Thank You for Being There
As we find ourselves in the midst of this year’s annual budget drive, I want to invite you to pause for a moment and reflect on all the ways we can show up for one another. Showing up is the quintessential act of the human spirit, for everything flows from our presence, and our presence is made manifest when we fully show up. We can show up physically, we can show up mentally and emotionally, we can show up through the gift of our attention, we can show up through our listening and through our sharing of our interests and hopes. We can show up through our empathic concern for one another. Showing up is only part of the picture, however. For our presence to be meaningful we have to act, and out of our action arises our engagement with one another. Presence and engagement are the molecular elements that lie at the core of our shared ministry and our shared stewardship. In our shared ministry, every time we connect, every time we communicate, whether face-to-face or through some other medium to further our spiritual growth, we are showing up and engaging with one another. In our shared stewardship, every time we devote energy, time, or resources to furthering the wellbeing of FUUSN, we are showing up and engaging with one another either directly or indirectly.
In past annual budget drives, I must admit I haven’t typically approached pledging as an opportunity to show up and engage with the rest of you because pledging hasn’t felt personal. I’ve experienced myself as pledging to an intermediary (FUUSN) and the impact of my pledge as being diffused throughout the congregation. Pledging has been about taking care of business so that we could get on with the real business of FUUSN. But this year I’m approaching it differently and the results so far have been eye-opening.
Pledging has become intensely personal as I’ve come to appreciate the impact of my pledging on everyone else and the impact of everyone else’s pledging on me. For me, the value of the act of pledging lies less in the amount we pledge—though this is absolutely crucial to our collective well-being—and more in the opportunity pledging offers to show up and engage meaningfully with the rest of the community. The value of pledging equally lies in the opportunity for the rest of the community to potentially show up and engage meaningfully with me.
Recognizing and appreciating how we can show up and engage with one another on a personal as well as collective level opens the door to gratitude. Gratitude is the other side of our investment in one another that is represented by our financial pledge. That investment becomes a gift when it is received and appreciated as something that is directly benefiting me as well as you the investor. It becomes something of value that we share, for our co-participation in pledging produces a co-ownership of the impact of our pledging. If I pledge and you benefit from that pledge, and if you pledge and I benefit from your pledge, that pledging is now a gift that we share, that we can appreciate, and that we can be grateful for even without knowing that it specifically came from you and I.
Thus, at the heart of pledging is the opportunity to show up and engage with one another. And at the heart of showing up and engaging with one another is the opportunity to simultaneously give and receive, the exchange that is more than an exchange, the exchange that is potentially transformative for us all. So thank you for being there. Thank you for showing up and engaging. And thank you for helping me to transform my pledging into something quite unanticipated and unexpected.
-Chris Krebs, Board of Trustees