Unitarian Congregation of West Chester (West Chester, PA) 7431
Change “Generosity” to “Service”
Generosity. We cultivate a spirit of gratitude and hope.
We covenant to freely and compassionately share our faith, presence, and resources. Our generosity connects us to one another in relationships of interdependence and mutuality.
Service. We cultivate a spirit of giving and hope.
We covenant to freely and compassionately share our faith, presence, and resources. Service connects us to one another in relationships of interdependence and mutuality.
(Changed words are in bold)
“Generosity” can mean many things, but in our congregations and much of society, it is too often used as a synonym for “large financial gifts.” In my congregations I have had members who have told me me “I cannot afford to be generous.” Including “generosity” in the list of values erroneously gives the impression, both to our members and those outside Unitarian Universalism, that we place a higher value on people with greater financial means. I believe it is language that can lead some people to feel excluded on the basis of economic class, while misleading others as to our intentions. In short, it could be read as, “One of our core values is for people to give us money.” Obviously this is not the intention!
Changing “generosity” to “service” keeps the spirit of the original, while using inclusive language that does not carry class connotations. Anyone can serve others, and all congregations can serve one another, Unitarian Universalism, and the world.
Changing “gratitude” to “giving” helps maintain some of the sense of the original, while opening the door to the many ways we give through service.
I believe Unitarian Universalists are called to live our faith - to my ears, “service” reflects this commitment much more than “generosity.”
The handful of congregation members and religious professionals I’ve spoken to about this have seemed generally receptive to the idea.