I must be the Rip Van Winkle of the Communications Scene. I grew up and fell asleep back when folks said that you have to send out a message three times in three ways to have a good chance of it being absorbed. Now our Pledge Drive leader Tracey Harrington, an experienced school principal, and our office manager, Laura Asermily, tell me the common wisdom is that information needs to travel seven times in seven ways to reach its intended destination.

Maybe George Bernard Shaw’s pre-World War II complaint that “the single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place” is getting truer with time. Are more channels of communication making contacting an entire congregation harder than ever? That seems especially so if we are trying to talk about deeply meaningful issues like stewardship of CVUUS.

Stewardship refers to the careful management of something valuable entrusted to one’s care. The phrase goes back at least as far as the Biblical mandate that humans are to be stewards of Earth on behalf of God – a mandate often wrongly translated by power-hungry humans as permission to rule over Earth for their own benefit. Stewardship is on my mind, of course, because we are about to start our annual pledge drive. The form varies but it’s always an all-congregation effort to project what financial resources we are reasonably likely to have available in the church year starting July 1. Working backward from that good-faith estimate, your staff and lay leaders fashion a balanced budget proposal. Then our members are asked to approve it (with amendments if any are agreed upon) at the annual meeting in June.

When I think of CVUUS, there so much to unpack in that simple-sounding concept of stewardship. What exactly is the “something valuable”? It includes what we have already created, like powerful memories, a beautiful facility, a religious exploration program for children, and a caring network of members and friends. It also includes our expanding potential to represent UU values in the wider world. But there is so much more to our value that words fail.

Beyond that, who has entrusted CVUUS to our care? (Oh, those wonderful ghosts I see among you at every worship service!) What constitutes management that is careful enough to protect what is valuable but not so cautious and restrictive that it is hard for us to grow, change, and thrive? What difference does it make to us, the stewards, how we organize ourselves and our resources to meet our management challenges?

I could go on (and will, in other ways at other times). Meanwhile, I pray you will join me in welcoming with open minds and hearts the invitation you will soon receive from Tracey’s team to pledge as generously as you are able. Stewardship of all that CVUUS is and could become is a life- and love-sustaining opportunity to live out UU values.

Blessed be, Rev. Barnaby