On Sunday, April 5, we will officially welcome our new members into our Fellowship during a joining service. For many of us – myself included – joining the UUFC was a liberating experience,especially for those of us who came from other faith traditions. Here we found a faith that is reasonable, relational, inclusive, and justice seeking.
Some have the mistaken notion that you can believe anything and be a Unitarian Universalist, which is another way of saying that you don’t have to stand for anything. Nothing could be further from the truth. We may not be creedal, but we are principled, and we gather around seven principles in particular. We affirm and promote:
We do not require you to hold certain theological or philosophical beliefs, but we do expect each other to aspire to live by these principles in our individual lives and in our shared community.
We are a principled community and we are a covenantal community, which means we promise to treat each other a certain way. In our Fellowship, we aspire to the promises of our congregational covenant, “The Way We Are with Each Other,” which all of us renew by reciting at each joining service:
As individuals and as a congregation, we may fail to uphold these guidelines from time to time, but our covenant gives us a standard to which we hold ourselves and each other accountable when we are not our best selves with each other.
There is one final requirement of membership. We expect each other to contribute our time and financial resources. Inevitably, the question arises, “How much?” To be legalistic, our congregation’s bylaws require that each member contribute “an amount equal to or greater than the annual basic cost of membership,” which is usually a little more than the dues our Fellowship pays for each member to the Thomas Jefferson District and the Unitarian Universalist Association. Our bylaws allow members who are experiencing financial hardship to receive a waiver from this requirement.
However, we hope that you will not be legalistic about your membership with us. To be legalistic would be like trying to put a price tag on community, friendship, acceptance, and support. We hope that your contributions of time and money will reflect your commitment to and appreciation of this Fellowship. As with anything in life, the more we put into it, the more we get out of it. The more of ourselves we invest in this community, the more community we experience.