Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Somerset Hills

Open minds, loving hearts, helping hands

Giving to UUCSH

Community Plate/Sunday Collection

During every worship service and special event, we pass baskets for a free-will donation. We donate 50% of these collections to social organizations both in our community and in the larger world. These donations make a huge difference in people’s lives.

The UUCSH Community Plate program is entering its 11th year in 2016-2017.  To date, we have distributed more than $50,000.  Most of this money has remained local, right here in Somerset County, NJ!  We’ve also donated plate collection money to support statewide causes (e.g., Rainbow Families of NJ) and to support relief efforts in times of national or international tragedies (e.g., Tennessee and Kentucky flood relief, Massachusetts tornado relief, and Haiti and Japan earthquake relief). We try to select organizations that align closely with our UU principles and, when possible, we select a recipient organization that ties in to a theme that may be dealt with during Sunday services in a particular month.


  • Elijah’s Promise harnesses the power of food to break the cycle of poverty, alleviate hunger, and change lives. We fight to end hunger by serving good food for all at their community soup kitchen, providing education and jobs in the food industry through their Promise Culinary School, encouraging neighborhood agriculture at their community garden, offering social services to those in need, engaging in community advocacy and creating social enterprise food businesses that further social good.


  • UU FaithAction NJ (formerly the Unitarian Universalist Legislative Ministry of New Jersey).  UUFANJ works for a socially-just public policy in collaboration with like-minded organizations. Using a three-pronged approach of education, research, and advocacy, UUFANJ provides a comprehensive structure for activism on the part of New Jersey’s Unitarian Universalists.  Some of their current, high-priority issues include economic justice, the environment, reproductive justice and healthcare, immigration reform, gun violence prevention, and criminal justice reform.
  • The Somerset County Cultural Diversity Coalition. Founded in 1995, this human relations organization is dedicated to eliminating bias, prejudice, and bigotry in our county.  They pursue this ideal through community roundtables, festivals, publications, a speaker’s bureau, and a Resource Directory. Somerset County Cultural Diversity Coalition acts as a catalyst for individuals, corporations, and community-based non-profit organizations by providing networking, referral services, educational activities, and promoting the value of diversity.
  • Safe+Sound (formerly the Resource Center of Somerset).  This organization seeks to empower victims of domestic abuse by providing protection, education, and resources such as counseling, support groups, and specialized youth programs.
  • The Giving Network, which is an all-volunteer outreach program of this congregation.  The Giving Network makes more than 1,000 deliveries annually of food, furniture, and household goods to families in need across Somerset County.  This requires about $20,000 per year to supply gas and insurance for the vans and rent for the sorting center.
  • Liberal Religious Educators’ Association Endowment Fund.  LREDA, which supports the professional development of religious educators across the U.S. and Canada, is leading a campaign to increase its endowment fund and strengthen its financial base for years to come. One way that LREDA contributes to the professional development of religious educators is by providing scholarships to defray conference costs. LREDA has also provided grants to smaller congregations, helping them to pay their religious educators at fair compensation levels. As we begin a new religious education year, let’s make a strong show of financial support for LREDA and its goal of ensuring the ongoing professional development of its members.
  • UUA Living Tradition Fund, which provides three types of support for our faith’s ministry: (1) Need-based scholarships for theological students who have completed a full year of theological education. (2) New-minister assistance to reduce the burden of high educational debt and repayment. (3) Emergency assistance grants to seminarians, ministers, religious professionals, other congregational staff, retired ministers and their loved ones. The generosity of individuals, congregations, and districts helps to strengthen and support our professional ministry by keeping this important resource available. Please give generously.


Annual Pledge

The 2016 UUCSH stewardship campaign runs from March 20 to April 17.  During the campaign, members and friends are asked to make a financial pledge to support the on-going ministry of the congregation. This year, we are focusing on the UUCSH Mission: Explore Spirituality, Engage Community, Transform the World.  As we strive to discover how we will translate these words into action, we are also working to ensure that we have the financial resources to support new ideas, as well as to continue those things that mean so much to our congregation.

UUCSH does not mandate a specific giving level. Rather, we encourage members and friends to give as generously as possible financially, leaving it to individuals and families to define the amount.  For giving guidelines, we recommend the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) “Fair Share” guide for financial commitments. The Fair Share Giving guide (link below) provides suggested pledge amounts based on a graduated percentage of income. A household can elect Supporter, Sustainer, Visionary or Full-Tithe contribution, any of which count as Fair Share.

2016 Stewardship Campaign Materials:

Welcome Letter – Stewardship Chair 2016

Stewardship Campaign Brochure 2016

Frequently Asked Questions 2016

UUCSH Fair Share Giving Guide 2016

Pledge Form 2016

Electronic Giving Authorization & Instructions 2016



Viridian — Green Energy Benefits the Earth and UUCSH!
Every time you turn on a light, you can support clean energy and this congregation…without spending a penny more!
UUCSH is an independent Viridian Associate, earning $2 each month for every Viridian customer who signs up through our account. Members, friends, visitors, and people we’ve never met can enjoy the cost-savings and peace of mind knowing you’re helping the earth by making environmentally conscious energy choices.
For details and/or to sign up click here or email us.


Annual Service Auction
Each year, we host a Service Auction to benefit the UUCSH and its mission. The auction is our major fundraiser (outside of our annual canvass) and is a wonderful opportunity for members and friends to enjoy each other’s company.

Items donated for auction include handicrafts, jewelry, quilts, game nights, themed dinners, professional services, child care, transportation to area airports, and much more. The auction consists of a communal meal (often a potluck) followed by a three-part auction.  Click here to RSVP.  Click here to donate.


ACCESS Campaign
The ACCESS Campaign is our way of financing our initiative to renovate our building to make it accessible to people with mobility limitations. ACCESS funds have been built through two capital campaigns, and we continue to welcome pledges and donations. For more information, please email us.


The Giving Network
The Giving Network was founded by this congregation to aid local families, individuals and shelters in need. Today, it is an independent non-profit organization that we support through fund raising, volunteer hours, and publicity. Our annual fall Tricky Tray is a fun, large-scale event that supports nearly all of the Giving Network’s operating expenses.  To arrange for donation collections or deliveries: call 908-927-9001 or e-mail us.


Planned Giving
We are in the process of developing a planned giving program so members, friends and visitors have a way to remember this beloved community in their estate planning. While our formal program is in development, members, friends and others are welcome to remember the UUCSH in their wills.