THE VIEW FROM BEACON HILL
Paul Blackburn, PNWD Annual Program Fund Chair
Mid-Columbia UU Fellowship, Hood River, OR
Pictured here with daughters Althea and Rosalie
Our work together is very important. While most of our time and
energy is spent with our own congregations – worship, budgeting,
education, ministry – we achieve on a different level when we
collaborate as a District and a national Association.
As a member of a small rural fellowship, I am acutely aware of the benefits of the larger UU organizations. Our work here in rural Oregon can feel a bit like a “voice crying in the wilderness”, and when I get a chance to talk with other folks about their work in their congregation, I feel a certain refreshing encouragement: “Hey, that happens to us too!” “Have you ever tried…?” “Gosh, we’re not alone!”
I recently travelled to Boston to meet with my fellow volunteers on the Annual Program Fund committee. Among us, we represent the 19 Districts of the UUA. My friends and compatriots - from John in LA to Don in southeastern Massachusetts – are offering their leadership and hard work for the benefit of their home congregations just like I am way out here. And I am so grateful to them for it.
During our meetings in the townhouse at 25 Beacon St, overlooking the Massachusetts Statehouse and the 377-year-old Boston Common, I was inspired by the deep roots of our denomination. The oldest continuously active pulpit in the country is alive and well at King’s Chapel UU church. Massachusetts ratified the Constitution in Arlington Street UU Church. We’ve been there since the founding of our country, and that feels great.
I also was inspired by some great ideas and encouraging stories. We grappled together with budget gaps and challenging realities, but we also heard from President Morales about our UUA’s programs across the country and beyond. Our faith is at work on the regional, national and global playing field because we choose to band together and make it so. Just as we work in our home communities for the best church and town we can envision, the PNWD and UUA are our arm in the larger world.
You will receive your District pledge “form” (it’s actually an online questionnaire these days) very soon; thanks in advance for responding promptly. Our work together is indeed very important.
To each of you reading this, I wish to say “Thanks for what you’re doing… at home and on the road. We’re over here doing our bit, keep up the good work over there.”
Paul Blackburn is an active member of the Mid-Columbia UU Fellowship in Hood River, OR. He is also our Pacific Northwest District's volunteer representative to the UUA’s Annual Program Fund (APF). The Annual Program Fund, made up of contributions by member congregations, is the largest single source of funding for the UUA. Paul also supports PNWD congregations in the shared collection of district dues, the primary source of funding for local initiatives and programs for our member congregations. PNWD also receives grants from the UUA in proportion to our congregations' support of the APF. Your contributions to the APF and district dues support the health and vitality of all UUA congregations and strengthen the presence of our voice and values in the world.
Fair Share District Dues for Fiscal Year 2011/12 will be $23 per member, same as 2010/11.
UUA Annual Program Fund will request Fair Share contributions of $58 per member for Fiscal Year 2011/12. This represents a $2 increase, the first in two years. For more information on the APF, click here.