Changing Status of Emerging Congregations
In 2019, three Emerging Congregations in the MidAmerica Region sought to change their status with the UUA. “Emerging Congregations are new congregations that have been recognized by their region…as ‘emerging’ and are actively working toward becoming a member congregation of the UUA,” according to the UUA’s website.
Sometimes these new congregations are successful in becoming members congregations. For example, after 15 years as an emerging congregation, the Mt. Vernon Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Illinois was officially accepted for membership as an affiliated congregation by the UUA Board of Trustees last October.
And in January of this year, the Lakeshore UU Fellowship in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, was also accepted by the Board of Trustees.
Not every Emerging Congregation chooses to become an affiliated congregation with the Association, however. Sometimes a group will move to the Covenanting Community status, a route several Emerging Congregations in the MidAmerica Region have taken over the years. In April of 2019, the UU Fellowship of Marshalltown, Iowa, became the most recent Emerging Congregation to do this.
The MidAmerica staff is proud of all of these congregations! Whether they become a fully affiliated congregation or a covenanting community, by officially changing their status, these fellowships have found a place in our association that reflects who they truly are. That’s why we’ll be working with the six remaining Emerging Congregations in our region over the next year to help discern which status is the right one for them.
Emerging Congregations that have found it difficult to fulfill the requirements to become fully affiliated congregations with the UUA will be encouraged to become Covenanting Communities. These communities can “claim a UU identity and advance UU values” without having to meet the requirements of a traditional congregation.
In addition to having 30 adult charter members, the requirements for becoming a member congregation include submitting articles of incorporation, congregational by-laws, and letters of recommendation from a nearby Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association credentialed
minister, their Regional Lead, and their Regional President.
Some Emerging Congregations are, indeed, “actively working toward becoming a member congregation of the UUA,” and are on their way to fulling those requirements. We’ll be asking those Emerging Congregations to prepare and submit their application for full affiliation to the UUA Board of Trustees by the end of this calendar year. If an Emerging Congregation is unable to do this in 2020, we are happy to work with them to prepare a realistic timeline to become a member congregation, or to change their status to Covenanting Community.
Questions about where your congregation fits in? You can find information about Covenanting Communities, about Emerging Congregations, and about the process of Congregational Membership in the Unitarian Universalist Association. Whatever your congregation’s status, we’re here to help. If you have any questions, please contact Phillip Lund at plund [at] uua [dot] org.