By Tiffany Vail
Associate Conference Minister for Communications
Leaders of the newly forming Southern New England conference are asking churches to think in a new way about giving to the wider church: to share a percentage of income in proportion to their gifts from God.
The new Conference Board of Directors has approved a Proportional Giving approach to replace the current system, where churches are asked to give both to Our Church’s Wider Mission Basic Support and through membership dues (known as Fellowship Dues in Massachusetts and Rhode Island and Per Capita Contributions in Connecticut).
“Our new Board is excited to offer the proportional giving model as the way to support our mission and ministry to live the love and justice of Jesus,” said Connecticut Conference Minister Rev. Kent Siladi. “We are grateful for our congregations sharing of resources and together we can accomplish our mission and ministry through our churches generous giving.”
Board Chair Rev. Corey Sanderson said tying wider church funding to church membership numbers no longer makes sense.
"We are not a health club where members pay ‘dues,’ and our local churches are not denominational franchises. Those days are over,” he said. “We are now partnering together in ministry and harnessing the incredible gifts God has given us to serve here and abroad.”
“When we each give proportionally to our local church, we do so out of generosity and joy. Why shouldn’t our churches model that same faithful stewardship with the conference that we ask of our very own people? Proportional giving ensures we can make an even greater impact in the world now and into the future,” Sanderson said.
The announcement from the Board reads in part:
Proportional giving is based on an understanding of generosity rooted in scripture. Our sacred texts remind us that all we have is a gift from God and they invite us to give joyfully in proportion to these gifts. The financial expression of proportional giving is sharing a percentage of income as a grateful response to what God has given us.
In the context of the new Southern New England Conference, Proportional Giving (PG) is a financial expression of covenant commitment by local churches to support the Conference and National UCC through sharing a percentage of local church income. It invites each of our churches to become faithful participants in a movement to make Southern New England a more just and loving part of the world.
SNEUCC leaders are committed to re-examining traditional ways of doing things, understanding the changing context of church, and imagining approaches that fit who we intend to be. In deciding on funding, giving patterns were examined, as was the Massachusetts Conference’s four-year experience with a version of PG, United Church Mission. Funding structures were considered in terms of how they support faithful ministry partnerships among all Church settings. Our mission and vision statement reminded us to embrace and encourage adaptive and transformative leadership as agents of change, and of the high value placed on forging and maintaining the best possible covenant relationships. All of these indicated that it was time to invite congregations to join in a new Conference funding approach.
Find the Board’s full statement, and information on how this will be implemented, at: