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Handout 1: Rights and Responsibilities of Membership

Because we are a democratic community, members are collectively vested with responsibility for the congregation. Members may vote at any congregational meeting, be elected to the governing board, and participate in any activities of the congregation.

Because we are a covenanted congregation, members have certain responsibilities to the congregation and to one another. They are best fulfilled by:

  • Regular attendance at worship. Weekly worship cements the bonds of community, and keeps our attention directed to our highest values, while nurturing our spirits.
  • Voting at congregational meetings. Responsible participation includes imagining the needs of the entire congregation, rather than focusing only on one's own needs or desires. Consider how issues affect all members of the congregation, as well as potential members and others in the world outside the congregation.
  • Making financial contributions. Not only does this provide for the support of the congregation, but it also serves as a spiritual discipline. Many Unitarian Universalists aim for a modern tithe—that is, giving 5 percent of income to the congregation, and another 5 percent to other organizations and causes that represent their values.
  • Contributing time and talent. Congregations work because their members find ways to give of themselves, whether through singing, financial management, educating children, sharing their passion for social justice, organizing, cooking, greeting—the list of tasks goes on. Finding ways to give back that nurture your own soul helps to avoid resentment and supports your own growth.
  • Spiritual growth and development. Working deliberately at your own spiritual development is a gift to the congregation and to the larger world.

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