Path to Membership

Membership Committee shakes hands of new members during service
New Member Recognition
Photo by Annie Tiberio Cameron

Perhaps you have come for worship service or other activities for only a few months, or perhaps you are a long-time friend. Now you are feeling moved to explore formal membership at the Unitarian Church of Montpelier (UCM). You may be wondering how this works.

This page explains some of the parts to membership at UCM. It contains the following four sections:

  • The Membership Commitment
  • What is the Next Step?
  • Signing and Celebrating
  • Now I’m a Member…

The Membership Commitment

We truly hope that you will choose to become a member of the Unitarian Church of Montpelier (UCM). As members, we hold the following expectations for ourselves:

  • Showing up  Sunday services and classes are the foundation of our community, and they are enriched by the presence of every member on a regular basis. No one takes attendance, and we all accept that some choose to be present more often than others.
  • Service  We are community built on and committed to service – service both to UCM and to the greater communities of which we are a part. Each of us finds our own way to contribute our time and effort, whether through committee work, Coffee Hour hosting, lay ministry, volunteering for church functions or social action initiatives.
  • Stewardship  Each of us annually pledges financial support to UCM according to our ability to contribute. The act of contributing is far more important than the amount of the contribution. Many “friends of UCM,” who are not official members, also contribute generously.

What is the Next Step?

As in most churches, there are activities for education and reflection about the denomination you wish to join.

Participating in one of our “New UU” sessions. These informal sessions give you a chance to get to know some current members as well as some other newcomers, and learn a little about UCM and Unitarian Universalism.  If you would like more information about this event, you can talk with anyone on the Membership Committee at the Hospitality Table in the vestry after the service or our Minister. Completion of “New UU” is a requirement for formal membership. If you are already a member of another UU congregation, however, you can simply transfer your membership.

Signing and Celebrating

Every signing of the Membership Roll is a cause for celebration — both for you and for us. New members are recognized and welcomed by the congregation in a New Member Recognition ceremony. You and the other participating new members will be acknowledged during the service and sign the church membership book. Once you have done this, you will be an active member of our congregation. Membership entitles you to vote at congregational meetings so your voice will be heard regarding important congregational issues.  Other benefits of membership include access to pastoral care and support when you are faced with life’s challenges, and ministry for life’s passages – marriage, child dedication, and memorial services.

Now I’m a Member…

What do I do now that I’m a formal member?

We hope a lot! There are so many ways to be involved, including working on committees, teaching in the religious education program, singing in the choir, and helping with special events such as the Holiday Fair and Annual Auction. Attending Sunday service is a meaningful contribution to the life of our church. This kind of participation, along with an identifiable financial contribution each year, is part of maintaining active membership. Every member finds the right fit among myriad options. Don’t be reluctant to try something new! Our Small Group Ministry program is particularly popular with new members, as it affords the opportunity to connect with about 6-10 people in a focused, intimate, conversational setting.

Welcome to the Unitarian Church of Montpelier. The rest, as they say, is up to you.

An Inclusive Congregation, Welcoming All