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Section C-3.3. Admission to Membership.

Rule 3.3.1. New Congregations.

It is the policy of the Unitarian Universalist Association to encourage and assist the development of new congregations as well as to support and aid existing member congregations as stated in the purposes of the Association.

Rule 3.3.2. Procedure for Admission.

A church or fellowship may become a member of the Association upon approval by the Board of Trustees of the Association of a written application for membership.

The application shall include:

  1. a statement that the applicant subscribes to the principles of the Association and pledges itself to support the Association;
  2. a copy of the articles of incorporation or other organizing documents and the bylaws of the applicant;
  3. the names and addresses of the charter members sufficient in number to satisfy the minimum membership requirements; and
  4. an initial payment in an amount of no less than the Fair Share contribution to the Association’s Annual Program Fund, pro-rated for the portion of the Association’s fiscal year remaining as of the date of application.

Rule 3.3.3. Membership Requirements for Admission.

A new congregation, to be recognized as a member of the Association, must have thirty (30) of its adult members be members solely of the new congregation.

Rule 3.3.4. Multiple Local Congregations.

In many communities the liberal religious movement may be better served by the establishment of two or more member congregations.

  1. It is ordinarily desirable that a new congregation should have the active support and sponsorship of any member congregation or congregations located in the same geographic area.
  2. The Association will neither initiate nor recognize such a new congregation until after the Association has consulted by mail or by interview with any member congregation or congregations located in the same geographic area. Such consultation shall include a request for letters from the presiding officer of the congregation's governing board and minister of such congregation(s) stating judgment regarding the establishment and/or recognition of the new congregation. The Association may proceed to assist in organizing or recognizing the new congregation despite local protest or objection if the Association believes that such action is in the best interests of the entire movement and that it will strengthen the total Unitarian Universalist position in the community.

Rule 3.3.5. Rules and Regulations for New Congregations.

It is essential that Unitarian Universalist congregations be affirmative in spirit, inclusive in fellowship, and mutually supportive in their relationships with other congregations. The following statements represent the Association's best judgment as to the meaning of this general statement and shall be used by staff and the Board in determining action upon applications for membership.

  1. In receiving the application of a new congregation for membership in the Association, the Congregational Services staff shall satisfy itself that the group is making its application in good faith and that it will make a sincere effort to carry out the purposes of the Association. (See specifically Article II of the Bylaws.)
  2. The Association interprets its statements of purpose to mean that no congregation may be accepted into membership if its bylaws exclude from its local membership any person because of race, ethnicity, gender, disability, affectional or sexual orientation, language, citizenship status, economic status, or national origin.
  3. All member congregations must be congregational in polity; the final authority to make decisions must be vested in the legal membership of the congregation.
  4. Member congregations shall project and embark upon a balanced program of religious activity including adult worship and/or discussion and when feasible establishment of a church school in the Unitarian Universalist tradition.
  5. New congregations are expected to establish and maintain cooperative relations with Unitarian Universalist agencies, as appropriate and feasible.
  6. A congregation should be incorporated when possible under the laws of the state in which it exists. A congregation shall include in its articles of incorporation or other organizing documents a clause providing that the assets of the congregation will be transferred upon dissolution to the Association. Notwithstanding the foregoing, if a congregation obtains the prior written consent of the Association’s Board of Trustees, the congregation may name an organization that is affiliated with the Association (such as a district, camp, conference center or other congregation) as the recipient of the congregation’s assets upon dissolution.

Rule 3.3.6. Order of Administrative Procedure.

The order of administrative procedure:

  1. Application for congregational membership in the Association will first be referred to UUA staff.
  2. UUA staff will seek information and advice with respect to all applications as follows:
    • U.S. Congregations—District President
    • Other Congregations—Executive Officer of appropriate Unitarian or Universalist or Unitarian Universalist international group, if any.
  3. UUA staff will make its recommendation to the President of the Association, and the President shall then make recommendations to the Board of Trustees of the UUA for its final action.

For more information contact web @ uua.org.

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Last updated on Tuesday, October 4, 2011.

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