Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about church finances:
1. Do I have to pay anything to attend services and programs at the Church?
No. You do not.
When you find that this is your religious home and you decide to become a member of First Church in Jamaica Plain, UU, you will be expected to make an annual financial contribution to the Church that is meaningful for you. You need not be a member to attend services or programs, but when you feel that this is a place you would like to build community and sink down roots, that would be a good time to officially become a member.
2. Where does the money come from at the Church, and where does it go?
A typical church year budget is based on about $220,000 in income and expenses. Church members vote on that budget every year. The church’s fiscal year runs from July 1 to June 30.
About two-thirds of the Church’s income comes from member contributions. Rentals of the Church, fundraisers, and a significant contribution from the First Church Trust make up the difference.
Most of the Church’s income goes to pay our hardworking staff and to maintain and operate our historic building. We also give to fulfill our covenant as a member congregation of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA). This annual contribution to our UUA's Annual Program Fund is expected of each congregation, and strengthens Unitarian Universalism within our congregations and beyond. Our Church was an "Honor Congregation" for many years, contributing the requested amount every year. During the 2020-2021 year, we chose not to make our full contribution, due to lost revenue during the pandemic.
3. How and when do Church members make and pay pledges?
Each spring, the Church conducts an annual budget drive to ask members and friends of the Church to pledge their financial support to the church in the coming church year.
Members can make contributions toward their pledges at any time during the church year. Some members choose to make their entire contribution at once. Others make quarterly, monthly, or weekly contributions. It is helpful if members can make some significant contribution toward their pledges during the first part of the church year so that the Church can pay its expenses over the course of the year.
Members make contributions toward their pledges in several different ways: by making an online contribution on Sunday, by sending checks to the Church office, or by having an electronic bill payment service automatically send payments to the Church.
4. What is the Trust?
The Church has an endowment, held in trust, to secure the long term financial stability and mission of this Church through prudent investing and spending. Individual bequests were critical in creating and building the Trust from its inception and they are just as important today for the future of this Church. We invite all interested members and friends to include the Church when drafting their will or preparing their estate plan.
Want to know more?
Contact the Church Treasurer or any member of the Standing Committee.