Every UU church or congregation shall have at least two, maybe three, full-time religious professionals -- a minister, a lifespan faith formation director, and a music director -- each of whom is well-paid at a middle class level in the community they serve.
Every UU church or congregation shall have additional members of the staff, each of whom is equally well-paid; it is a matter of justice.
Every UU church or congregation shall go above and beyond the law in providing benefits to all employees, particularly health insurance and retirement benefits.
Every UU church and congregation should give about 4% of its total budget to the UUA, and additional funds to the District and/or Region.
Every UU church or congregation will also make additional contributions to the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee.
Every UU Church or congregation will provide funding for its full delegation to the annual General Assembly, plus additional scholarships for youth and young adults to attend.
Every UU Church or Congregation will give away half of its weekly collection to local charities.
Our dream is that every church and congregation will be a well-established, mainline denominational church, circa 1954, except more equitable, more just and more socially conscious.
Is this possible? I would guess that there are maybe a 100 or 200 of our congregations who get close to this level of institutional solidity. Many of them have endowments, accumulated capital to help them. Most of our churches and congregations fall short.
Many of our churches are relatively young as institutions, less than 50 years old. If you are a young church, it will take years and years of growth to check off every item on the institutional dream list. You will need many years of significant increases in pledges, all of which will go into the building, into staff salaries and benefits, into external contributions, before you have generated the surplus income to pay for meaningful external communication, or outreach, the creation of new ministries, or spin-off church planting. Stretch budgets every year, which mostly fund the institution, the building and the staff. Stretch budgets for invisible results.
I can't see how a church or congregation could do this, unless it is located in an area which has rapid growth of well-paid, upper-middle class professionals. And then, the congregation is mostly cannibalizing other UU congregations in areas that are declining. (New England UUism is declining while UUism in the South is growing. No kidding! There are also a lot of Red Sox hats showing up at Atlanta Braves games.)
We have set up expectations for ourselves that are out of date and impossible. That a small number of our churches can meet them (often with the help of inherited wealth) obscures the unreality of our expectations. And then we blame ourselves for our falling short.
I am all for casting a self-critical eye at ourselves and trying to develop our virtues, like generosity. But a little realism is in order as well.