Celebration Sunday "Make it Count"

30 January 2018
"We know what is at stake (...). It is why we are fearless and why we will not be silent." - Lily Eskelsen Garcia "We know what is at stake (...). It is why we are fearless and why we will not be silent." - Lily Eskelsen Garcia

Whether this is your first, fifth, or umpteenth Celebration Sunday, you are in for a treat this year. Mark March 4 in your calendar, attend either service (or both!) and celebrate First Unitarian Church: its dedicated staff, members, and friends; our commitment to social justice and the environment; the joyous music and religious education departments; and the different ways—large and small—First Church touches your life, impacts our shared community, and supports what’s best within humanity, especially in these topsy-turvy times. This year’s theme for Celebration Sunday is simple yet powerful: Make It Count. Whatever you do, do it with intention. Have a positive effect. Set things right.

Did I mention a treat? We are thrilled to welcome back a longtime friend of First Church, Lily Eskelsen García. Lily, who started her career as a cafeteria worker before becoming an elementary school teacher in the Granite School District, was the 1989 Utah Teacher of the Year. She now presides over the National Education Association, the largest Union in the country, in Washington DC. From teaching homeless and hard-to-place foster children in Salt Lake City to joining President Obama’s Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics, from writing parenting columns and protest songs (sometimes one and the same) to speaking out against Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’s undermining of the nation’s public schools, Lily makes every day count. She’s a Unitarian Universalist with close ties to many First Church members. She will be back among friends this Celebration Sunday to speak (and, we hope, sing) at the 9 am and 11 am services. Make your Sunday count—and don’t miss Lily.

Here’s another way you can make Celebration Sunday count: the day marks the beginning of our annual pledge drive, and your pledge, well, it counts! Whether you have signed the membership book or are a friend of First Church, your pledge is a major component of the annual budget and supports daily operations. We absolutely welcome collection plate contributions, but they don’t allow us to create a budget—your pledge does. And because we have great things planned for next year, our goal for the pledge drive is ambitious but doable: $583,000—a 5% increase over last year.

If we meet our goal, our church will continue to make it count. We will triple the budget of the music department from $4,000 to $12,000, which will allow us to recognize David Zabriskie as Associate Music Director. We will keep a second minister and significantly invest into security so that our programs and events will serve a growing congregation in a safe and welcoming environment. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, we will increase staff salaries. While we can’t give our staff the 4% raise recommended by the UUA, after many years of static salaries we need to provide our professional staff with a 2% cost-of-living increase. To make these things happen, we need you to make it count—with your participation, your heart, and your pledge.

Stop by the pledge table in Eliot Hall between Celebration Sunday and Easter Sunday, and Make It Count!