The meaning of membership
Every newcomer to the Fellowship is welcome to take part in nearly all aspects of congregational life, whether as a visiting friend or official member. However some activities are reserved for members who support the Fellowship with their time, talent, and treasure, such as high-level pastoral care and voting at congregational meetings.
We take the meaning of membership seriously and don’t want that decision made too quickly or lightly. Membership means making a commitment of time, talent and treasure (at whatever level you are able) to the Fellowship.
Follow this link to learn more about the steps to membership.
Top Ten reasons to become a member
Although there will always be the holy trinity of coffee, conversation and committees as reasons to join a religious or spiritual community, here is a Top Ten list (though ours goes to eleven) of reasons you should become a member of UUFA.
- To transform yourself and the world
- To give back in return for the many blessings in your own life
- To find meaning and purpose for your life
- To feel comfort and find hope in the midst of a broken world
- To bring greater peace and justice to your life and the world
- To make new friends and be glad you’re alive
- To sing, laugh, cry, share, love, and be merry
- To practice selflessness, humility, and generous hospitality
- To experience and celebrate awe and wonder
- To be reminded of what is most important in life
- To belong, to know there is a spiritual home that accepts all of who you are
If you would like to participate in newcomer orientations, or New UU, welcome visitors on Sunday morning, or otherwise take part in membership activities, please contact Larry Dendy, Chair, or members Carol Lee Baker, Lynn Rinker, Sherri Tanner, Lauren Nucci, Betsy Bean, Royce Knight, or Michelle Leebens-Mack.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I become a member of UUFA?
Once you’ve decided to join the Fellowship, if you haven’t already, we ask that you attend a ‘New UU’ session or meet with Rev. Eskildsen. In this way we get to know you a little better and learn what brought you to UUFA. This also gives us a chance to learn about what you hope for by participating in life at UUFA.
We then ask you to review and sign our Covenant of Membership pledge. This briefly outlines our expectations of each other as members of the community. By signing, you promise or covenant to be responsible for your part. Some liken this pledge to a wedding vow because it is your promise to stay in relationship with the other members of the Fellowship to the best of your ability, and until that relationship no longer serves you.
Here is the Covenant of Membership you may download, sign, and return to UUFA.
For more details about becoming a member, download How to Become a Member of UUFA
What are the benefits of membership?
Members have the right and privilege to vote on the affairs of the congregation, help determine its mission and vision, and gain an identity of belonging to our liberal religious tradition.
Members are placed in geographically determined Care Rings and your Care Ring Coordinator is informed of your joining. Each Ring’s coordinator stays in touch with members concerning how they are doing and what assistance they might need. For example, a ride to a doctor’s appointment or to a worship service on Sunday morning are common ways we help one another. Sometimes we may organize a few meals while a child is in the hospital. As a community we promise to care about one another and through our Pastoral Care program, which includes Care Rings, we pay attention to life’s joys, sorrows, and milestones.
Members enjoy the privilege of serving at some leadership levels that non-members cannot, such as on the Board of Trustees or as Lay Ministers. Some committees require membership status, such as the Finance Committee.
What does UUFA expect from members?
We expect members will stay engaged in the life of the Fellowship. Attendance on Sunday morning, participating in activities both within the UUFA community and out in the larger Athens area community, and as time and life allows, through leadership service to UUFA. We are a volunteer covenantal community and without the active participation of its members, we would not be a community.
From the Bylaws concerning Membership
Section 2.1: Congregation.
A. Members: Any person 16 years of age or older who agrees with the Principles and Purposes of the Unitarian Universalist Association and the purposes of the UUFA may become a Member of the Fellowship by signing the Membership Book in the presence of an Officer or the Minister after first (1) attending an orientation session conducted by the Membership Committee in conjunction with the Minister or meeting personally with the Minister to discuss membership expectations and (2) publicly affirming, by personal signature, the UUFA Membership Covenant, which states the following:
“Understanding that membership in the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Athens entails the obligation to give of my time, talent, and financial resources to sustain and strengthen the Fellowship, I promise that, to the best of my ability, I will
–Stay actively engaged in the life of the Fellowship through attendance and by rendering volunteer service to support the Fellowship’s worship, spiritual, social, and outreach programs and activities;
–Support the Fellowship with a financial contribution of record as my financial means permit.”
Individuals who were accepted as Members under previous versions of these By-Laws shall continue as Members.
B. Voting Members: A Member who is at least 18 years of age becomes a voting Member for a fiscal year upon making a financial contribution of record or upon receiving a waiver from the Minister for such a contribution for that fiscal year. A Voting Member may serve as an officer, trustee, or committee chair.
C. Friends of the Fellowship. Individuals who wish to support liberal religion and participate in the life of the Fellowship but who do not wish to accept the UUFA Membership Covenant shall be acknowledged as Friends of the Fellowship. Friends may serve on ministry teams but may not vote at congregational meetings or serve as Trustees or committee chairs.
D. Removal from Membership: The name of a Member shall be removed from the Membership Roll upon (1) a written request from the Member, or (2) an oral request from the Member to an Officer or the Minister, or (3) upon the death of the Member. Members who appear to have severed their relationship to the Fellowship and have not responded to written communication directed to their last known address may be removed from the Membership Roll upon a 3/4 majority vote of the Board of Trustees in accordance with its termination of membership policy and procedures.
Section 2.2: Roster of Voting Members
The Secretary of the Board of Trustees shall maintain an up-to-date list of voting members. Anyone who has been a voting member for four (4) weeks before any called meeting of the congregation shall be eligible to vote in all matters duly brought to the congregational meeting. The Secretary shall furnish such list of eligible voters at each duly called meeting of the congregation.