Path to Membership

 

preparing to greet new members at an ingathering service

Preparing to introduce and greet new members at an ingathering service.

What is Membership?

Membership in a UU church means you’re not just a consumer or passenger, you’re part of the operations crew of this self-governing nonprofit body, and you can be part of it’s leadership too, whenever you’re ready.

Membership means:

  • You feel a sense of being valued and accepted.
  • You can vote in congregational meetings that choose officers, alter the bylaws, and decide on important issues and large expenditures.
  • You are eligible to serve on the Board or chair a Committee or Task Force.
  • You receive the free quarterly UU World magazine.
  • You commit to give the church your generous financial support to the extent you’re able.
  • You can have the Minister officiate rites of passage (weddings, memorials, etc.) for yourself and immediate family members at no additional fee.
  • You feel pride and satisfaction whenever you hear the church mentioned, and you know you’re part of a community where you belong and are welcomed.

ChaliceThe Path to Membership

You can participate in nearly all church activities without becoming a member. When you begin to feel this is your church community, you’ll want to help it be the best it can be. You’ve started on the path to Membership!  There’s no set timetable — you set the pace as you move through these steps toward making your own personal commitment to support your church and help shape its future.

Your first visit: Trying a new church can be daunting, but you get a warm welcome here. After the service you go downstairs for social hour. You get a visitor information packet, meet a few people and decide you’ll come back.

Your name badge: Within a few visits you sign up for a name badge that appears on the rack the next time you come. Now people greet you by name and begin to remember you.

Offerings: You contribute something as the offering basket goes by.

You’re a regular:  Coming to church almost every week, you find friends with the same interests. You drop in for a social activity like crafts or book group or you lend a helping hand. If you have young children, they’re making friends too, in Religious Exploration classrooms.

You sign up for more:  An adult class, a Circle Supper, an event?  Even better, the Newcomers Connection Circle, a short-term small group to help newcomers share ideas, feelings, and questions about religion and this church.

You volunteer to help:  You offer help with the things you enjoy — hospitality crew, outdoor yard work, the Choir, a Religious Exploration classroom or the office, or some Committee or Task Force. As you help make church happen, your sense of commitment is growing.

You consider Membership:  In the Membership Exploration Class held each spring and fall, you learn more about how this church operates and the privileges and responsibility of membership, as you hear from the Minister and other church leaders. You get a packet full of handouts to help you decide about Unitarian Universalism and becoming a church Member.

You make your decision:  When you decide to become a voting member, you are also making the commitment to support the church with your time, talent and treasure.

If you aren’t sure you’re ready to be a church member, feel free to continue attending services and taking part in activities as a non-voting Friend of the church. If you later decide to become a member, just let us know. Some long-time church Friends join eventually; some never do, but all are welcome as part of the community.

Financial Support: Because consistent financial support is essential to making our church vision a reality, every member is asked to share in that stewardship by making an annual pledge. And because everyone’s financial situation is different, you are the one who decides the amount of your pledge. (Pledge amounts are kept confidential, and the pledge requirement can be waived by the Minister in case of financial hardship.)  

You make your pledge: After reading the info sheet in the packet and considering your financial situation, you fill out the pledge form, seal it inside its envelope and mail it to the church. You may also hand the envelope to a Membership committee member or Board member, who will pass it unopened to the church Treasurer.

You state your intent:  Now you’re ready to read and sign the Letter of Intent form in your packet, affirming that you’ll attend services and church events, work on your own spiritual growth, take part in our shared ministry with your time, talents and energy, and honor church policies including our Covenant of Right Relations.  Giving your signed letter to a Membership committee person is your final step before…

new members sign membership book

New members sign the membership book as part of the ingathering service.

You sign the Book:  In a festive Sunday Ingathering service the congregation welcomes you as a Member. You formally sign the Membership Book, receive a welcoming gift and get handshakes and hugs from Board members and other church leaders.

Congratulations! You’re a Member:  Your path in Membership has just begun. How do you want to shape the future of your church, whether as a leader or worker bee? Want to teach a class, share a hobby, reach out to people in need, change the world? You can do it!

Each summer, the church holds an Ice Cream Social as a fun way for the entire congregation to meet all new members that had joined the church during the past year. Below is a video of the Cat House Rock Band playing at the Ice Cream Social in 2013. It is held in the playground and grassy area behind the church. Families and friends gather to enjoy each others company, meet new members, share good food and have fun dancing to the music. Enjoy!