Congregational Membership in the Unitarian Universalist Association

Part of Congregational Cycles

By Heather Bond

The banner parade at General Assembly

Unitarian Universalism is faith that welcomes people from all walks of life into community with their local congregation, community, and the wider Association. If you are part of a community that is interested in joining the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) we encourage you to contact us.

Procedures for Admission

A new congregation becomes a member of the UUA when the UUA Board of Trustees approves its application. The Board votes on new congregation applications at its meetings that occur in January, April, June, and October of each year. Your application and supporting materials need to be received at least four weeks prior to the next Board meeting. Below is the rough schedule of annual due dates for your completed application.

Application Due Dates​

  • March 15 (for the April board meeting)
  • May 15 (for the June board meeting)
  • September 15 (for the October board meeting)
  • December 15 (for the January board meeting)

If you determine that your group is not quite ready to become a congregational member of the UUA, read more about Emerging Ministries.

Another category of membership is becoming a Covenanting Community. Your Regional Field Staff can help you discern which designation works best for your group.

Application Materials

Submit the items below with the application (Word, 7 pages) (PDF) to the Congregational Life Office at the UUA (please see the address at the foot of this page). You will need:

  1. A complete list of all charter members. The UUA Bylaws require congregations to have 30 adult charter members to be considered for affiliation.
  2. A copy of your congregation's bylaws. A resource for drafting congregational bylaws is  Your Congregation's Bylaws: a Guide to Effective Writing and Revising (Word, 89 pages) (PDF).
  3. A copy of your congregation's Articles of Incorporation. The UUA requires that all new congregations be incorporated in their state before affiliating with the Association. Because incorporation laws differ by location, it may be necessary for your group to contact a local attorney familiar with non-profit incorporation procedures. In filing the Articles of Incorporation, it will be necessary to fulfill UUA procedures for Admission-Rule 3.3.5 (f) which states: "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 UUA. With the prior written approval of the UUA Board of Trustees, the congregation has the option of naming a UUA affiliate organization (such as district, camp, conference center or other congregation), as the recipient of the congregation's assets."
  4. A check made payable to the Unitarian Universalist Association for its Fair Share contribution to the Annual Program Fund (APF), pro-rated for the month your congregation joins based on the UUA fiscal year (July 1st to June 30th).
    For example: A congregation of 30 members, whose application is dated March 1, would be asked to provide a contribution of $600 along with the application. Full Fair Share would be $1,800 (30 members times $60). The monthly Fair Share for the congregation in this example is $150 ($1,800 divided by 12 months). March—June is four months at $150 per month for a total of $600. Therefore, the Fair Share for a congregation of 30 members that requests membership in March is $600 for the remainder of the UUA's fiscal year that ends June 30. Please visit the APF Office for current rates and information on what your contribution does. If your congregation's fiscal year does not coincide with that of the Association and you would like assistance in budgeting for your APF contribution—or have any other questions—please contact the APF Office (617) 948-6512 or -6513 or email
    NOTE: Fair Share is the minimum amount that your congregation is requested to contribute each UUA fiscal year in support of the Association's work. Although a “corporate” contribution, since the congregation is the Association member, it is calculated on the basis of the total membership your congregation reports the preceding February on the “UUA Member Society Annual Certification Report and UUA Directory Update” form. The UUA Board of Trustees determines the method for calculating Fair Share as well as the amount. In coming years, when planning your congregation's budget, please take Full Fair Share for the fiscal year into account.
  5. The UUA requires three recommendations written in support of the congregation. You must include a letter from a nearby Unitarian Univeralism Ministers Association credentialed minister, your Regional Lead, and your District or Regional President. Sample letters are included in the addendum (PDF, 16 pages).
  6. The UUA requires your congregation's covenanting documents and practices. For help writing and living into your covenant, consult with your regional staff team.
  7. The application form included in this congregational membership document is the only application that will be considered for congregational membership with the UUA. For your application to be considered, all materials need to be received by the UUA by the due date. A checklist is included in the application form. Also, please note that this application when submitted will be posted online minus personal addresses and contact information.

Submitting Your Application

You can submit your application electronically or by mailing it to the UUA. Once it is successfully received, you will receive a confirmation email. If you have any questions regarding this process or need further assistance, please contact:

Heather Bond
Congregational Life
Unitarian Universalist Association
24 Farnsworth Street
Boston, MA 02210

About the Author

Heather Bond

Heather came to the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) after thirty years in the "for profit" world.

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