Become a Member
Becoming a Member of UUCSC
Have you been thinking about becoming a member of UUCSC? If so, this page will give you more information about the meaning, the privileges, and the responsibilities of membership in the Unitarian Universalist Church of Studio City, and the process by which one becomes a member of our congregation.
Sometimes people assume that church membership is automatic—something that just “happens” after they have attended services for a while or made a financial pledge. While participation and financial support are usually important aspects of membership, they do not by themselves make you a church member.
You join our church by first making a conscious decision to do so, completing some preparatory steps, and then formally signing your name in our Membership Book. This usually is done in a New Member ceremony during a Sunday morning service, at which time your membership is recognized and affirmed by the community.
Being a “Friend” of the Church
For people who have not yet chosen formal membership but who do support and/or participate regularly in church activities, we maintain a category of “friends”. As a friend of the church, you will be listed in our church directory (unless you request to be omitted) and included in all mailings. Some people, for various reasons, choose to remain friends of the church for years, loyally volunteering their time and financial support, but never taking the step of full membership.
Signing the Membership Book is an act of personal and public commitment to the life and work of our church and to the religious tradition in which we stand. It entails both privileges and responsibilities and has a variety of personal meanings which we will help you to explore here.
What Membership Means
In many churches, membership involves reciting a religious creed or affirming a written set of beliefs. As a creedless religious movement, Unitarian Universalism defines church membership somewhat differently.
In the free church tradition, we understand membership as a matter of covenant between people — a promise to stand together with other members of the congregation in a relationship of mutual respect and support, to take your own religious journey seriously in community with others, and to work together in commitment to a common vision.
One of the common and natural transitions that people make after attending a church for an initial period of acquaintance is beginning to “feel at home.” This personal awareness is the first stage in deciding to join a church.
The first meaning of church membership is thus a private commitment of identification and loyalty.
- It may mean that you decided for yourself that this congregation is and will be your “religious home,” and that you wish to make a formal affirmation of that realization.
- It may mean that you want to say to yourself and others that you join in support of the principles and values that have shaped our religious tradition over the years.
- It may mean that you want to be recognized by others in choosing this congregation as your “religious home.”
In “signing the book” you affirm decisions like these for yourself and promise to help us in strengthening the life of this congregation, promoting the religious growth of yourself and others, and making our religious tradition and its values and principles better known in the world.
In moving beyond being just a “consumer” of the church’s programs and deciding to take a more active role in our church’s life and growth, you have already accepted the basic responsibility of church membership. Creative and supportive involvement in the life and work of the church can take a variety of forms:
- serving on committees, task forces, etc.;
- making a pledge of regular financial support;
- volunteering to work on specific projects or tasks;
- regular attendance at congregational meetings.
Joining the church implies a commitment to be actively involved in the life of the congregation. Of course, people vary widely in their ability to contribute financial support and volunteer time. Some, by reason of age or infirmity, are quite limited in their ability to attend services. But generally we expect that you, as a member, will find a niche in which you can use your skills and interests in a way that is rewarding for you and supportive of the life of the church as a whole.
Most of the programs of our church are open to all — members and newcomers alike. A few activities or positions, however, require that you formally join our church. Only as a church member will you be eligible to:
- vote at official congregational meetings;
- be elected to certain leadership positions;
- serve as a delegate to larger UU gatherings.
In addition, once you have joined the church, your name will be added to our national registry of Unitarian Universalists. As a member, you will receive regular issues of our association’s magazine, the UU World, and other occasional mailings about the district and national activities of our religious movement.
The Process of Joining
Your formal membership process begins when you decide you are ready to join us and indicate that by submitting the “Membership Intent Form” on the back flap of the brochure you’ll find in the entry hall of the church. The process culminates in your signing the membership book, usually with a group of other new members in a Sunday morning welcoming ceremony.
In between is a period of education and preparation, designed to help you better understand how our church works and what membership means. For this purpose, we have developed a checklist of activities and commitments that exemplify, or will inform you about, our church and its life.
- Attend a new member orientation meeting or, alternatively, meet individually with the minister or membership chairperson
- Attend one of our periodic sessions, “Introduction to Unitarian Universalism” (may be waived for longtime UUs)
- Attend a meeting of at least one of the church’s “working” groups: committee, task force, board of trustees, program council
- Undertake at least one volunteer service activity in the church (coffee hosting, ushering, help with special event, etc.)
- Make a pledge of ongoing financial support
- Fill out a personal information/interest form
- Write a short bio to introduce yourself
We ask that you complete each of the items on this list before we welcome you into membership. After receiving your Membership Intent Form, the Membership Committee will designate an experienced church member to act as a “mentor” to guide you in moving through this process and to answer whatever questions you may have. We will match you up with a “mentor” to guide you through the membership process, help you make contacts within the congregation. If you already know someone whom you would like to have as your mentor, please give her/his/their name(s).
Ready to Make a Decision to Join?
If you are ready to initiate the membership process, pick up the Becoming a Member brochure in the front lobby. Please fill out the “Membership Intent Form” on the back flap of the brochure and return the form to the church office.
If you have questions, please call the church office. Our minister or someone from our Membership Committee would be glad to speak with you or arrange a time to call on you at your convenience.