Becoming a Congregation or Covenanting Community
Being a Unitarian Universalist is all about interconnection!
If you don't have a UU community nearby, you may want to join the Church of the Larger Fellowship, which has a robust online presence.
If you have a local group who are interesting in creating your own UU community, here are some resources:
Options for New UU Communities
The UUA bylaws require a minimum number of 30 adult members to apply to be a member congregation, but there are other ways to connect to the UUA and get advice and support.
- Contact your regional staff. They have experience and can be a thought partner with your leaders.
- Consider becoming a Covenanting Community, which can be a first step, or be an option for housing co-ops, groups in retirement homes, or other non-congregational ways of being a community.
- Consider applying for 501c3 status.
Intentionality for New Congregations
Decisions made in the early years of a new congregation will influence its future for years to come. An organizing approach should include the following:
- A long-term vision and understanding of purpose.
- Inspiring lay and ministerial leaders who are knowledgeable about organizing a new congregation.
- Knowledge of previous efforts and strategies known to work.
- An assessment of the geographic area, including needs of the population to be served.
- A carefully crafted plan.
- Adequate financing and resources.
- Support from the larger UU community.
- More on Developing a New Congregation (PDF)
Additional Resources for New UU Communities
- The UUA Commission on Appraisal studied membership in UU congregations in their 2001 report, Belonging: The Meaning of Membership. There are interesting findings about membership and commitment at that time, which have informed congregations to ask for a higher level of member commitment since then.
- The process of starting a new congregation can be informed by community organizing methods. For some tips, read Sustainable Action: Planting the Seeds of Relational Organizing.
- Learn about the how the Wellsprings Congregregation (YouTube, 10:59) in Chester Springs, PA was an intentional church plant that was founded in 2008 and has grown to over 250 members.