Becoming a member of the congregation is an important step. It’s a sign to yourself and others that you are taking your own search for truth and meaning seriously, and that you are truly engaging in the life of the congregation.
When you are ready to become a member of the congregation (the timing is totally up to you), the first step is to talk with the minister or with a member of the Membership Committee. They will talk with you about the responsibilities of membership, the three P’s:
|Presence||Coming to Sunday services as regularly as you are able|
|Participation||Contributing to congregational life by volunteering on Sunday morning and by participating in committees and activities|
|Pledging||Contributing to the financial health of the congregation by pledging a small proportion of your income|
The next step is to fill out an Intent to Join form and arrange a time to meet with the minister. That meeting gives him a chance to get to know you and to help guide you to ways you would enjoy getting involved in the congregation. Attending a newcomer orientation, though not required, is strongly encouraged before joining the congregation.
New members are welcomed into the congregation on Membership Sunday, held every few months. New members gather in the minister’s office to sign the membership book before the service. During the service the new members are introduced to the congregation, and the whole congregation joins together in a responsive reading. Those who prefer may sign the book privately instead of standing up in the service.
After you join the congregation, we encourage you to continue your involvement in educational and social events as well as volunteer activities. Across the country, congregations find that the members who get most involved are the ones who feel most satisfied with their religious experiences. If you are looking for additional opportunities for involvement, please stop by the Welcome Table during coffee hour to speak with a member of the Membership Committee. Or you can speak directly with chairs of committees you’re interested in learning more about. The FUUSA Annual Report is another good reference document for information regarding this society. You can also always contact the FUUSA office when you have questions: call (518) 463-7135 or email fuusa@AlbanyUU.org.
A specific benefit of membership is that you are eligible to run for congregational offices and to vote on annual budgets and other congregational decisions. Another benefit, just once, is that the year you join you are invited to attend the congregation’s Annual Fellowship Dinner for free as a guest of the Membership Committee. The Fellowship Dinner is always a fun evening, featuring humorous songs and a silly skit by members of the congregation.