What does Membership at Follen Church mean?
Membership at Follen Church has different meanings for different people. For some, it may be a way of outwardly acknowledging an inward commitment to Unitarian Universalism. Unitarian Universalism is historically a “Free Church,” a place where people join together in “covenantal relationship.” Like other Unitarian Universalist congregations, Follen Church does not expect members to share a single creed, dogma, or belief system, but rather welcomes a breadth of belief and uncertainty. We aim to create a larger truth that emerges when we bring our hearts, minds, and hands together. For others, membership may reflect the desire to join this particular religious community and assume some sense of responsibility for it. At its core, being a member at Follen means that you are willing to support the church, its programs, and our congregation. Members are expected to take an active role in congregational life, with annual support of time, talent and treasure. Such member support is essential to maintaining the effectiveness of our church in our community.
What if I am not sure about my religious beliefs?
Few Unitarian Universalists are ever ‘sure’ of their religious beliefs. In fact, because it is non-creedal, Unitarian Universalism appeals to many people who see their religious or spiritual life as a journey, or a process of exploration. Membership at Follen Church does not require any kind of declaration of belief.
Who can become a Member?
Membership at Follen Church is open to any adult person who expresses a commitment to play an active role in the life of the congregation. Additionally, we offer a Coming of Age Religious Education program for high school seniors who are interested in exploring their faith. Upon completion, these youth have the opportunity to sign our membership book.
Exploring Membership at Follen Church
Our Membership process is designed to support your journey. We believe that the choice to become a Member of Follen Church is just that—a choice. We believe people get the most out of membership when they are informed, engaged, and empowered. You should not feel pressured to enter into membership before you 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 handful of months. Others may take years 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, building relationships with other congregants, participating in Follen programs and events, and attending membership workshops are among ways you can prepare yourself for this decision.
What is Asked of Members?
To maintain Active Membership status, members are expected to be engaged in the life of the church. We hope you will attend worship regularly! We ask members to offer their time and talent to help strengthen our community by volunteering for an action team, committee, Religious Education program, Program Council and/or Parish Board. Additionally, we ask both Members and Friends of Follen Church to make and fulfill an annual pledge to contribute financially. The process of pledging helps the church to plan its activities and maintain its budget.
Members are also encouraged to attend all meetings of the membership. We host our Annual Meeting each May, at which time officers and other leaders are elected, the church budget is approved, and other important business is discussed. Occasionally, other special meetings may be called. Only members are allowed to vote in these meetings. According to our church bylaws, a member must have signed the membership book at least 30 days before the meeting to be eligible to vote.
Benefits of Membership
Becoming a member feels good because a deepened commitment enhances one’s sense of belonging. Itt also has tangible benefits:
- Voting privileges on the budget
- Voting privileges on the church leadership
- Eligibility for church leadership roles on Program Council and Parish Board
- Free rent on church facilities for two events each year (staffing costs will need to be covered by the member).
- Child dedications, weddings, funerals, memorial service, and other rites of the church.
- UU World magazine subscription
Becoming a Member
The process of becoming a member is relatively simple. We encourage you first to discuss your decision with our Membership Director. Next steps include completing a Membership Request Form, and we encourage a meeting with our Minister to your specific needs, hopes, and gifts. We want to know you, and celebrate you as a part of our community. During this meeting you are welcome to sign the membership book, or you can also do so during our Fall and Spring Membership Sunday services. We celebrate new members formally two times a year with a Welcome Brunch Reception and Membership Sunday worship service.
If I move, can you transfer my Membership to another UU congregation?
No, membership policies and procedures vary from one church to another. However, we will be glad to give you the names and addresses of UU congregations in your new location.