What are the eligibility requirements for joining First Unitarian Church of Baltimore?

According to the church bylaws, anyone who is “in sympathy with the church’s purpose and programs” may become a member.

How old do I have to be to join?

Anyone who is 18 years or older may join the church. Additionally, anyone who is younger than 18 and has completed First Unitarian’s Coming of Age program is eligible to become a member and to vote in church elections.

What is a Beginnings class? Do I need to attend one to become a member?

Beginnings classes are held during most months of the year and introduce participants to the history and beliefs of Unitarian Universalism and to the culture of First Unitarian. If you are new to the denomination, then it is highly recommended that you attend one of the 90-minute sessions. A sign-up sheet is available at the Welcome Table, or contact membership@firstunitarian.net to register.

I just attended a Beginnings class and am interested in joining the church. What should I do next?

Contact the Membership Committee at membership@firstunitarian.net or stop by the Welcome Table to talk with a committee representative. It is recommended that you have a conversation with a minister before you sign the Membership Book. The Membership Committee will also speak with you regarding your preference for being introduced to the congregation.

I am already a Unitarian Universalist (UU). Are there different procedures that I need to follow in order to join?

You may either secure a letter of transfer from the church that you were most recently attending or schedule a one-on-one meeting with our minister. You are welcome to attend a Beginnings class if you would like to do so. The class will serve as an orientation to the current initiatives at First Unitarian and put you in touch with other newcomers.

Does everyone have to meet individually with a minister before they join the church?

Our minister would like to meet with any UU who does not want to attend a Beginnings class and who did not obtain a letter of transfer from their previous congregation. If you are new to Unitarian Universalism, then a private meeting with the minister is a recommended but optional step.

I’ve been attending services at First Unitarian for more than a year and am serving on a committee. Is it still necessary to attend a Beginnings class in order to join the church?

A Beginnings class may fill in some missing information, but would be an optional step. It is recommended that you have a private meeting with the minister to discuss where you are in your spiritual journey.

Is signing the Membership Book the same thing as joining the church? May I only sign the Membership Book at certain times?

Yes, in order to join the church you must sign the Membership Book. An individual Membership Book signing may be done by appointment in the presence of the minister and the President of the Board of Trustees. You may also sign the Membership Book as part of a group signing.

How are new members introduced to the congregation?

New members meet with a volunteer from the Membership Committee to co-write a short paragraph of introduction. With your permission, the introduction is printed in The Beacon (our monthly newsletter) and read by a church leader during a New Member Welcome Ceremony. New members are asked to submit a recent photo to accompany the newsletter announcement and for display on our New Member Bulletin Board. Please note that these activities are optional; you may request that your photo not be printed or displayed.

I just joined the church. Am I eligible to vote at the next Annual Meeting?

New members must wait three months from the date they signed the Membership Book before they are eligible to vote at Annual Meetings or special elections.

How long do I have to wait before I can serve on the Board of Trustees?

You are eligible to serve on the Board of Trustees after one year of church membership.

As a new member, is there any time restriction before I am eligible to serve on certain committees?

You must be a member of First Unitarian for one full year before serving on the Nominating Committee and the Committee on (Shared) Ministry. You do not have to be a member of the church or wait for a designated time period to serve on any of the other church committees.

What are the dues requirements for this church?

There are no fees or dues requirements to become a member of First Unitarian Church of Baltimore. New members receive a copy of the Suggested Fair Share Giving guidelines, published by the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA). Each individual or family determines the donation amount that is appropriate for their circumstances.

What is a pledge?

A pledge is a written declaration of financial commitment to the church community. It signifies that you identify as a steward of this church, its programs, and its religious values. Although pledging is an important component of membership, you do not have to be a member of First Unitarian to make a pledge during our annual Stewardship Campaign. No one is turned away from membership due to their inability to commit or to honor their yearly pledge.

What is the difference between a Member and a Friend of First Unitarian?

A “friend” of First Unitarian is involved in the life of the congregation but has never signed the Membership Book. many friends of the church provide financial support and give generously of their time and talents. According to our bylaws, a friend may not hold office or serve on either the Nominating Committee or the Committee on (Shared) Ministry. Additionally, the church pays annual dues to the Unitarian Universalist Association for every member of the congregation but is not required to do so for friends.

What is the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA)?

The UUA is the central organization for Unitarian Universalists in the United States. It is comprised of more than 1,000 UU congregations. The UUA provides resources to member churches in the form of pamphlets, devotional materials, and religious education curriculum. In addition to publishing the quarterly journal, UU World, the UUA owns Beacon Press, an independent publisher of non-fiction books. Based on their most recent membership count, UU churches send delegates to General Assembly, which is the UUA’s annual meeting.

I just joined First Unitarian Church of Baltimore. Am I automatically a member of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA)?

Yes, a member of First unitarian automatically becomes a member of the Unitarian Universalist Association.

In addition to voting rights and the eligibility to serve on certain committees, what are some of the other privileges of membership?

Members are eligible to serve as delegates to General Assembly and to receive a free subscription to UU World magazine. In lieu of a fee, members may make a donation to First Unitarian and receive the services of our minister at weddings, memorial services, and baby dedication ceremonies. Our Pastoral Associates provide presence and support to members during periods of illness or other personal crisis.

I am moving out of the area and will no longer be able to attend this church. Should I resign my membership? What is the process for resignation?

Many people postpone resigning from First Unitarian until they are more familiar with their new locale and have located a UU church that is to their liking. Until that tie, they continue to provide long-distance financial support and to be listed in our church directory. Written notification is requested from those who are resigning from church membership. The notice may be sent via email to office@firstunitarian.net or mailed to the attention of the Church Administrator at First Unitarian Church of Baltimore, 1 West Hamilton Street, Baltimore, MD 21201.