Becoming a Member
Become a Member
- Unitarian Universalist churches, fellowships and societies work from the ground up.
- We are congregants who covenant with each other.
- This means our members are the real owners of this church, and provide their support with both their participation and their monetary contribution.
- Members set the vision and create and implement the programs.
- As a member, you are entitled to vote in church elections and help in translating all of our longing for justice and equality into action in the wider world.
How to Join Emerson Unitarian Universalist Church
Decide yes! You’d like to become a member and make Emerson your religious home.
- If you’re a newcomer to Unitarian Universalism (UU), please attend our orientation sessions about UU and Emerson. Check weekly community news for schedules.
- Have a thoughtful talk with our Minister or our congregational President.
- Come join us and share your time, treasure and talent.
- Sign the membership book and become a member!
Privileges and Joys of Membership
Members are entitled to join and chair committees and to serve on the Board, allowing you to exercise your vision in the service of our shared mission.
Members are entitled to vote for whom we call to serve us as our minister. Unitarian Universalist Congregations choose the minister who best meets their needs and as a member, you are entitled to have input into the process and to vote.
There are other benefits as well: free use of the sanctuary for milestone services such as marriages and child dedications, memorial services with inclusion on our memorial wall, and most importantly, a community where you can create and carry out programs that deepen your soul and/or enrich the world.
Our Principles and Purposes
As Unitarian Universalists we affirm and promote…
The inherent worth and dignity of every person;
Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;
Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;
A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;
The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large;
The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;
Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.
Sources of Unitarian Universalism
Unitarian Universalist congregations affirm and promote seven Principles, which we hold as strong values and moral guides. We live out these Principles within a “living tradition” of wisdom and spirituality, drawn from sources as diverse as science, poetry, scripture, and personal experience. These are the six sources our congregations affirm and promote:
- Direct experience of that transcending mystery and wonder, affirmed in all cultures, which moves us to a renewal of the spirit and an openness to the forces which create and uphold life;
- Words and deeds of prophetic women and men which challenge us to confront powers and structures of evil with justice, compassion, and the transforming power of love;
- Wisdom from the world’s religions which inspires us in our ethical and spiritual life;
- Jewish and Christian teachings which call us to respond to God’s love by loving our neighbors as ourselves;
- Humanist teachings which counsel us to heed the guidance of reason and the results of science, and warn us against idolatries of the mind and spirit;
- Spiritual teachings of Earth-centered traditions which celebrate the sacred circle of life and instruct us to live in harmony with the rhythms of nature.
Rev. Kathleen Rolenz said, “Throughout history, we have moved to the rhythms of mystery and wonder, prophecy, wisdom, teachings from ancient and modern sources, and nature herself.”
What Membership Means
One of the common and natural transitions that people make after attending a church for an initial period of acquaintance is beginning to “feel at home”. This personal awareness is the first stage in deciding to join a church. The first meaning of church membership is thus a private commitment of identification and loyalty. It many mean that you have decided for yourself that this congregation is and will be your “religious home”, and that you wish to make a formal affirmation of that realization. It many mean that you want to say to yourself and others that you join in support of the principles and values that have shaped our religious tradition over the years. It may mean that you want to be recognized by others in choosing this congregation as your “religious home”.
In signing the Membership book, you affirm decisions like these for yourself and promise to help us in strengthening the life of this congregation, promising the religious growth of yourself and others, striving to make a difference in the wider community, and making our religious tradition and its values and principles better known in the world.
Unitarian Universalism understands membership as a matter of covenant between people-a promise to stand together with other members of the congregation in a relationship of mutual respect and support to take your own religious journey seriously in community with others, and to work together in commitment to a common vision. Signing the Membership Book is an act of personal and public commitment to the life of our church and to the religious tradition in which we stand. Being a member entails both privileges and responsibilities and has a variety of personal meanings.
For people who have not yet chosen formal membership but who support and /or participate regularly in church activities, we maintain a category of “friends”. As a friend of the church, you will be listed in our church directory (unless you request to be omitted) and included in all of our mailings. Some people, for various reasons, choose to remain friends of the church for years, loyally volunteering their time and financial support.
These steps look simple – but we know you’ll only take them when you’ve considered Emerson carefully and found that you want to share ownership of a religious community where, in the words of Marjorie Achley:
- Your doubts are not ridiculed.
- Your guilts are lightened.
- Your griefs are comforted.
- Your joys are celebrated.
- Your children are taught all religions.
- Your talents are nurtured.
- Your concerns are shared.
- Your reason is honored.
- Your friendships are deepened.
- Your love of art and beauty is expanded.
- Your need to serve others is fostered.
- Your need to laugh is encouraged.
- Your individual decision is treasured.