Five Pathways to Membership
Unitarian Church of Montpelier — September 2023 – June 2024
The Membership & Hospitality Committee, Board, and Staff of the Unitarian Church of Montpelier invite all new and long-time friends of our congregation to learn more about Unitarian Universalism (UU) and our Unitarian Church of Montpelier (UCM) community, through the following Five Pathways to Membership, inspired by our Mission Statement, our Congregational Covenant, and the Seven (Eight) Principles and Six Sources of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA).
Mission Statement of the Unitarian Church of Montpelier:
We welcome all as we build a loving community to nurture each person’s spiritual journey, serve human need, and protect the earth, our home.
Congregational Covenant (approved May 17, 2020):
We are the Unitarian Church of Montpelier. We are bound together by Love within this safe and nurturing community. We gather as we are and as we aspire to be. We accept some discomfort to stretch beyond past boundaries and habits. We covenant to:
- speak honestly and listen deeply to each other and the voice within;
- treat each other with compassion and honor our differences;
- take responsibility for the impact our words, actions, and inactions have on each other;
- support each other in times of need and of grief, and celebrate the beauty and joy in our lives;
- honor the gifts of the past and be gentle with each other as we grow;
- encourage each other in the brave work of creating a more Beloved Community & a healthy, sustainable world;
- and, forgive each other and start again.
Seven Principles of Unitarian Universalism — We, the member congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Association, covenant to affirm and promote:
- The inherent worth and dignity of every human being
- Justice, equity, and compassion in human relations
- Acceptance of one another and encouragement of spiritual growth
- A free and responsible search for truth and meaning
- The right of conscience and use of the democratic process in our congregations
- The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all
- Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part
Eighth Principle (adopted by UCM 02/13/2022) — We, the member congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Association, covenant to affirm and promote:
- Journeying toward spiritual wholeness by working to build a diverse multicultural Beloved Community by our actions that accountably dismantle racism and other oppressions in ourselves and our institutions.
Six Sources of Unitarian Universalism — Unitarian Universalist congregations affirm and promote Seven Principles, which we hold as strong values and moral guides. We live out these Principles within a “living tradition” of wisdom and spirituality, drawn from sources as diverse as science, poetry, scripture, and personal experience. These are the six sources our congregations affirm and promote:
- Direct experience of that transcending mystery and wonder, affirmed in all cultures, which moves us to a renewal of the spirit and an openness to the forces which create and uphold life;
- Words and deeds of prophetic people which challenge us to confront powers and structures of evil with justice, compassion, and the transforming power of love;
- Wisdom from the world’s religions which inspires us in our ethical and spiritual life;
- Jewish and Christian teachings which call us to respond to God’s love by loving our neighbors as ourselves;
- Humanist teachings which counsel us to heed the guidance of reason and the results of science, and warn us against idolatries of the mind and spirit;
- Spiritual teachings of Earth-centered traditions which celebrate the sacred circle of life and instruct us to live in harmony with the rhythms of nature
If you are interested in becoming a UU, officially joining the Unitarian Church of Montpelier, and signing our Membership Book, we encourage you to engage with each of these Five Pathways, to deepen your understanding of and connection with our community. Many of these activities and suggestions for engagement may already be familiar aspects of your everyday life, while others may provide new and exciting ways for you to grow spiritually, and come to understand who we are and who we all strive to be, together. Thank you for joining us on this journey!
The options in bold are highly recommended. These will introduce you to all aspects of our UCM community, what it means to become a Member, and the rights and responsibilities of Membership.
When you are completing your journey along these pathways (or at any point along the way), we invite you to meet, virtually or in person, with our Minister, Rev. Joan Javier-Duval, and/or our Congregational Life Coordinator, Elaine Ball, to discuss what you have learned as well as any additional questions you may have, and to sign our Membership Book.
Thank you for your interest in joining our UCM community! We look forward to meeting you and getting to know you in the months and years to come.
Congregational Life Coordinator
Pathway 1 – We welcome all
▢ Join, and/or participate in a program offered by one of the following UCM Committees:
- Monday Community Lunch
- Lifespan Spiritual Exploration (LSE) Committee — Youth or Adult
- Membership & Hospitality Committee and Hospitality Team
- Racial Justice Group (RJG)
- Women’s Alliance
▢ Help another person, or yourself, see, recognize, or believe in their inherent worth and dignity — raise someone up; show someone their value; offer unexpected praise, affirmation, recognition, or kindness (write a letter, have a conversation, create an experience, etc.).
▢ Read, watch, attend, or listen to a book, article, lecture, program, class, workshop, event, podcast, or film written, led, produced, and/or created by someone who identifies as Black, Indigenous, or a Person of Color (BIPOC), and/or a member of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, Intersex, Asexual (LGBTQIA+) community.
▢ Educate yourself about a community of people, an issue/viewpoint, or a political movement (local, national, or international) that you are not very familiar with — seek out voices and perspectives that are different from those you typically hear from.
▢ Learn more about, volunteer for, and/or attend a program organized by a local organization working directly with and for marginalized communities (Central Vermont Refugee Action Network (CVRAN); Central Vermont Showing up for Racial Justice (SURJ); Outright Vermont; Pride Center of Vermont; Migrant Justice; Vermont Interfaith Action (VIA); etc.).
▢ Choose your own adventure! Affirm and promote the inherent worth and dignity of every human being (1st Principle); Affirm and promote justice, equity, and compassion in human relations (2nd Principle).
