Belonging at UUSGU
For those considering membership with us at UUSGU, we trust that you will find our community a very welcoming and tolerant environment in which to undertake your personal spiritual explorations. However, before becoming a member there are a few basic essentials of membership that you should take the opportunity to understand so that you can get the most from your experiences with us.
Here at UUSGU we keep an open mind to the spiritual questions people have asked for centuries. We seek religious truths through personal experience, conscience, and reason. We believe the true measure of a religious tradition is shown best by deeds, not creeds. We do not look to any one source, or book, or person for religious authority. Rather, we trust in the individual search for truth and meaning, found and tested in the bonds of community, just as many famous Unitarian Universalists have done through the ages.
UUSGU members and friends are committed to the practice of compassion and service: we believe one of life’s greatest gifts is the opportunity to care for one another.
At UUSGU, we support individuals, families, and groups within the church to live out their deepest faith commitments and beliefs.
Within our diverse religious and cultural community, we can and do encourage and sustain one another as we seek healing and justice for ourselves, our brothers and sisters, and all of creation.
Because of the nature of our individual spiritual quest, you are likely to find many differences between Unitarian Universalist congregations. While we welcome these differences, we all share a common foundation—often referred to as our seven principals—which as a member of our congregation you will be expected to accept and respect. The seven principals are as follows:
WE, THE MEMBER CONGREGATIONS OF THE
UNITARIAN UNIVERSALIST ASSOCIATION,
COVENANT TO 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.
As one of many Unitarian Universalist congregations, we affirm and promote the above seven principals as part of our UUSGU mission statement. In addition, our UUSGU mission statement reads in part:
We gather in community to nurture
spiritual and intellectual growth, to
practice compassion, and to serve.
There are many other goals, beliefs, actions, and activities undertaken by members of our community—most of which are welcomed and encouraged—however, the seven principals and the mission statement noted above in bold face type will always provide the central basis around which decisions are made and differences of opinion are resolved.
The Unitarian Universalist Society of Grafton and Upton
accomplishes this mission through the following actions
|• Providing a nurturing, welcoming, respectful and caring environment for worship and discourse for all, allowing us to celebrate our greatest congregational abundance – our diversity
• Bettering the world through social action and community involvement
• Provoking thought, seek truth and encourage everyone to develop a meaningful, spiritually fulfilling life
• Promoting dialogue between the ministry and congregation to explore and address the thoughts and concerns that matter to us
|• Teaching and living our lives by the seven Unitarian Universalist principles
• Expressing who we are and share our story and values regularly
• Investing in activities that attract the community
• Creating sacred space on Sunday mornings and other times that nurture the spirit
• Empowering committees / ministries who provide community outreach programs.
To summarize, we in the UUSGU community strive to:
- Be involved in our congregation, even if we don’t always agree
- Be accepting, warm and welcoming to all our fellow congregants irrespective of their background or beliefs
- Be positive representatives for our congregation and faith, and strive to live our life by the seven Unitarian Universalist principles
The above has been provided to inform you about us. If you are still interested in joining our congregation, the remaining steps are about you. Please know that we are excited to help you become a member of our congregation!
Step One: We would ask that you attend services for a minimum of one month and join us during coffee hour to meet our members so that you can be certain that you wish to make the investment in time, talent, and treasure that is expected from each member.
Step Two: Meet with our Minister to discuss these requirements and also your interests, issues, and/or concerns about joining our congregation. You should find our Minister friendly, helpful, interested, and generally very flexible with regard to resolving any issues that you may have.
Step Three: You may find it of value to you to attend any of a number of UU orientation programs. Our Director of Lifespan Religious Education and our Minister will be happy to make you aware of any educational opportunities and upcoming orientation programs happening here at the church or offered by the New England Region staff. There are also educational opportunities available on-line at the Unitarian Universalist Association website (UUA.org)
Step Four: UUSGU has covenanted with many other UU congregations to affirm and promote the seven principles stated above. When you become a member of UUSGU, it is expected that you will embrace those principles. In addition, our Unitarian Universalist Society of Grafton and Upton is governed by a set of by-laws which, as you get more involved with our community, you will undoubtedly find of interest. For now, it is sufficient for you to know that they exist. A copy of these by-laws as well as any number of other items can be found on our web-site (UUSGU.org) or provided upon request by our office administrator (call 508-839-2927 or email firstname.lastname@example.org)
Step Five: No congregation such as ours can exist without the members combined sharing of their individual talents, time and treasure. As a member, and in line with what you are willing and able to provide, we would anticipate a similar commitment from you. Our by-laws state that to be an active member, you must 1)fulfill an annual pledge toward the ongoing expenses of the Society, and 2) volunteer and serve the Society’s welfare by attending meetings, teaching, or providing for some needed service or special responsibility as you are able. (Also, per the by-laws, these requirements may be waived based on personal circumstance at the discretion of the Minister.)
You should receive a pledge card and discuss service opportunities when you meet with the Minister. You can complete, sign, and return the pledge card either by giving it to the Minister, leaving it in the collection plate, or giving it to the treasurer. Pledge cards can also be obtained by contacting the office administrator.
Step Six: Congratulations! Your final step is to sign the Membership Book, which the Minister will be happy to assist you in doing. Please note that by signing the membership book, you will be acknowledging your acceptance of the UUSGU mission and covenant statements, including the seven basic principles that provide our organizational foundation.
Welcome as a new member of the Unitarian Universalist Society of Grafton and Upton. May your membership with us be a long and prosperous opportunity for us all.