membership / joining
what does membership mean?
Membership has different meanings for different people. For some, it may be a way of outwardly acknowledging an inward commitment to our religion, Unitarian Universalism. For others, it may specifically reflect their desire to join this particular religious community and assume some sense of responsibility for it.
Many of us become members because we're ready to take on the responsibility of caring not just for ourselves, but caring for a community that we have come to feel intimately a part of. We want the benefit of being with them, and we're willing to take on shared responsibility for the spiritual health and future of this congregation.
When we become members we become part of the Unitarian Universalist tradition. We become responsible for embodying that tradition. We become part of the history by which the tradition will be judged. And we receive the benefit of being able to think and speak and act out of that tradition's authority.
Placing our individual spiritual lives in the context of community automatically furthers our spiritual growth. Accepting membership means bringing that community of congregation, the UU tradition, and the holy (whatever we each deem that to be), into our lives. Becoming church members moves us farther on our spiritual journey.
We look forward to welcoming you on that journey.
what if I'm still not sure about my religious beliefs?
Few Unitarian Universalists are totally sure of every aspect of their religious beliefs — we are all always growing — developing deeper understandings. In fact, because it is non-creedal, Unitarian Universalism appeals to many people who see their religious life as a journey, or searching process. Membership in our church doesn't require any kind of test or declaration of belief before joining.
who can become a member?
Membership in our church is open to any person who is 16 years old or older.
how long should I wait before becoming a member?
Church participants should not feel pressured to enter into membership before they are ready to take that step. For some people, the amount of time from a first visit to becoming a member is relatively brief, perhaps a few months. Others may take longer before becoming a member. Still others may participate and remain active in the church and never become members. Your decision should be the one that "feels right" for you. Talking with our minister, becoming acquainted with other congregants, and attending a "New to UU" workshop are among ways you can prepare yourself for this decision.
how do I become a member?
Before signing the membership book during a "New Member" Sunday service — the final step of becoming a member — we ask that you demonstrate your membership by fulfilling these other four requirements of membership.
- Attend a "New to UU" workshop, offered approximately every other month at the church.
- Regularly attend church services or other church activities.
- Make a pledge of ongoing financial support to the church. Pledging guidelines are provided, but there are no compulsory giving levels. If you've been attending services and are contributing to the offertory, chances are, that level is just fine for joining the church as a member.
- Find a way to support the work of the church that fits your skills and interests. You could join a team or committee, volunteer to perform some necessary task around the church, or organize a program of your own that you can offer to the church community. Participation makes the church a community and there are many fulfilling and uplifting ways to participate. Check out some of the groups by stopping in. Or, the Membership committee can discuss it with you and help point you in a direction, if you wish.
what is expected of members?
All church members continue to fulfill the initial requirements of membership. We all make an annual financial pledge to the church, work for the church in some way, and regularly attend church services and events.
Additionally, all members are requested to assist in our children's religious education program, at least two Sundays during each year. You can volunteer to serve as an assistant teacher in one of our children's classes or serve the Religious Education program in an alternate way. Integrating our adult members with our children and youth is an important goal of our congregation. If seeking an alternative way to meet this request, the Director of Religious Education or the Minister can make suggestions.
Through involvement on the teams or committees, members get to know one another while making important contributions to the ongoing work of the church.
benefits of membership
The primary benefit of membership is spiritual. It is spiritually healthy to commit to supporting a community of shared values. As a member you will receive the support of others as you deepen your faith and move forward on your spiritual journey.
Membership also has a few practical privileges. Only members of the church can vote on issues affecting the church, such as electing our lay leadership, and calling a minister. Only church members can serve in leadership roles — on our Board of Trustees, our Program Council, or as heads of our committees and teams. Members can serve as delegates from the church to District and National UU assemblies. In addition, members receive a free subscription to the church newsletter and to the UU World magazine.
if I move, may my membership be transferred to another UU church?
No, membership policies and procedures vary from one UU church to another. However, we will be glad to give you the names and addresses of UU congregations in your new location.