UUCJ Affinity Group Approval Procedures

UUCJ Affinity Group Approval Procedures

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What is an affinity group?

An affinity group consists of church members, and possibly church friends, who meet on a regular basis to make connections through shared interests.  Participants in affinity groups make new friends, deepen relationships, and learn and grow together.  Some groups may focus on societal or spiritual matters, while others focus primarily on community-building.  Affinity groups keep the congregation feeling intimate, no matter what size we are! 

Who can join an affinity group?

UUCJ is an intentionally diverse community, and the UU principles stress social equity, acceptance, and the inherent worth of every person.  In this spirit of inclusion, affinity groups should generally be open to all.  However, certain groups justifiably limit membership, due to their purpose.  Ultimately, by promoting intimate connections between similarly situated members, such limitation should result in a more inclusive church community as a whole.  

What are the benefits of an affinity group?

Affinity groups have free access to the church facility when scheduled with the office assistant; can be promoted through church publications, per existing guidelines; and be covered by UUCJ’s insurance.

What are the expectations of an affinity group?

With the privilege of congregational support also comes the expectation that these groups will conduct themselves in a manner consistent with the values, practices, and mission of the congregation. 

Therefore, members will: 

  • respect the inherent dignity and worth of all the people in their group
  • treat what is shared during affinity groups with confidentiality when applicable
  • volunteer to help at congregational events
  • maintain appropriate behavior and will not initiate, engage in, or respond to any behavior which is illegal, abusive, or violent, or which is suggestive or overtly sexual in any way
  • will not discriminate against anyone in the group on the basis of age, race, ethnicity, religion, color, gender, national origin, ancestry, physical or mental challenge, sexual orientation, marital status or any other protected category (except for the limitation of membership as required by the identity and purpose of the group)ke the congregation aware in advance of any criteria for attendance and ensure that those criteria are publicized.  Any such criteria must be consistently adhered to.

How does a new group apply to be an Affinity Group?

Proposal for UUCJ Group Form (see attached) must be filled by a UUCJ member in good standing who is designated as the Responsible Party. The proposal form must be accompanied by the signatures of no fewer than four (4) UUCJ members committed to substantial support of the group, or class. The proposal form must be submitted to and approved by both the CLC chair and the Inreach Portfolio Leader. In the absence of the chair, the form must be approved by the Inreach Portfolio Leader and the Board Vice President. 

If the Proposal is approved, the Responsible Party will need to submit a Facility Usage Request Form to be approved by both the CLC chair and the Inreach Portfolio Leader. Upon approval, the form is to be forwarded to the Church Administrator. In the absence of the chair, the form must be approved by the Inreach Portfolio Leader and the Board Vice President. 

Under the Description field on the form, the group should include such information as:  

What will the group do? (activities and expectations); Who can join group?  (the reasons for membership requirements); When, where, how often does the group intend to meet; and any other information considered important to the group’s success

How does an established group apply to continue as an Affinity Group?

An Affinity Group Intention to Renew Form must be submitted annually by a UUCJ member in good standing who is designated as the Responsible Party to continue as an approved group (see attached).

The form must be accompanied by the signatures of no fewer than four (4) UUCJ members committed to continued substantial support of the group, or class. The form must be submitted to and approved by both the CLC chair and the Inreach Portfolio Leader. In the absence of the chair, the form must be approved by the Inreach Portfolio Leader and the Board Vice President. 

If the Proposal is approved, the Responsible Party will also need to submit a Facility Usage Request Form to be approved by both the CLC chair and the Inreach Portfolio Leader. Upon approval, the form is to be forwarded to the Church Administrator. In the absence of the chair, the form must be approved by the Inreach Portfolio Leader and the Board Vice President.  

Under the Description field on the form, the group should include:  

            Any changes to the original approved proposal, such as: membership; days, time and     location; and any other applicable information.

Additional Information

If additional information is needed prior to consideration, the CLC chair will contact the Responsible Party within one week and request that the proposal be edited or re-submitted. This applies to both requesting approval of a new group and requesting approval of continuing a group. In the absence of the chair, the Inreach Portfolio Leader will serve in place of the chair.  

Disapproval/Approval

If the request to form a new group, or to continue an existing group, is disapproved, the CLC chair will contact the Responsible Party within two weeks advising the Responsible Party why the proposal was disapproved. The Responsible Party may re-submit. In the absence of the chair, the Inreach Portfolio Leader will serve in place of the chair.  

If the request to form a new group, or to continue an existing group, is approved, the CLC chair will contact the Responsible Party within two weeks advising the Responsible Party that the proposal has been approved. In the absence of the chair, the Inreach Portfolio Leader will serve in place of the chair.

Minister and Board  

In the spirit of shared ministry, and in order to sustain the Church’s organization as a program church committed to fulfilling its mission, the Inreach Portfolio Leader is responsible for discussing with minister the request for forming a new affinity group, or continuing an established affinity group prior to approval. The Inreach Portfolio Leader will also be responsible for keeping the Board informed regarding the approval of new affinity groups, and the continuation of existing affinity groups. 

Forms

Previous Board of Directors Email Procedures and Guidelines
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