As we approach the end of the year, many of us are thinking about all we are grateful for and about how to make meaningful gifts in difficult times. Here are the words of the Reverend Susan Frederick-Gray, President, Unitarian Universalist Association: “These are the days we are living in. Days that force us to consider how we combat the cruelty that would disperse tear gas (a chemical weapon banned in war) at children and parents, at refugees and migrants? How do we build more pathways of love and peace in this world? Where can we bring our broken hearts, our aching, doubting, exhausted spirits?” St. John’s UU Church helps mend our spirits and heal the world. In considering year-end gifts, keep the following in mind: We’re halfway through our fiscal year. How are you doing with fulfilling your financial pledge for the 2018-2019 year? Those age 70 ½ and older who must take Required Minimum Distributions (RMD) from their retirement accounts can transfer their RMDs directly to St. John’s and reap the tax benefits of direct contributions. Donating appreciated securities, such as publicly traded stocks or mutual funds, enables one to avoid paying tax on any gains while deducting the full value of the donated assets. St. John’s has a brokerage account to accept securities, and now is the time to make arrangements in advance so the gift will be complete by year’s end. Grants from Donor Advised funds are also welcome. And as a reminder, you can set up automatic monthly payments from your bank account to St. John’s, making it very easy to support the important work of our congregation. Send an email to Nancy Greenlee: firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about automatic payments. As always, contact your tax advisor for information when you have technical questions. The world could not possibly need Unitarian Universalism more than right now!