Membership in First Parish is open to anyone who agrees with our principles and purpose as a Unitarian Universalist congregation, and formally informs the church leadership of his or her intention to join.
Membership in this congregation is an acknowledgement that our lives are lived in a context larger than our individual interests, and that there is holiness to be found both within ourselves and within our community. In light of this, membership is an agreement with others that we will treat each other with respect and kindness, and that we will openly acknowledge and manage our differences in respectful, democratic ways. Membership is a recognition that we each continue to grow and change intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually over the course of our lifetime.
Learning about Unitarian Universalism
Before becoming a member, we encourage you to learn about Unitarian Universalism in any of several ways, including by:
- becoming acquainted with our current members at coffee hour and other events;
- participating in our “Newcomer’s Orientation,” a description of which follows this article below;
- participating in our three session UU101 class that we offer several times a year;
- reading about Unitarian Universalism.
We also encourage you to regularly attend Sunday services (in whatever way is manageable for you and your family); to become involved in a congregational activity that provides service to the church or the larger community; and to participate in a fellowship or educational event. Only members are eligible to vote at official church meetings. We encourage everyone, friend or member, to become informed by reading the newsletter and by attending informational meetings before entering into membership.
Becoming a Member
To become a member, speak to our Minister, Reverend Bob McKetchnie, and participate in our Newcomer’s Orientation. Our three session “UU101” class, usually offered in early fall and late winter, is encouraged but not required. New Members are voted into membership by the Parish Committee at a regular monthly meeting and are welcomed in a ceremony during a church service, held periodically throughout the year. You can then sign our membership book, a ritual that dates back centuries.
As they join, new members are asked to pledge a financial contribution to the congregation, as they are able.
During services, there is a collection to support the work of the church as well as a specific social justice agency, selected by the Outreach Committee. All contributions are voluntary and greatly appreciated.
In 2009, we voted overwhelmingly to become more welcoming and inclusive of people with marginalized sexual orientations and gender identities. We are aware that being a Welcoming Congregation is an ongoing process and requires continued attention. The Welcoming Congregation Committee offers one LGBTQ educational and one advocacy event each year, and participates in Boston’s Pride Day. We welcome your participation and feedback.
The church offers prospective members an opportunity to learn more about our congregation and its guiding principles in an informal session typically held for two hours after the service on Sunday once or twice a year. The gathering’s first order of business is a welcoming session of food and conversation, with a light lunch hosted by the congregation. The minister then provides an overview of Unitarian Universalism and where First Parish fits into its religious traditions. This is followed by a general discussion about our church, led off by members offering some details of their personal spiritual paths and what brought them here. Newcomers are invited to share their stories, and what they are seeking in a spiritual community.
Church leaders then explain the process of joining First Parish and what membership entails. The program wraps up with a question-and-answer session for visitors to raise any remaining issues.