My Stewardship by Cindy Hackett

When Tori asked me to speak about what motivates our commitment to stewardship of

this church, I thought sure, no big deal. If I can facilitate a sexuality curriculum with sixth

graders, I can do this. Then I listened to the example she included with the request. The

guy was a flat out comedian who had the congregation leaning forward for his next witty

sentence. Jeez… And then I read UUA best practices about selecting whom the church

might want to choose to give a stewardship testimonial. Double jeez . . .


Okay . . . take a breath, smooth the twist in my knickers, and consult my heart and mind so I can tell you my microscopic truth about why we choose to commit our resources –

emotional, physical, and financial – to this church.


I am a progressive who appreciates a counterpoint of conservatism. I am an idealist

who needs the balance of reality. I value the amazing diversity of this world yet ground

myself in my local community. I am an institutionalist who seeks a local church in which

to thrive. This is my third UU church, each different all similar. Common ground?

Values, values, values. Every week I read the Purposes and Principles in the order of

service. Each week I read those words and breathe them into my soul. If I am to live

those words I must support the institution that encourages me go out into my community and convert those words into action:

  • Working with Pierce Conservation District to monitor a local stream
  • Serving meals to families on Dr. Suess night at Mann Elementary
  • Sanding, varnishing, and painting wooden boats at the Gig Harbor BoatShop to help keep those practices in the hearts and minds of now and future generations
  • Ringing doorbells and making phone calls to help get a bond passed that will provide adequate space for our children in our schools
  • Donating to our local food bank
  • Serving on the TUUC Board of Trustees to help our congregation set and realize goals, big and small

And the list goes on…


Your list will be different and will reflect what speaks most strongly to your heart and

mind. What is important to me is that I feel inspired and supported by this church to live

my values…my values that are reflected in our purposes and principles.


Doing stuff is actually the easy part for me. The financial part of being a part of the UU

community was harder. I didn’t grow up churched and was a little dense about the

whole money thing. Wasn’t the odd bit I dug out of my pocket and put in the collection

plate enough? Did the church actually need a regular income stream? This is

embarrassing but as a volunteer, I really didn’t think about the business of running a

church: the building needs maintenance; people use toilet paper; churches use utilities

just like any other structure; the staff – minister and others – needs compensation so

they can live. Being a minister, a director of religious education, a choir director, a

pianist, a church administrator is a profession, and we pay professionals (often not



We learned quickly, however, and financial stewardship of our church, the UUA and the

UUSC became part of our household budget. We have made a financial commitment to

every UU church we have been part of, a commitment to support an entity that we value

and that values us. And by committing to be a steward of TUUC, we feel that we not

only support this church community – all of us – but the work of this church in the wider

community and the work of Unitarian Universalism in this world. And it is important and

good work.


Money touches every part of our lives. Using dollars to make a difference – putting my

money where my mouth is – is as important as walking the talk.


Let me close by quoting a curriculum on stewardship that I tripped across:

“Stewardship is not just about caring for the present, but investing in the future. We hold

what we value—including our Unitarian Universalist congregations and institutions—in

trust. As stewards, we work to ensure that what we cherish will be there in the future for

the benefit of others. Furthermore, successful stewards not only protect, but help what

they value to grow. Their actions are empowering. This is true whether we are

caretakers of our planet, trustees of our congregation, or stewards of our Unitarian

Universalist faith.”

Cindy Hackett, Member, Tahoma UU Congregation