UUCSS Policy – Membership

[updated April 2016]

Guiding Principle

Membership in the Unitarian Universalist Church of Silver Spring (UUCSS) carries no creedal requirements. However, membership in our Church does entail certain responsibilities and obligations. Since UUCSS is a member-owned, not-for-profit Maryland Religious Corporation, membership implies a responsibility to act as an owner (in the all-encompassing aspects of that title) of all church property, tangible and intangible.

Members

As a religious organization, we wish to affirm, through our Membership Policy, the values expressed in the Unitarian Universalist Association Statement of Purposes and Principles. To this end, we wish to welcome, and include in our membership, everyone who contributes to our common effort. To those who wish to join as Adult Members (open to persons eighteen [18] years of age or older), we ask that they first indicate their interest by signing a card, which is provided at the Visitor’s Table. This action only expresses an interest in joining and does not obligate persons in any way. However, we expect that if people complete this card, they are willing to participate in information sessions about Unitarian Universalism and our Church, which are held frequently throughout the Church year. Should they then wish to join, they can do so by signing the membership book in the presence of the Minister or a member of the Board of Trustees.

Those who are already very familiar with Unitarian Universalism and wish to join immediately may speak directly to the Minister or a Church Trustee. If there is no objection raised, they may sign the membership book in the presence of the Minister or a Church Trustee.

For policy regarding members as staff of UUCSS, see Section XIV, Non-Ministerial Staff.

Friends

For those who do not wish to become members, but do wish to continue to attend and participate in the programs and activities of the church, we offer an invitation to become Friends. While this has no official status as designated in the Constitution, it allows us to recognize people who wish to have a close relationship with us without becoming members. The status of Friend implies a level of commitment, which might result in making a pledge toward the support of the Church. If people wish to continue to receive the Uniter, we ask that they make a contribution for this service, the amount of which is determined by the Vice President for Finance.

Persons who wish to be Friends, rather than Members, may participate fully in any committee or program offered by the Church. They may attend general membership meetings and participate in the discussion of issues, but they may not vote. Friends may not hold any elected office or be a member of the Board of Trustees. They may use the Church facilities for weddings or memorial services, but they must pay the normal rental fees, unless they have made a pledged contribution for at least nine months prior to the special service. The announcement from the pulpit will reflect this broadened understanding of the process of becoming associated with UUCSS. It will also clearly invite people who are visiting to continue to visit us as long and as often as they wish.

Standing Member

In addition to Member (Adult and Youth) and Friend, the category of Standing Member has been created. This is intended to accommodate those members who wish to remain on our rolls, but who can no longer participate in the activities of the Church. This status is achieved upon recommendation of the Minister to the Board of Trustees.

Maintenance of Membership Rolls

To insure that the membership rolls are current, the Office Administrator, with the concurrence of the Minister and the Chair of the Membership Committee, in the first week of January of each year, will send a cordial letter to inactive and non-pledging Members and Friends, asking for a minimum contribution (the amount of which is determined by the Vice President for Finance). This letter will clearly state that a failure to respond will be construed as a statement of non-interest and, therefore, the Uniter will not be sent and, if the person is a Member, he or she will be dropped from the membership rolls.