We strongly encourage prospective new members of our church to attend an orientation class called “Membership 101” with our Welcoming Team before seeking to join. These classes are offered quarterly and will be listed on the Church Calendar and Upcoming Events page. When the orientation class is not currently scheduled, information about the next class may be obtained by contacting our Minister or the Church Administrator.
As members of a church rich in tradition, we design this class to show how our church life fits into a larger historical context. The class covers the history of our Unitarian and Universalist traditions and the development of the theologies that formed the “Free Church” concept. The class emphasizes the responsibilities of membership.
Prospective new members also can learn more about our church and Unitarian Universalism by reading free brochures we make available in our greeting area. We also have a number of books on Unitarian Universalism available for purchase at our book table.
We periodically conduct a New Member Ingathering Ceremony during a worship service (see photo above of an Ingathering Ceremony). In this ceremony, new members sign the membership book and are introduced to the congregation. Then the new members and congregation join in the reading of our covenant. New members become eligible to vote on issues decided by the congregation 60 days after joining. Our bylaws provide that any person at least 16 years old,
- who is in agreement with the purpose of our church as specified in the bylaws (“…to organize as a religious community that has at its heart these beliefs: a commitment to accept one another and encourage each other’s spiritual growth; a recognition of the inherent worth and dignity of every person; a belief in the need for justice, equity and compassion in human relations; a commitment to a free and responsible search for truth and meaning; acceptance of the right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregation; a desire to further the goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all; and a deep and abiding respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part”), and
- who makes a financial contribution to the church,
may become a member by signing and dating the membership book in the presence of the minister or a member of the Board of Trustees. The financial requirement is set by the Board and may be waived in individual cases at the discretion of the Minister.
In order to join our church, a prospective member need not subscribe to any creedal confession or belief statement. One does not have to “convert” to Unitarian Universalism, nor is it necessary to renounce a previous faith.
In our and other UU churches, prospective members also are not required to be or become baptized. Indeed, infant baptism as it is understood in Christian churches is not practiced in UU churches. Instead, we conduct an infant dedication ceremony in which parents commit to raise their child in accordance with UU ideals and the congregation covenants to nurture and embrace the child within the fabric of our church community.
Anyone is welcome to visit our church. One need not be a member to participate in most of the life of the congregation. Visitors should feel free to attend Sunday services and congregational events for a while before deciding whether to join.