Becoming a Member
Once you’ve gotten to know us, we think you’ll want to become a member. Members forge a deeper bond with our community of people with a cooperative spirit seeking a welcoming religion. With membership, this church becomes a true spiritual home. You will have a place where you can broaden your vision, where you can develop your beliefs and values, where you can share life’s happiest and saddest moments, and where you can “put your faith in action” through peace and justice activities.
The simple act of signing the Membership Book can be a deeply significant decision. Unitarian Universalism challenges you to consider how your beliefs about human nature, spirituality, and the natural world affect your attitude toward yourself and others, and how those beliefs influence what you do.
The UU way of life is not so much an arriving as a becoming – an ongoing process of thought and life experience. Joining for you may mean fresh steps along a familiar path. It may mean venturing into uncharted territory. In either case, the initiative is yours. The decision is yours.
How do I know if I want to become a Member?
Below are some activities that can help you decide if and when you are ready to become a member of UUFD. They are not required, but recommended – getting actively involved is the best way to get to know other people in the Fellowship, to find out if this is a good fit for you. We invite you to pick and choose from this “menu of choices” based on your interests and inclinations.
- Attend Sunday services on a variety of topics presented by the minister, members of the congregation, and guest speakers.
- Attend a Fellowship Orientation.
- Become familiar with the UU religion through books in the UUFD Library, such as The Unitarian Universalist Pocket Guide.
- Participate in UUFD events, activities, and volunteer opportunities.
We schedule Fellowship Orientation about two or three times a year, or as interest arises, to provide information on Unitarian Universalism and the UU Fellowship of Dubuque, such as:
- What is Unitarian Universalism?
- Our Church History
- What is Means to Become a Member or Friend
- UUFD Programming & Committees
Becoming a Member
Those who feel in sympathy with the purposes and programs of the Fellowship can sign the official Membership Book at a New Member Ceremony, or at any time. New Member Ceremonies are held about two or three times a year and is a simple ceremony in which the Board President and congregation say a few words to welcome you, and you come to the front of the church to sign the Membership Book, indicating that you agree to sharing the privileges, responsibilities, and joys of membership. You may also choose to become a Friend of the church, which is not recorded in the Membership Book.
Becoming a Friend of the Fellowship
If you would like to be connected to the Fellowship but not become a Member, you may choose to become a Friend. Friends are an important part of our Fellowship community. Current Friends are engaging in congregational life through contributions of time, talent, and treasure – serving on committees and work groups (serving on the Board of Trustees requires membership), providing leadership for Fellowship projects and initiatives, and supporting organizational operations through annual pledges and/or other donations.
Difference Between Members and Friends
|Access to UUFD Directory||√||√|
|Ability to serve on committees and work groups||√||√|
|Support the Fellowship through time, talent, and/or financial contributions||√||√|
|Ability to serve on the Board of Trustees||√|
|Ability to vote at congregational meetings||√|
|Receive subscription to UU World||√|
Who May Become a Member?
Any person who has reached the age of 14, regardless of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, disability, or national origin, may become a member of the Fellowship. There shall be no creedal test expressed or implied as a qualification for membership.
Rights and Responsibilities of Membership
Because we are a covenanted congregation, members have certain responsibilities to the congregation and to one another. Per the Fellowship Bylaws, “The right to vote at Annual Meetings shall be reserved for members who have reached the age of 14 and who have attended meetings or made financial or service contributions within the past 12 months.” When considering contributions to one another and the congregation, we recommend the following:
- Regular attendance at worship. Weekly worship cements the bonds of community, and keeps our attention directed to our highest values, while nurturing our spirits.
- Voting at congregational meetings. Responsible participation includes imagining the needs of the entire congregation, rather than focusing only on one’s own needs or desires. Consider how issues affect all members of the congregation, as well as potential members and others in the world outside the congregation.
- Making financial contributions. Not only does this provide for the support of the congregation, but it also serves as a spiritual discipline. Many Unitarian Universalists aim for a modest contribution—that is, giving a percentage of income to the congregation, and another percentage to other organizations and causes that represent their values.
- Contributing time and talent. Congregations work because their members find ways to give of themselves, whether through singing, financial management, educating children, sharing their passion for social justice, organizing, cooking, greeting—the list of tasks goes on. Finding ways to give back that nurture your own soul helps and supports your own growth.
- Spiritual growth and development. Working deliberately at your own spiritual development is a gift to the congregation and to the larger world.