The Process

If you decide to become a member of the First Unitarian Church of South Bend, you will take the following steps:

  1. Attend a coffee and cookies meeting with the minister after church,
  2. Attend the New UU Orientation Workshops,
  3. Have a formal meeting with the minister,
  4. Provide autobiographical information for the Ingathering Ceremony,
  5. Attend the Ingathering service/sign the Membership Book,
  6. Pledge Financial support
  7. Become eligible to vote and participate more deeply in church life

If you have been a member of a UU church elsewhere, or are a returning member, some of these requirements may be waived.

Coffee & Cookies with the Minister

After services on selected Sundays, we gather to chat with the minister. It’s a chance to do some discovery work about the church, Unitarian Universalism, our processes and what to expect in terms of proceedings in the sanctuary. Beyond that, it is a chance to meet other people that are exploring the church and membership here.

New Member Orientation

These are usually on two consecutive Sundays after church and are planned for about three hours each. There are a variety of topics covered in this curriculum, including values exercises, church history, exploring our personal religious timelines, congregational polity and committees, social aspects of the church and programs available at the church. Child care is available for these classes. Light snacks and beverages are provided.

Ingathering Ceremony

This public celebration of commitment is a joyous time. New beginning! A time to feel good as we welcome you with open arms! The signing of our membership book is usually handled in the morning just before the service where the Ingathering Ceremony is scheduled. You will be asked to provide a short bio that tells the congregation who you are, what your passions are and what you are looking forward to doing within the church.

Pledge Financial Support

A pledge is a member’s promise of financial support to this religious community. Becoming a member of this church and making a pledge of support is saying “I am more than a guest. I am vested in the future of this church.” A pledge card will be included with the other new member information you will receive upon becoming a member. The church’s Treasurer and the Vice-President will be the best people to answer questions and discuss the pledge process in depth.

Involvement

Being a part of our church community provides an opportunity to explore and share your personal gifts. We want to help you find activities that match your interests and fit your needs. The Membership Committee is available to assist you in connecting to others in the church.

Regular attendance at the Sunday service is one of the best ways to learn what’s going on and become familiar with the many people that make up our church. Participating in an Adult RE class or a Covenant Group are two ways to begin building relationships with others at the church while gaiing personal growth.

Voting

Our church is governed by By-Laws that will be given to you as part of the new member information you will receive upon becoming a member. You are eligible to vote 30 days after you join. We urge you to fully participate in our democratic process by voting at all congregational meetings and paying attention to communications from the Board of Trustees.

Maintaining or Changing Membership

You will maintain your membership by keeping the office and Membership Chair informed of your current address, preferred means of communication, continuing your pledge contributions and renewing your pledge annually. Should you decide to discontinue your membership, we ask that you send a letter of resignation to the Secretary of the Board of Trustees. If you fail to make a contribution of record during the fiscal year, or fail to make an annual pledge, you will be contacted by the President of the Board of Trustees to discuss your status when the President certifies the Membership to the UUA.

If you would like to become a member of this congregation, please speak with one of our greeters, Rev. Chip or anyone in the congregation wearing a name button on Sunday mornings. They will be happy to answer your questions and direct you to a Membership Committee representative!