Dear colleague,

Stewardship in Advent? It may seem “unspiritual” to talk about money during Advent. But every Advent, charities see their members and friends make some of their biggest gifts. People give at this time of year, so I recommend taking time in this season to talk about generosity as a spiritual practice.
Consider giving a sermon or, if you are a lay leader, a testimony about generosity. Start with an explanation of generosity such as that of Christian Smith: “What generosity gives can vary: money, possessions, time, attention, aid, encouragement, and more but it always intends to enhance the true well-being of the receiver.”
 
And then connect this expansive practice of giving with our sacred stories, such as Mary’s Magnificat (typically read on Dec. 13 or 20). Mary sang a song of all the amazing things God had done: “he has brought down the powerful from their thrones and lifted up the lowly.” The things Mary’s song described remained incomplete in her day (and our own). She sang as if
 
This great song of faith in what God would do began with the words “my soul magnifies the Lord.” I like the way this word – used by Mary to mean ‘extol’ – has the more familiar meaning intensifying. Mary intensifies the Lord. She makes the Divine greater. She concentrates on the Holy.
 
In my life, generosity becomes my way to live the Magnificat. The practice of sharing is how I live into a world where all God’s transformation has been done. It’s an as if practice, through generosity I live as if all that we hope for already existed. My giving allows me to help magnify and intensify the work of God’s spirit. 
 
Whether with the story of the Magnificat or another, I encourage you to reflect with your congregation on the practice of generosity.
 
Yours in faith,
Andrew Warner

Webinar: Evangelism and Outreach: The Role of a Website
December 16, 3:00 pm CT
In this one-hour webinar, digital marketing experts will introduce participants to a website's role in reaching faith seekers and engaging faith communities. Register to join this free webinar and gain a better understanding of:
  • The digital landscape and the importance of being discoverable online
  • The features and benefits of the UCC Everywhere (UCCE) website development program offered through the Office of Philanthropy, Technology, Identity, and Communication (OPTIC) at the National Setting
 
The following subject matter experts will lead the session: Kyle Schnurbusch, OrgStory, and UCCE development partner, and Cynthia Bailie and Keri Foster, OPTIC, and UCCE Co-founders.
 
We want UCC congregations to be in the best position to respond to people seeking a faith community. A quality website optimized to show up in the Google search results can be an important evangelism tool. The Wisconsin Conference Emergency Fund can provide financial resources to help make this attainable. 
 

Resource to Promote Stock Contributions

While most people give to congregations through cash and checks (or online), some find it advantageous to give gifts of stock. Please share the attached resource within your community to encourage stock gifts. Contact Andrew Warner if you need help thinking through how your congregation can receive these gifts.
Emergency Grants Still Available

Emergency Grants are still available through The Wisconsin Conference Emergency Response Fund, which was created to provide resources as congregations experience financial hardship, meet crucial needs in their community, and adapt to new ways of ministry at this time. Funds can be used for a wide range of purposes, including but not limited to leadership education, programming, outreach, and technology (both equipment and consultants to make the best use of the tech). Through the generosity of our donors, we can offer unrestricted grants of $500 to $2000 to congregations. To date, grants have provided critical help to 44 congregations and United Church Camps Inc. That's 20% of the congregations in our conference! Click HERE for more information and to apply.

Recommended Resources

Webinar: Awaiting Generosity
Want to learn more about connecting generosity and the season of Advent? Check out Andrew Warner’s Awaiting Generosity” Webinar from the Heartland Conference. 
Generosity How-To Video Series
Drawing on his own experience and shaped by insights on best practices from the Lake Institute, Andrew Warner designed the 14-video series "Extravagant Generosity" to provide resources to congregations. Because fundraising arises from our faith commitments, the series begins by looking at the spirituality of generosity through conversations with the national leaders of the UCC. Then, it looks at ways to express gratitude for people's generosity. Lastly, the series turns to the practical elements of a campaign, such as giving a testimonial and creating a narrative budget. You can watch the videos as a series or singly. The videos on the spirituality of generosity might be useful as devotionals before a board or committee meeting. Find the videos HERE.

Generosity Resources on the Web
Check out the resources available on the Wisconsin Conference Generosity Resources website at wcucc.org/generosity
Generosity Forward Print Newsletter - another resource for your generosity practices
Did you receive the Generosity Forward Print Newsletter in your mailbox recently? This 8-page quarterly publication provides unique content that highlights the impact of our giving, lifts up ways people can make gifts, and reflects on the practice of giving in our faith. Sharing our stories of giving helps us feel hope as we see the difference we make together. Stories help us feel connected, and give us a deeper understanding of how and why to give. You're sure to find these insights helpful in your own generosity practices. Download the Generosity Forward Print Newsletter HERE.

Want to make sure you get this newsletter mailed to you each quarter? Send your name and mailing address to resourcecenter@wcucc.org and we'll be sure to include you in future mailings.
Help Others - Donate Now
The General Fund of the Wisconsin Conference helps us connect, support, and resource pastors, leaders, and congregations. Your gift allows the Conference to provide relevant and timely help during the current pandemic and beyond. Donate to the General Fund.
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Wisconsin Conference UCC | wcucc.org