Testimony is a $1 million fundraising priority to create a next-step funding source for new UCC congregations that are demonstrating great promise for growth and vitality. Testimony also seeks to bring donors – both individuals and churches – into closer relationship with our most inspired and inspiring new communities of faith.
Already, more than $600,000 is budgeted annually through your support of Our Church's Wider Mission, the UCC Annual Fund, and the Strengthen the Church special mission offering, to assist new and renewing congregations. But it's not sufficient, especially at a time when we are seeing such impressive returns on these investments.
Since 2006, more than 250 new UCC congregations have opened their doors, establishing progress-justice minded faith communities across the United States. That equals more new congregations than at any other time since the 1960s. Now is the time to invest in new church development.
So, what will $1 million in additional support mean for the United Church of Christ?
$1 million creates new opportunities, through the development of a new matching offering program, so that our most promising new churches can leverage more dollars from donors locally.
$1 million "brings wood where there is fire" by creating a venture capital fund to invest even more in our most successful new church starts, to ensure greater stability and to take them to an even higher level of vitality and growth.
$1 million will support the founding of the UCC's first geographically dispersed congregation, Extravagance United Church of Christ, so that people -- no matter where they live -- will have access to UCC community, worship, study, and pastoral care.
$1 million will fund strategy sessions for how we will grow the UCC, especially in the South and the West where we are poised to engage and invite existing congregations that share our values to consider affiliating with the UCC.
How is fundraising effort advancing?
Launched in July 2013, the first six months netted an impressive groundswell of support from more than 165 donors, who have contributed nearly $280,000 to date.