For over 160 years Macalester Plymouth has been a bold and faithful spiritual community, seeking to grow in love of God and neighbor. Our ministries both within and beyond the church are driven by our commitments to authentic worship, open-minded faith, surprising hospitality, a connecting spirit, compassionate community, prophetic witness for justice and sustainable stewardship. Your contributions support music for children, our work as a sanctuary church for immigrants, service trips for youth, lively worship for all ages, groups that care for creation and welcome refugees, and the transformation of lives through community. Giving is a spiritual practice, an invitation to grow, not an obligation.
Please use the information below to make a contribution and thank you for your generous support.
Questions? Contact the church office at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (651) 698-8871.
New Denominational Giving Commitment
Whenever new members join the church we proudly explain to them our dual affiliation with the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the United Church of Christ. As MPUC members, we are full participants with full privileges in both denominations. e tell new members that we support both denominations financially, splitting our giving equally between them.
A recent review by the Session of our basic denominational financial support determined that our giving was not always equal in recent years. A new approach to calculating our denominational giving was proposed and approved and is reflected in the approved 2021 budget.
“Per capita” is the recommended amount per member a congregation is asked to contribute towards basic support of the denomination. Basic support means money to fund staffing, program development, overhead, and other essential operating costs. For 2021, the per capita amount set by the Presbytery of the Twin Cities was $36.50 per member. The Minnesota Conference of the UCC set a per capita amount of $10.00 per member. The Session set a two-year goal of contributing the combined total per capita amount ($46.50 in 2021) per member towards basic denominational support, split evenly between both denominations. The 2021 budget got us started toward that goal with an increase of about $2300 in denominational basic support. We hope to reach the goal with the 2022 budget.
Because we traditionally report only half of our total membership to each denomination (not wanting to double count members), this new level of giving covers not only our full per capita responsibility for each denomination but a more open-ended request for basic support. In addition to per capita, PCUSA congregations contribute to “Unified Mission Giving.” In the UCC, additional support goes towards “Our Church’s Wider Mission.” The word “mission” is somewhat misleading in these names as the funds are used generally by the denomination for basic support, similar to per capita. So this year, we are meeting our per capita expectations for both denominations and responding to these additional requests as well. By doing so, we are living out our intention to provide equal financial support to both of our denominations and, for the first time in a long time, giving something to all four of the categories of basic support our denominations need and use on our behalf. Thanks to your robust pledges and generous contributions, we are supporting our denominations in this important way.
ESG Investments and the MPUC Endowment
Every year, many of us periodically take stock of our personal finances such as taxes and retirement funds. We do the same at Macalester Plymouth with ongoing monitoring and as-needed changes to our church’s endowment fund.
Created in 1968 from the sale of the Plymouth Church building with added donor gifts over the years, the Macalester Plymouth endowment had about $459,000 in Q3 2020. The fund is professionally managed and investment returns are used to help support our church operating fund and supplement the annual pledges and contributions. Mindful of our stewardship over this endowment, in 2019 we researched a major movement underway known as “Responsible Investing” and more specifically Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) investing. In 2019 more than 25% of U.S. investments were in ESG type funds and the percentage was growing quickly. With an ESG approach to investing, funds can be analyzed and scored according to the responsibility that the fund shows toward environmental, social, and governance factors. In this system, companies are proactively identified that intentionally work to address climate change, human rights, business ethics, energy footprint, and many other such subjects. See the chart from RBC below for a more complete overview. After review and discussion, the Finance Committee and the Session approved a revised Investment Policy in late 2019 that includes ESG Screening criteria and specifically opposes investment in fossil fuel-related funds.
The results have been very good. As of Q3 2020, our portfolio’s rate of return was higher than that of a comparable benchmark. So, not only are we trying to do the right thing with our own investments, but we have joined many other churches, colleges, and investors in encouraging businesses to act responsibly.
Individuals can also take advantage of ESG funds. Just like the church, we can all individually choose to use ESG funds in our retirement or other investment portfolios. Of course, you should consult your own investment advisor for advice.