The meaning of “membership”:


We often hear something to this effect:  ‘I think I’m a spiritual person, but I don’t like organized religion.’  Our casual reply may be, ‘Oh, don’t worry; we don’t have any creeds or dogma …and we are just barely organized.’  Or maybe we change the subject.  But the reality is we would not have the thriving Worship, Sunday School, spiritual development programs, and social justice efforts if not for the insightful, caring and courageous people who organized an open-hearted and open-minded presence here, in Schuylkill County.


Just three years ago there was only a handful of people, dreaming and planning.  Two years ago we received a Chalice Lighter’s Grant and a J.P.D. Consultant, Bob Johnsen, and we were meeting twice a month in a hard to reach, hard to heat ‘Stone Church’  – with a dozen adults, visiting ministers, a half dozen children, and a ‘steering committee’.  But we started Building Your Own Theology, and participating in the Soup Kitchen, too.  A year ago we moved to 2400 West End Ave, Pottsville; we welcomed Rev. Bob Throne as Consulting Minister, hired Jillian Warminisky as RE Coordinator, adopted Bylaws, elected a Board, and got a Worship Team and an RE Team going.  By then we had added Yoga with Jillian, a Meditation & Prayer Group, and an occasional ‘fun team’ activity.  We are now approaching 30 members, have more than 25 children and four groups in Sunday School, and are beginning to be known in the community.


Members have made things happen. Technically, all you have to do is decide for yourself that you want this thriving presence and sign the Membership Book with a member of the Board.  Usually there is a simple welcoming ceremony (click here to read the text from Schuylkill UU’s 2013 New Member Ceremony).  Ideally, every person would seek this out and do it, but because it is not always obvious what membership involves, or some of us have had unhappy experiences with other religions, or we may be simply a bit shy, we want everyone to know that you are welcome and valued for who you are. Here are some of the meanings of being a member:10678689_785954338114377_6278838037627519394_n


  1. It is an honor to be with people who are insightful, courageous and caring enough to bring a genuinely open-hearted & open-minded spirituality to our community. The commitment to membership deepens your spirituality. Our community needs us, and we need you. We, in turn, are honored by your joining.
  2. You become part of a movement that has made huge contributions to open minded & informed democracy – women’s suffrage, civil rights, GLBT progress, rights for differently-abled people. You are part of a faith tradition that includes Sophia Lyons Fahs, John & John Q Adams (Abigal – Louisa Catherine too), Emerson & Thoreau, Hosea Ballou, Susan B. Anthony – etc, etc. etc.
  3. Being a member nurtures and supports people you care about, and our community … just by being present. When you show up, people feel supported and have an opportunity to make a friend. This is simple and obvious, but deeply significant and powerful.       That’s why you see smiles when we see you!
  4. By volunteering your time and skills where you can, you will deepen our present efforts and enable us to get other teams going to make possible deeper and further growth … among ourselves, in our community, and with other UU’s & kindred spirits around the country, around the world.
  5. We are essentially a participatory, cooperative undertaking so by making a pledge (that is within your means) you make possible a place to gather, and the staff to support our growing vitality. A fair share pledge is usually seen as starting at 2% of gross income … but it should never detract from the needs of you and your family.       New members often take a first step. Pledges are confidential and vary widely. (When we formally affiliate our congregation will want to contribute a ‘fair share’ of about a dollar and a half per person, per week to the U.U.A. and J.P.D.)