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Congregational Membership in the UUA: Writing Congregational Bylaws

Many congregations are choosing to spell out their membership in the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) in their bylaws. This decision has a two-fold purpose: (1) to clearly define the congregation as a Unitarian Universalist congregation and (2) to forestall the membership's removing the congregation from the UUA (Unitarian Universalist Association) without discussion. Granted, the latter scenario is not very likely, but defining yourselves as a UU (Unitarian Universalist) congregation ensures that your congregation's main affiliation will not be changed without due process.

Some congregations choose to list not only their membership in the UUA but also their membership in their particular district. Those that do so must take care to ensure that words such as or their successors are included so that in case of a redistricting or a change in district names or structure, the provision is not made invalid. It is always a good idea to amend the bylaws to reflect new names of the organization, though with a successor's clause it need not be done immediately. It is also wise to ensure that the formal legal names of such entities are included. As of the writing of this document, the official name of the UUA is Unitarian Universalist Association.

Sample Provisions

Example 1: The Church shall be a member of the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations and the Southwest Unitarian Universalist Conference or their successors.

Example 2: The Fellowship shall be a member of the Unitarian Universalist Association and the Central Midwest District. We subscribe to their constitution and bylaws, but reaffirm the independence and autonomy of local churches and fellowships, both as to individual freedom of belief and congregational freedom of decision and action.

Example 3: This church shall be a member of the Unitarian Universalist Association and of the Mid-South District.

For more information contact growthresources @ uua.org.

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Last updated on Thursday, February 7, 2013.

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