What are the Responsibilities of Membership?
Membership is a public commitment: to support the values and principles of liberal religion; to support and encourage one's own and others' efforts to grow spiritually; and to support the congregation and the denomination.
Following are specific ways in which we serve as members of our religious community. Keep in mind that these are goals for a lifetime and are not accomplished all at once!
- Attend church regularly. Be an active participant by attending services or working with the Religious Education program.
- Work on your spiritual development. There are many avenues, starting with reading, reflecting, and becoming more observant of yourself, others, and the natural world. Participate in adult enrichment courses, work on lay-led services, share in a men's or women's group. Help people in need through the social justice program. Spiritual growth is a life-long endeavor that is up to each individual, with the support of the congregation.
- Serve the congregation by giving your time and talents. Working together on the many tasks needed to run our congregation, small or large, is the best way to get to know others. As time allows, choose activities in which you can put your talents and interests to work and that you will find most rewarding. Even relatively simple tasks, such as helping with coffee, are important because they foster community.
Pictured at the right, are four former church moderators who are shown enjoying a moment at a Service Auction champagne cocktail party.
- Participate in the democratic process. Attend congregational meetings, get informed, and exercise your right to vote.
- Pledge at a stewardship level. Giving financially, as one is able, is crucial to the health of the congregation and its ability to serve its members and the community at large. Many members meet the goal of three percent of gross income. If you have not already made a pledge, ask for a pledge form. A Pledge Committee Member will call you.
- Be involved in service to others. Our congregation is involved in a number of activities that provide ways in which we can serve the larger community. Some of the many opportunities include working with NPHIN, UU House, or the Rudi Gelsey Social Justice Award Banquet.
- Connect to the wider UU movement. Read World, the Unitarian Universalist Association's magazine, which members receive free, or you may want to attend a conference or workshop with other UUs.
There are many good reasons. The first is spiritual. In the words of a fellow UU minister, the Rev. William Murry, "It means that you believe and are committed to the principles, values and life attitudes that Unitarian Universalism embraces. It is signifying publicly that you stand with a group of people who have a particular outlook on life and religion, and it is a commitment to walk with those people and to support this congregation and what we stand for. Spiritually, joining this church is an act of self-definition and commitment to an ongoing journey of self-discovery."
Another is a more practical, institutional reason. Only members can vote. While this does not affect most of our week-to-week experience at Restoration, when important decisions need to be made, you may want to have your say. You can only do this officially if you are a member.
How Do I Prepare for Membership?
You are encouraged to speak to the minister before joining to discuss your interests and concerns, and to get answers to your questions. While signing the membership book is a simple step, it has great significance. If you are already a Unitarian Universalist, you may want to learn more about our particular congregation. Or, like many, you may be coming from a different religious background and want clarification of UU principles and practices.
Here are some other opportunities you should consider:
- Attend the three New UU Orientation meetings. These are held periodically throughout the year and provide a good introduction to what we, as a denomination and congregation, are all about.
- Take opportunities to get to know others in the congregation at social occasions. Attending a Dinners for Eight evening is a good way to get to know those who live close by. Watch the monthly newsletter for gatherings; Circle Suppers, Bookreaders, Dinners for Eight, or Theatre Goers to name a few.
If you have any questions or concerns about membership, please stop by the Membership table in the social hall during coffee hour. Also, feel free to contact the Church Office and ask for a call from the minister.
How Do I Join?
You join by signing the membership book at a small ceremony held on a Membership Recognition Sunday. The minister and a member of the Board of Trustees, or a Membership Committee representative will welcome you, review the meaning and responsibilities of membership, and witness your signing the book along with others who have also chosen this occasion to join.