My Stewardship by Christine Chansley

I’m going to keep this simple by trying to authentically answer only two questions: Why am I here? Why do I pledge?

Question 1: Why am I here?

I come to TUUC because I think this world is a very messed up place on many levels  – the state of the environment, discrimination in so many places, war, poverty, I could go on. If I really think about it hard, my mind starts to buzz and paralysis sets in. But, TUUC, and the UU faith give me some hope for the future.

This poem by Nicolette Sowder captures it.

Every time I read it, it brings tears to my eyes to think of how we, here at TUUC, are teaching our youth (and ourselves) to speak for those who have no voice.


Which brings us to Question 2: Why do I pledge?

In a nutshell, because this institution needs an infrastructure to do its job. A building that shelters is nice. Heat. Insurance. And most importantly to me the people at the core of this place, our professional staff, whose compensation makes up a sizable portion of the budget. When I pledge, I am thinking about my responsibility to these people—to Libby, to Susie, to Nancy, to Linda. Because “I” am the employer and “I” want to be a fair and compassionate employer. I want to be an employer that I would be willing to work for. You know an employer that gives you a fair raise and affordable access to healthcare. And when I see their faces, I want to know that I have helped make it possible—not because I feel benevolent today, but because it is my responsibility as a member of this congregation.

So, when I pledge I am holding myself accountable for providing fair compensation to our professional staff. Because I need them, we need them, to sustain this place. I want this place to be overflowing with people finding their people. I want it to be full of children – little baby sounds during quiet moments, strong-minded 5-year-olds running too fast down the stairs and even perhaps some squeals echoing up between the floors from time to time, and seeking 14-year-olds turning into bridging young adults. I want us to continue to grow our role in speaking up for those who have no voice or whose voice has been silenced. To do that, I need to actually pledge as generously as I want to. So here is how I do it. I pick a time when I am inspired and optimistic about the world to discuss our pledge for next year with my partner – this year I will use our son’s OWL graduation celebration to catch it just right. Seriously, if you are feeling down, and if you can stand the noise, those 5, 6, and 7-year-olds learning to ask for consent and name all their body parts will give you a boost.  So where were we?  Pledge form. Bank account. Bam, it is done. I have pledged with my heart. Thank you.

Christine Chansley, Member, Tahoma UU Congregation