#231 | Kara Stebbins | Terms of Membership

Submission 231
Kara Stebbins
UU Fellowship of Madison County (Richmond, KY) 3726

What is your suggestion or idea?

C-2.5. Freedom of belief. Congregational freedom and the individual’s right of conscience are central to our Unitarian Universalist heritage. Congregations may establish statements of purpose, covenants, and bonds of union terms of membership, so long as they do not require that members adhere to a particular creed.

What is the reason for your amendment idea?

Fellowship felt the language “bonds of union” sounded like oppression – both
the opposite of “freedom” and not in line with the Value of Justice. So we came up with ““terms of membership”” as a replacement.

Have you discussed this idea with your congregation or other UUs?

Our Fellowship had a democratic approach to the Amendment process. While a straw poll indicated a slim majority would prefer to keep Article II as it is, the other votes indicated we should try to come up with Amendments that could conceivably change some ““no”” votes to ““yes.”” We began writing this Amendment in response to input from the Fellowship during two Sunday Services. We later word-smithed a suggested Amendment with our weekly zoom group. Finally, the full Fellowship had an opportunity to review this written Amendment. No objections were voiced.

Hello Kara, other congregations do use Bonds of Union, thus the use of that term. Some of the Bonds of Union at the merger in 1961 read like creeds; members had to agree to a specific belief. Congregation can set their terms of membership for their members in as outlined Article III Section C-3.10.

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Hi Marcus,

Thanks for the explanation of this history. I always like to know that.

So do you think that is an important reason not to change the language?