Learn how to talk about money from the experts. Nineteen winners of the Annual Program Fund Sermon Contest, from 1984 to 2005. This unusual resource is useful for stewardship sermons, retreats, workshops, canvass presentations and group study. Sweetser is UUA vice president for stewardship and development and Milnor has 20 years experience as a parish minister.
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