One New Member’s Perspective on Being Welcomed with Abundant Kindness -Part II

Part II: How I Give Back (to read Part I click HERE)

by Nancy Hagen Goldstucker

Faced with the limitations imposed by the pandemic, the Mensch Bench was the path for identifying how my talents and interests could best contribute to Emanuel and its needs.

As I mentioned previously, I had been an administrator, including bookkeeping, at a very small congregation and knew it relied on members who gave greater than the suggested dues to provide full dues relief to many of its members. I also know from research that membership in all religious organizations has been down for two or three decades. According to a Gallop study, it was “down from 70% in 1999 to 50% in 2019.” From experience, I know that building maintenance alone can crush a congregation.

I joined Emanuel with introductory anniversary dues of $140. I am convinced that Emanuel truly appreciates that amount and values any donation in any amount. And, from the number of members who attended High Holy Day services compared to the number of empty seats at Friday services, I suspected the Congregation has been struggling. I am well aware that I am beyond fortunate to be in a position to donate Emanuel’s suggested dues and, a few months into COVID when nonprofits were suffering financially, I started giving monthly to support cashflow, staff retention, empty building expenses, etc. In renewing my membership for 2020-2021, I am donating the full suggested dues.

But more important to me is that I am contributing my enthusiasm a