The Benefits of Membership
- Spiritual Home - Belonging to a religious community will give you and your family a spiritual home, a place to celebrate life’s joys and to mourn life’s sorrows.
- Rites of Passage - You will have a familiar community in which to mark your own, or share in others’ rites of passage, i.e., Child dedications, Ceremonies for: Coming of Age, Coming Out, Marriage, Divorce, Retirement and/or Death.
- Challenge - Worshipping with this community will regularly remind and challenge you to be the most ethical and caring person you can be. Here you are expected to be your deeper self and to strive to live according to the UU principles.
- Growth - Living in community teaches us about more about ourselves and others.
- Acceptance - Here you will be known and accepted as a “soul in progress” rather than just a co-worker, a client, a boss or a neighbour.
- Work for Change - You’ll become part of a dynamic community of faith and action, bringing positive change to the world. Your voice will join hundreds of others who speak for social justice, freedom of thought, the worth and dignity of every human being, and environmental respect.
- Voting Privileges - Vote at the Annual Congregational Meeting (ACM) each spring to make decisions about the budget and other important issues. Voting members must be at least. 18 years of age and have, during the preceding 12 months made a recorded financial contribution to the congregation.
- CUC Membership - Receive a quarterly newsletter from the CUC (Canadian Unitarian Council)
Create the belonging that you seek
Responsibilities of Membership
Carefully consider the responsibilities of membership before you make a commitment to join this vital tradition. Members readily and generously give of their time, talents, and financial resources to support this community - because they want to and because this is their chosen religious home. This spirit of generosity and commitment develops over time and is the result of regular attendance in worship and active participation in our programs. The responsibilities of membership include: some form of participation, respect for self and others, and making a financial commitment.
- Responsibility to Participate
Participation is the key to a satisfying and meaningful experience as a member of Toronto First.
Those who are most involved get the most out of this community. Below are some suggestions for getting involved and creating the belonging you seek:
Attend Worship Services - Sundays are the busiest day of the week at First. They are the best opportunity to see other members find out how they’re doing and share your own news. If you don’t come you lose touch. The longer you stay away, the harder it becomes to reconnect.
Adult Programs - offer a relaxed way to meet other members who have common interests.
Consider taking (or offering) a course. UU Courses and the Small Groups are especially good for encouraging discussion and connections. Special Events - The Family Retreat, the “Dinner at Seven” series or Congregational Potlucks are activities that give you a chance to mingle with people from all over the congregation.
Volunteering - help at special events, facilitate a course, usher at Sunday services, serve coffee, work on the property committee, the caring committee or the hospitality committee. Offer to help with the children or youth in the Religious Education program. Working alongside others makes conversation easier. The “Volunteer Directory” in the office has position descriptions that outline the skills and time requirements for dozens of roles at First.
Social Action Programs - Amnesty International, Out of the Cold or one of the expeditions to Central America, are great ways to help others, and get to know other UUs.
- Responsibility to be Respectful of Oneself and Others
This Congregation values healthy honest relationships, to that end we have measures in place to guide and protect Members in their dealings with each other. Check the office for policies reo police checks, Sexual Harassment and the Covenant of Right Relations.
- Financial Responsibility
One of the great truths of all the world’s major religions is that generosity is-central to-a healthy spiritual life. Members (whether as individuals, partners, or as families) are expected to participate in our annual pledge drive and to make a pledge of financial support. Pledging is the primary means for raising the funds necessary for sustaining the mission of our congregation.
Toronto First is completely supported by those who consider themselves to be a part of this community; we receive no outside financial support.
You will be given an opportunity to make a pledge to our operating budget upon joining the congregation. Thereafter, each Fall, there is a canvass during which time members and supporters of First Unitarian are asked to complete a pledge form making a financial commitment for the coming year. Pledging in advance and following through on your commitment is key to enabling the Leadership to develop and implement a realistic operating budget.
How much should I plan to give each year?
The amount you pledge is a personal decision, but we ask that you consider 5% of your pre-tax income. Many religious communities ask their members to pledge 10% (this is called tithing). Many of our members pledge 5% or more, and some tithe.
The following table will give you a sense of the financial contributions made by other members.
In 2009, 205 households pledged a total of $335,000 for our operating budget.
Number of households Amount pledged 20 <$250 23 $250 to $499 45 $500 to $999 54 $1000 to $1799 23 $1800 to $2499 28 $2500 to $4999 12 $5000 and up
Please consider beginning at a level that is manageable for you, then increasing your giving as you are able.
We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” - Winston Churchill