At the heart of Unitarian Universalism is the faith that every person can make a meaningful difference in our communities and in the world. We have faith in generosity, a conviction that our shared gifts of love and labor can heal ourselves and others. To be fair, this is a challenging faith. Most of us waver in it and in our generosity, fearing that our open-hearted religion may lead us beyond the bounds of safety, that it might call us to give too much away.
This fear is particularly strong--and difficult to talk about--when it comes to money. We harbor a feeling that it is crass to discuss personal income, rude to ask for money, and indiscreet to even bring up the subject of financial obligation. But talk about it we must. Money is not "the root of all evil" but a symbol of value. Spent one way, it can make us comfortable, boost our self-image, and make us feel secure. Spent another way, money becomes the tool of our faith and our commitment to the things that matter to us. The allocation of our resources is a matter of choices, and talking about it proves both necessary and spiritually healthy.
The sermons in this collection serve as models for talking about fundraising in terms of a theology of money. They shine a light on the fundamentally religious nature of giving, and they do so with graciousness, wisdom, humor, directness, and understanding. Rather than fearing that we will ask for or be asked for too much, these sermons help us appreciate the opportunity that fundraising offers us to look deeply at the things that we value. Giving is a way to express our beliefs and use our financial power in positive ways.
—from the Introduction
"This collection of sermons is a fabulous resource for our congregations. Although the focus is on money and the shift from a culture of scarcity to one of abundance, the sermons and the observations from Sweetser and Milnor invite the individual reader and the congregation into reflection that can be transformative. This book is less about money than it is about living a spiritually-grounded life."
—William Sinkford, UUA President
"Whoever said that ministry and fundraising have little to do with each other? Ministers are fundraisers. They have to be. Their jobs and the health of their institutions depend on it. And in a funny kind of way fundraisers are ministers?people who need to be good listeners and to help unlock and guide the sometimes hidden needs of their donors. Having been both a minister and a fundraiser, I wish I'd had this book on hand years before this. Anyone who raises money for a cause will relish it."
—William F. Schulz, Executive Director, Amnesty International USA, 1994-2006; UUA President, 1985-1993
"Religious professionals and laypersons alike will find these sermons on stewardship both inspiring and thought-provoking. Talking about money and understanding the 'theology of abundance and generosity' are not particularly easy for Unitarian Universalists, and there has been a gap in resources to assist us in doing so. The Abundance of Our Faith helps fill that gap. The sermons in this book were judged the most effective in addressing money and giving as they relate to our Unitarian Universalist faith, values and vision. Sweetser and Milnor enable us to explore what it means to be generous in both our personal and collective lives as religious people and to articulate that more effectively."
—Mary L. Miles, former Director of the UUA Annual Program Fund