A Unique Statement of Hope at UUA

"We feel strongly that the world needs the loving, forward-looking and rational message of Unitarian Universalism," says Stu Sendell of Morristown, New Jersey, when asked why two Unitarian Universalist (UU) organizations are named to receive financial support from their estates after they pass away.

Like many UUs, Jan and Stu Sendell hope for a time when more people will find supportive spiritual homes within our denomination. They also dream of a time when UUs give back generously to our cherished liberal religion to help it grow and flourish. Jan and Stu looked to their estate plan to help this dream of a vibrant Unitarian Universalist future become a reality.

The Sendells wanted to prepare carefully for their retirement years and provide for the needs of their family. It was also important, they felt, for their estate plan to be representative of their values as Unitarian Universalists. For them, the estate planning process has been a time of reflection—a chance to acknowledge the people, places and ideas that have had the greatest impact on their lives. With three grown daughters and several grandchildren, Jan and Stu decided to create an estate plan that would assist these loved ones and support the organizations for which they care deeply.

To meet these goals, they have divided their combined assets into four equal shares: one share to each daughter, and the fourth split between the Morristown Unitarian Fellowship in their hometown and the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA).

"The UU movement is our fourth child," Stu explains, "and we want it to be all that it can be."

Their words echo those of many others who value their UU home congregations and fellowships not only for themselves and their immediate families, but also for the difference they make in the community at large.

"The Morristown Unitarian Fellowship and the Central Unitarian Church in Paramus, New Jersey, before it, played a vital role in the formation of our values and the values of our children," says Stu. "[These congregations] also provided needed havens for community groups that weren't welcome anywhere else. Both housed gay and lesbian support groups over 30 years ago, and they continue to this day to be in relationship with those organizations."

Many of us find our primary spiritual homes in a particular fellowship or congregation, but Unitarian Universalism extends far beyond the doors of any single church or UU gathering. The Sendells feel a commitment to this larger movement, too.

"The UUA, in our opinion, has the opportunity and the responsibility to nurture existing congregations, ministers, and lay leaders, and to grow our religious movement and expand its impact on society," says Stu.

Theirs is a gift of great vision, expressing their belief that the UUA—at its best—is a resource from which congregations at every stage of development may draw strength.

Jan and Stu are members of the UUA Legacy Society, which recognizes and thanks those who have included a charitable gift to the Association in their estate plans—a gift by will or trust, life insurance benefits, IRA benefits, and the like. Each of the more than 300 gift provisions represented in the UUA Legacy Society, including the Sendells, is a unique statement of hope for the future of our liberal religion and its treasured principles.

What's Your Statement of Hope?

Like Jan and Stu, you, too, can leave a lasting legacy through a gift in your will or living trust. Contact the Legacy Gifts Team at (617) 948-6509 or legacy@uua.org to learn more today, at no obligation.