Written by Gregg Brekke
Brisk sales for a first-ever General Synod fundraising dinner have prompted organizers to extend the ticket deadline to June 24.
"Imagine What's Possible, Florida," a $100-a-ticket reception and dinner, will be held Saturday, July 2, in a hotel next to the site of the 28th General Synod in Tampa, Fla. The celebration will cap a year-long, $200,000 campaign sponsored by the UCC's Florida Conference and the national Financial Development Ministry.
Half the proceeds will go toward a media campaign throughout Florida before and during the Synod. Billboards, print and broadcast ads and social-media spots will feature one of the UCC's "God is Still Speaking" messages: "Jesus didn't reject people. Neither do we." Proceeds will also help the Florida Conference with expenses of hosting the Synod (25 percent); provide a special contribution to a Florida justice partner, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (15 percent); and give a boost to the UCC's national Strategic Initiatives Fund (10 percent).
A combined $151,000 in lead gifts came from nine Florida congregations, two national ministries and a family foundation on behalf of a seminary. Additional advance gifts totaling $35,000 have been received from 48 Florida congregations, five individuals, a seminary, a national ministry and participants in the Florida Conference's recent annual meeting.
"I'm grateful for the response of our churches and members in Florida and beyond," said the Rev. Kent Siladi, the UCC's Florida Conference Minister. "With just over $25,000 left to clear our goal, I'm hoping a couple more leadership donors will step forward. Then we'll be able to go over our goal with people who are buying tickets and tables to join the celebration."
Over 300 guests are currently registered and there's room to expand beyond the goal of 500 guests, Siladi said.
Details on the event and a way to purchase tickets online can be found at <ucc.org/dinner>.