Becoming a Member
To join this Unitarian Universalist congregation is to become part of a living community. That means getting involved in its activities, identifying with it, and volunteering time to support it.
Official membership is not required for participation in most activities, but there may come a time when you hear a voice inside saying, “This is my religious home. I want to support it.” If so, it may be time to think about making the commitment of membership.
Why become a member?
Membership is a relationship of mutual accountability between an individual and the congregation.
Making a commitment to the congregation deepens a sense of belonging and identity.
Offering one’s skills and gifts in service to the community is transformative.
Receiving needed care and support (and offering support to others) is healing.
Membership at First Church means making a commitment to the future of the congregation.
Members vote on congregational business at First Church’s annual meeting.
Members are encouraged, but not required, to make an annual financial pledge to support the work of the congregation.
How do I become a member?
1. Read about membership at First Church:
2. Fill out paperwork:
You do not need to be a member in order to pledge, be in our directory, volunteer, or have access to our church directory. Any of the forms below can be filled out and submitted by anyone connected to First Church. But when you are becoming a member, these are forms are required to be completed.
Fill out a directory information form
Email First Church to request a login for the church directory (Breeze)
Upload a photo to the First Church Directory (using Breeze), or email a photo to our administrator to upload
3. Schedule a time to meet with Rev. EB to discuss membership.
You can schedule a time by using Rev. EB’s online scheduling tool, or by calling or emailing Rev. EB directly. This 45-minute meeting is a time for sharing about your religious identity and how you would like to be involved at First Church. She will help you:
Sign the Membership Card (Stating that you are "in sympathy with the mission, vision, and covenant of this Church and with the Principles of the Unitarian Universalist Association."
Schedule your attendance at the next New Member Ceremony.
Make a financial pledge if you choose to do so.
4. Sign the Membership Book during one of our two New Member ceremonies each year, usually the first Sunday in March and the third Sunday in November.
Frequently Asked Questions:
How will I know if joining First Church is right for me?
People join First Church for many reasons: They feel comfortable in our church, and want to contribute towards the life of this community. They feel a kinship with how the liberal, non-creedal tradition of Unitarian-Universalism is expressed through our liturgy, our social activism, our adult and children’s religious education, and our community life. They find that they want to pursue their spiritual path within the support that First Church provides. For these reasons and more, they have an interest in making a commitment to First Church by becoming a member. As you reflect on whether or not to become a member of First Church, The Spectrum of Connection to First Church may help you.
What are the benefits of joining First Church?
Some of the benefits are intangible. For instance, you may experience a deeper sense of connection to others, on both spiritual and social levels, by committing to a faith community. More concretely, members of First Church can vote at our congregational meetings, and thus can have a direct influence on important institutional (e.g., budgetary) decisions. While everyone is invited to these meetings, only members have voting privileges.
Does one have to be a member to participate in the life of the church?
You can participate in many ways without being a member. As some examples, volunteer at church events, give one of the readings at Sunday services, usher on Christmas Eve, or host coffee hour. You’ll find out about these opportunities on this web site and through our weekly email newsletter. You may subscribe to the newsletter on this page.
Would I be expected to make a financial contribution to the church?
We have an annual budget drive in the spring, when both members and friends are asked to pledge financial support to the church for the upcoming fiscal year. You would be asked to pledge an amount that is meaningful for you. Additional information about pledging is available here.
How long should I attend First Church before becoming a member?
People vary widely in how long it takes for them to obtain a deeper sense of the fit between them and our church community. Rev. Elizabeth Bukey recommends attending at least six worship services before choosing to become a member, especially if this is your first Unitarian Universalist congregation. While Sunday morning services are often at the heart of the church experience, we encourage you to look beyond these services. Volunteer at our church fairs, come to a congregational meeting, and talk with our minister, lay leaders, and other churchgoers. You can attend our small groups, church history talks, religious education programs, our book groups, and meetings of our Social Justice Action Committee.
I’d like to join, but I may only live in this area for a limited time. If I know that I’ll be leaving in a year or two, should I become a member?
There is no minimum time requirement needed to be a member of First Church. Just let us know when you do move out of the area, so that we can keep our membership records up to date.
How to I leave membership at First Church?
We know that change is a part of life, and that sometimes your spiritual journey or your life leads you away from First Church in JP. If this is you, go with our blessing...and let us know!
Leaving but remaining an active member (To remain active, you must either be actively participating in church life or contact the church at least once a year to say you wish to be considered "active.")
Leaving but becoming an "inactive" member. (Inactive members may not vote in business meetings and are not participating in the life of the church.)
Resigning your membership
Please let Rev. Elizabeth know if you would like us to bless you in worship before you go.
New to Unitarian Universalism?
Some people joining First Church have attended UU churches before. Some people are new to UU. If you're new to UU, try:
Browsing "The New UU" from UU World magazine online
"A Candid Welcome to Unitarian Universalism," Rev. Meg Riley
"The Call of Our Faith," Nancy Palmer Jones and Karin Lin
The New UU curriculum: work through on your own or ask Rev. EB to lead a discussion.