Pathway 2 – We build a loving community
▢ Attend or watch a recording of UCM’s “New UU” class, “All About UCM,” led by the Membership & Hospitality Committee, Stewardship Committee, and representatives of numerous active UCM Committees and Teams (contact Congregational Life Coordinator, Elaine Ball for details). In-person “New UU” classes, events, and committee fairs are generally held twice a year, in the Fall (Sept/Oct/Nov) and Spring (March/April/May), however due to flood recovery efforts currently underway, we plan to schedule these activities in the Winter (Nov 2023 – Feb 2024). Subscribe to the weekly e-news for updates, news, and event details!
▢ Join, volunteer for, and/or serve on one of UCM’s Committees or Teams (see our most recent Annual Report(s) at ucmvt.org for a current list of and details about our Committees):
- Climate Action Team (CAT)
- Communications Team
- Monday Community Lunch
- Lifespan Spiritual Exploration (LSE) Committee
- Membership & Hospitality Committee and Hospitality Team
- Property Committee
- Women’s Alliance
▢ Read and reflect on UCM’s Congregational Covenant (approved May 2020) – journal about your thoughts, and/or share them with another UCM friend/member.
▢ Engage with an act of self-care, indulgence, grace, forgiveness, calm, and/or kindness for who you are, exactly as you are (write yourself a letter, give yourself a ‘pep talk,’ give yourself a gift/opportunity/experience that is long overdue, etc.).
▢ Choose your own adventure! Affirm and promote justice, equity, and compassion in human relations (2nd Principle); Affirm and promote acceptance of one another and encouragement of spiritual growth (3rd Principle); Affirm and promote the goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all (6th Principle); Affirm and promote the right of conscience and use of the democratic process in our congregations (5th Principle).
Pathway 3 – Nurture Each Person’s Spiritual Journey
▢ Attend or watch a recording of UCM’s “New UU” class, “UU History & Theology,” led by Rev. Joan and the Membership & Hospitality Committee (contact Congregational Life Coordinator, Elaine Ball, for details).
▢ Teach or facilitate an LSE class, program, or event, such as children’s programming on a Sunday morning; a Chalice Circle/Small Group; or an online workshop/presentation.
▢ Learn more about the religious beliefs/traditions of your parents or grandparents. If you wish, journal about your experiences afterward.
▢ Have a meaningful conversation with, listen to a sermon/speech given by, and/or read a book or article written by someone you consider a spiritual leader (perhaps a minister, reverend, priest, bishop, rabbi, imam, teacher, scholar, or guide).
▢ Share with a friend or family member (perhaps a young person) more about your own religious beliefs/traditions.
▢ Create and/or engage with a new or familiar spiritual practice meaningful to you and/or your friends and family (for example: prayer; meditation; singing; holiday rituals or traditions; etc.). If you wish, journal about your experiences afterward.
▢ Choose your own adventure! Affirm and promote acceptance of one another and encouragement of spiritual growth (3rd Principle); Affirm and promote a free and responsible search for truth and meaning (4th Principle).
Pathway 4 – Serve Human Need
▢ Offer a financial gift, in any amount, within your means, to UCM’s General Fund and/or Community Pouch (donate at ucmvt.org). You may choose to give once annually, or to participate in our Annual Budget Drive, held each year beginning in March, pledging to give regularly, to support our community as we work together to fulfill and live into our mission.
▢ Volunteer with UCM’s Monday Community Lunch and/or Thursday Warming Shelter teams.
▢ Join UCM’s Women’s Alliance (WA), and/or participate in a WA program/service opportunity (such as the Holiday Fair, Rummage Sales, Soup Sales, or Bake Sales); volunteer with UCM’s Communications Team, LSE Committee, Membership & Hospitality Committee, Property Committee, or another committee/team that serves the people within our congregation.
▢ Invite a neighbor or neighbor’s family over for dinner, and/or offer a friend or family member an unexpected kindness/gift — let them know you love and appreciate them.
▢ Volunteer with a local organization that directly serves people in need (Another Way; Basement Teen Center/Boys & Girls Club; Capstone Community Action; Elevate Youth Services; Good Samaritan Haven; Montpelier Food Pantry (Just Basics, Inc.); Vermont Food Bank; etc.).
▢ Choose your own adventure! Affirm and promote justice, equity, and compassion in human relations (2nd Principle); Affirm and promote the goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all (6th Principle).
Pathway 5 – Protect the Earth, our home
▢ Join, or participate in an offering/program from UCM’s Climate Action Team (CAT).
▢ Learn about climate change – read a book/article, listen to a TED Talk/podcast/radio show/lecture, watch a film, and/or have a meaningful conversation with a friend/family member about what they have learned about climate change. If you wish, journal about your experiences afterward.
▢ Take time to be outside, in nature — be still and listen, and/or engage with an enjoyable outdoor activity such as gardening, walking/hiking, skiing/snowboarding/snowshoeing, swimming, or playing — take time to observe, watch, and learn from Mother Nature.
▢ Create some form of earth art (art inspired by and/or created with the natural world). If you wish, journal about your experiences, and/or share what you have created with a friend/family member, and/or on social media.
▢ Attend and/or participate in an in-person or virtual nature-based learning/conservation program, lecture, workshop, class, service opportunity, or event – if possible, bring a friend/family member with you, and/or discuss your experience with them afterward!
▢ Learn more about and/or volunteer for a local organization that directly protects, preserves, or works to save natural habitats/environments/creatures (Audubon Vermont; Extinction Rebellion Vermont (XRVT); Friends of the Winooski River; The Nature Conservancy Vermont; North Branch Nature Center; Northeast Wilderness Trust; Vermont Institute of Natural Science; Vermont Outdoor Guide Association; Vermont Wilderness School; etc.).
▢ Choose your own adventure! Affirm and promote respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are apart (7th Principle).