web conference calls with other PWR congregations to begin brainstorming and to learn what other congregations are doing. Leaders from all the participating congregations will gather for a retreat February 15–17 in Phoenix, AZ, to create a 3-year plan that is specific to their congregation.
The Rev. Greg Ward, Stewardship Cochairs Gretchen Goetz and Kit Shaw, Olga Felton, and Sarah Robson are leading what we envision will become a large team here at UUSM. We’ve been working on our “homework,” which is a personal reflection on generosity. We invite all member to ask themselves,
- Are there areas of my congregational life in which I find it easier to be generous?
- Whom do I see modeling generosity, and how do they show it?
- How do early messages I learned about money shape my feelings and attitudes today?
- Looking at my current resources, are there ways in which I’d like to be more generous?
- In what ways could my fellow members support me to do more?
- In what ways does the congregation already call for my generosity?
- What role does gratitude play in my life?
Please think about how these issues present stumbling blocks and promote joy in your life. Then discuss it with an IMG leader or any of the Connectors who are stepping forward to share their stories and explore your values, attitudes, and commitment.
IMG and Stewardship leaders continue to enlist Connectors, who will each meet with a handful of fellow congregants, one-on-one, to hear their personal stories and who are curious to learn new facets of our common vision and hopes for a brighter future.
We seek to move beyond reactionary responses and technical financial fixes. A more intentional and comprehensive approach to a culture of giving can nurture the generosity that glows within each of us.
Gretchen Goetz and Kit Shaw
Stewardship Committee Cochairs