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To Join Or Not To Join

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Prompted by an invitation from the membership secretary, I have been thinking about joining a church (unitarian universalist) ,which I have been attending (not entirely regularly) since January. I have no problem with the requirement - to be in agreement with the UU assoc principles [ http://www.uua.org/beliefs/principles/index.shtml ]


I'm interested to hear other people's experiences - what made you join or decide against joining a church? For church members, what difference does 'being a member', make to you?









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I was a member of a UU in the eighties. It wasn't a burden. You'd be more likely called upon for church projects and retreats. If you want to be in the church with both feet, it won't really be a difference.


I left UU because I was changing to be explicitly Christian. Mostly I've gone to UMC churches since then. I never joined. There I would wonder about joining some who are more conservative than I am. Last year's vote in the governing body of UMC was 61-39 against same-sex marriage. I'd rather they join me than I join them, but that's not an option.

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For me, I try to balance 4 things in "going to church":


1. Do these people truly seem to love? What are they doing in the community to make it better? Do I support and join in those efforts and goals?


2. Can I live with knowing that some of the theology present there no longer works for me? Can I overlook some of what they say they believe in order to appreciate the good they offer?


3. Because I don't know everything, do they challenge me in a good way to grow, to consider things that I haven't before? Is there room there for questions, for seeking? Would being a part of this group make me a better, more whole person?


4. Are meaningful relationships the core of the church? Is the focus of the church on beliefs or on actions?


Granted, some of these things make take a while to get a feel for, but we usually know if a place feels like home or not.

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David and Bill,


Thanks for your responses.




Bill, this church 'feels like home' to me. Thinking it through, though, becoming formally aligned with a 'home' that my partner, while willing to come along, has no interest in becoming a member of, makes me feel uneasy.

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I like going to church, but when there are no services. On a visit to San Francisco my wife went with one son to a musical while my other son and I went to the old churches and just enjoyed the space or meditated in the space provided. The church radiates a peaceful high frequency or stillness that can be easier experienced when the space is without activity.

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