Your first visit to the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship could be part of a quest you may have been on for a while, or one you have just begun. Either way, you are most welcome among us!
If you would like to know more about us, simply sign your name and provide your email address in the Visitors' Book. You will then start to receive our monthly newsletter, The Unicorn, and weekly supplements by email, and other occasional special mailings. You are warmly invited to participate in many of the activities, classes, or programs that we offer.
Orientation - The Belonging Series
We offer these sessions periodically throughout the year. They provide an introduction for newcomers to Unitarian Universalism and our Congregation; equip participants to make a decision about membership in our congregation; provide information related to Unitarian Universalist worship, theology, history, social justice work, religious education, and governance and facilitate integration into the congregation by introducing participants to a selection of current members. The sessions are led by our minister, the Rev. Margie Allen.
Joining as a Member
If you have attended an Orientation Session, or have met privately with the Minister, or have previous experience in another UU congregation, we invite you to "sign the book" and become a member of the UU Fellowship at Stony Brook. Signing may be done after the Belonging Series or by appointment with the Minister or a Board member at any time throughout the year.
Our Mission Statement
The congregation has written the current statement of our Mission:
"The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship at Stony Brook is a religious community that seeks diversity, individual spiritual growth, and social and economic justice."
By signing the membership book, one pledges to share this mission, our concern for one another, for our world, and our belief that through common effort we may better shape the meaning of our lives. We join together to support the mission of our religious community whose members are devoted to the search for what is true, creative and just. We seek to understand and to fulfill our potential to lead lives of integrity and service, and willingly join this community's efforts to create and celebrate a just and peaceful world.
New Member Welcome Service
After you "sign the book," we will invite you to take part in our New Member Service, held once a year in the Spring. New members are officially welcomed in a brief ceremony at which you will be asked to say a few words about yourself and be officially welcomed by the congregation.
Membership and Pledging
With membership comes the responsibility to support the UU Fellowship through a pledge and payment of an annual amount that shows your commitment to further our programs. While our primary financial support comes through membership pledges and payments, there is a wide range of giving. Questions or concerns may be addressed to the Minister by confidential email or voice mail.
Becoming a Unitarian Universalist
As UU minister, the Rev. Jack Mendelsohn once said, "Our religious way of life is not so much an arriving as a becoming - an ongoing process of thought and life experience." Along that way, we have found the following five items to be the foundations of meaningful UU membership:
- Show up: attend regularly on Sunday mornings
- Search: at least once a year, participate in an educational program that deepens your faith
- Serve: be involved in at least one outreach program per year
- Support the congregation financially at a stewardship level
- Speak to others about our congregation.
We look forward to welcoming you to the journey with us!
Maintaining Your Membership
Now you are a Voting Member. You can vote and be a committee chair and be a member of the board and receive many other benefits of membership. You remain a Voting Member every year after that in which you make a payment on a pledge or give a donation of record.
What is a “donation of record”? Well, any amount of cash that is identified as yours - a check with your name on it, or money in an envelope with your name on it. But, you say, you are putting cash in the basket every week! Well, we thank you very much, but we have no way of knowing that you are doing this, and even though you are considered a member as long as you do not resign, you are not a Voting Member if you stop donating to our budget.
What does that mean? It means that if we have no record of a contribution, you cannot vote at the next Congregational meeting, cannot be on the board, nor serve as a Committee Chair, nor be on the Committee on the Ministry of the Congregation or the Nominating Committee. In addition, ministerial services will come with a charge - weddings and memorials and child dedications and such. You are now an Inactive Member.
All that separates an Inactive Member from a Voting Member is proof that you support this Fellowship’s operating budget - that you help us out with all the expenses we have every day. You decide how much you can afford to donate. We don’t have a set fee for a pledge and even if you don’t pledge, you can continue to be active, come to services, take part in committees, fund-raisers, parties, etc. Anyone can be a Friend of the Fellowship and you are always welcome here.
We hope that you believe that the Mission of the Fellowship is important enough to support with your money. Many members feel that this congregation has made a significant contribution to their lives. This community can help educate our children, comfort us in sorrow and rejoice in the milestones of our lives. We hope that you consider this Fellowship valuable enough to contribute to its upkeep, with as much of a donation as you can afford.