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November 1, 2004
This document is intended as a guide for use in forming and organizing membership committees. It is based on a two hundred to four hundred member congregation, but its numbers and functions can be expanded or contracted to meet the needs of your particular congregation. If your congregation is small enough that you only have three to four active committee members, see A Three-Person Membership Committee for Small Congregations.
For an overall view of a Membership Committee's responsibilities see page 95 of the Unitarian Universalist Association's (UUA) Congregational Handbook, a blue 8.5 x 11 inch book which should be available in your congregational office and is also on the UUA website.
The description that follows is of a Membership Committee which is divided into three teams or subcommittees: Greeting, Assimilation/Retention, and Caring.
Greet visitors each Sunday, hold New Unitarian Universalist (UU) classes as well as membership ceremonies at least twice a year, help visitors and members find places to connect within the congregation, provide appropriate publications relating to membership, maintain contact with friends and members who come irregularly, provide caring for those in need.
The Greeting Subcommittee chairperson recruits and organizes five greeting teams (one for each Sunday of the month) of six to eight people each: one verger, two to four ushers, three Visitor Table greeters, one coffee maker/cleanup person and two after-service greeters. The Greeting chairperson is responsible for maintaining a welcoming presence from the half-hour before the Sunday service through the half-hour afterward.
The following information should be on the Visitor's Desk each Sunday for visitors:
Much of this material can also be placed into a folder to be handed to a visitor. Ask first. Some visitors may not want that much information on their first visit. If you do choose to make up Visitor Packets they should also include welcoming letters from the Membership Chair and/or minister.
Greeters should look for a note each Sunday from the Membership Chair, alerting them to anything special to do or watch for on that day. Whenever possible names of possible return visitors will be listed on the note so that greeters can welcome them by name.
The Caring Subcommittee is a subgroup of the Membership Committee, although in most public settings, including newsletter announcements, it refers to itself as the Caring Committee.
The Caring Committee provides deliberate care in a timely manner to members and friends who need help in coping with an illness, injury, death, or other personal or family crisis. It also acknowledges selected celebratory occasions such as births, high school graduations, and other significant events in the lives of friends and members.
The committee will respond to any indications that friends and members need caring, including any mention of such need during Sunday morning joys and concerns, reports from other members, etc. The chair will organize any such events, calling upon others as necessary.
There is no formal list of subcommittee members. All members of the congregation are considered to be members of the Caring Committee and may be called upon as needed to provide care.
For more information contact interconnections @ uua.org.
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Last updated on Saturday, December 21, 2013.
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