A Flexible Pathway to Membership

In June of 2019 I was inspired by a workshop at General Assembly facilitated by Janine Gelsinger and Phoebe Dubisch. The topic… Pathway to Membership. The idea was to make joining more accessible and inclusive by allowing potential new members to find their own way to membership. The benefit is that a new member will already be integrated into the congregations before they even sign the book, and current members will already be in relationship with the new members. As they experienced in the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Phoenix (who gave the workshop), this has led to more meaningful connections and more committed members.

I decided to use our mission statement as inspiration, putting various activities into the categories. A potential new member would complete at least one activity in each category, plus three additional activities of their choice. They would also need to complete the requirements in the bylaws (meet one-on-one with the Director of Membership Development to discuss the Privileges and Responsibilities of Membership, fill out a new member form, and sign the membership book).

The response to this has been very positive and appreciative!

Here is how we describe it on our website:

East Shore’s Paths to Membership

Image showing a grid of possible activities to become a member. PDF is available for screen readers.

There are MANY ways to become a member of East Shore, but all involve a few steps:

  • Practice Love: From offering a listening ear, delivering a meal, or even getting your hands dirty.
  • Explore Spirituality: One of the great things about Unitarian Universalism is having many religious traditions. We invite you to explore them all.
  • Build Community: From potlucks to choir, eating to activities, we want you to begin building relationships!
  • Promote Justice: A huge part of who we are is our desire to help others, we hope you find a way to serve others alongside us.

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Congregational Interconnections Logo with a colorful circle of butterflies?/birds?/chalices? with one just outside the circle, ambiguously flying in or out of the circle.

Congregational Interconnections Series

Our Congregational Interconnections Series includes stories, resources, ideas, and practices shared by congregations in the spirit of creative interchange, group learning, and emerging practices. Does your congregation have something that is working well? Please let us know so we can share it!

Share Your Story or Idea! Email: leaderlab@uua.org