Start a Local Chapter
If you are interested in starting a local
chapter, please use the AOU Manual listed below. This will give you
the information that you need to start your chapter. Also, please
the webmaster to let us know that you have done this so that we can
properly support you in your efforts, and list you on the web.
for Adults Of Unity (AOU)
A. What is it?
Adults of Unity is
the name of the over-all ministry we perform with any adult group within
a church or center. It also has the potential to be an umbrella organization
that would provide support, resources, training and events for persons
in adult groups including, but not limited to: Young Adults, Young Thinking
Adults of Unity, Single Adult, Super Seniors, Women's or Men's Groups,
or Partners. The activities, events, and conferences provide an opportunity
to support the practical application of Unity Principles in our everyday
life. These adult groups could be called social affinity groups because
within the group there is some common thread with which all will identity
demographically. In 1997, the AOU Conference planning team adopted this
· We, the
Adults of Unity, are spiritually focused individuals who come together
to celebrate and experience love, unity, joy, and friendship.
we create opportunities for spiritual enrichment through social, recreational,
service, and personal growth activities.
contemplation and reflection are vital in all we do.
B. What are the benefits
of an AOU presence in your church community?
1) Create a place
for our young adults to have a sense of fellowship. As we
graduate more and
more YOUers they are seeking to continue in an interactive
forum of worship
and have a deep desire to continue their spiritual growth and
serve in their churches.
2) Provide single
members of congregations a comfortable, social channel within
the larger congregation.
3) Encourage social
interaction in members of a congregation, especially
4) Develop a pool
of volunteers for church service functions.
5) Serve as a support
network to the ministry by encouraging new members to
join in Unity functions.
6) Create a community
where Unity principles can be demonstrated as well as
taught, a place
where prayer can be practiced, and each person can celebrate
life in its fullness
giving thanks to God as our Source!
C. How does one start
and maintain an AOU group?
When the desire or
need for an adult group becomes apparent, there are several ways to begin
the process of forming or developing a group to meet those needs. The following
are important steps to consider:
1) Be clear on the
reason and purpose of the group and who will be attracted to it. Will the
group be geared to singles, partners, young adults, senior citizens, etc.?
Will its purpose be spiritual, social, service, or a combination of these?
2) Meet with your
minister or spiritual leader to get his/her support and input. Share your
ideas and how you envision the group can meet those needs and be of benefit
to the church. Work to identify others who would be interested in this
type of group and willing to serve on a core development team. Determine
a time when group meetings can take place.
3) Contact others
who may be willing to serve on the core development team and set up a meeting
to brainstorm ideas. You may wish to talk about structure, purpose, and
possible programs or activities.
4) An advisor or
liaison to the board should be appointed. The purpose is to assure good
two way communications with the general church body and to maintain alignment
with Unity principles.
5) Schedule an organizational
meeting and publicize it well. At this meeting, it will be important to
determine the needs and wants of those attending before setting up programs
and activities. If your group is to flourish, it must meet the needs of
those whom you expect to attend. Have ready some suggested programs and
activities of what you would like to do and see what the response is.
6) Decide on the
structure of your group. Various people will be needed to coordinate different
aspects of the group. For example, someone will need to handle publicity,
setting up programs and activities, finances, etc. These responsibilities
may be handled by the core group or the group may wish to elect officers
or coordinators at this time.
7) Set up regular
meetings and publicize them. Announcements, upon approval of the minister,
could be placed in the Sunday bulletin, newsletter, and the church bulletin
8) Be flexible in
your expectations. It may be that as you group evolves, the focus of the
group by change somewhat to meet the needs of those who attend.
is very important! It is vital the officers/coordinators, minister/spiritual
leader, and board keep in close contact. A formal meeting should be arranged
quarterly as a minimum; a report or newsletter should be submitted monthly
to all the above. Planning meetings for activities should be held monthly
with the board liaison or advisor in attendance.
10) Be aware that
in many groups most of the work is done by a few people. An even distribution
of tasks allows more people to be involved and an opportunity to train
new leaders. Generally, new coordinators every 6-12 months will prevent
the group from falling apart by burn out of the original core group. Either
by election or appointment keep the leadership fresh.
11) Invite new people
from inside as well as outside the church to attend the group. In this
way the group is dynamic and performs an outreach function for Unity in
the larger community.
D. What about money?
It is important to
budget the operational costs of your group. Speak with your minister regarding
the policy of your church related to budget needs of organizations within
the church. Most will require that your budgetary needs be reflected in
the budget of the total church. This allows for accountability for all
monies raised and expended in the name of the church and its sponsored
The church treasurer
will establish an account for your organization and deposit all receipts
to it and debit it for expenses. Your church will guide you in knowing
how to meet its bookkeeping policies.
Your Planning Committee,
however, has responsibility for creating a proposed budget which is to
be submitted to your church's Finance Committee and eventually to the Board
for approval and inclusion in the total budget of the church. You will
want to submit this budget at the appropriate time (fiscal year) and with
the appropriate support documentation as to how you arrived at the numbers
represented and why they are needed (justification.)
It is important to
be clear with your minister/board as to whether or not:
1) Your group is
responsible to support your budget entirely by love offering and/or fund-raising
and to tithe back to the church; or
2) Your group is
to be supported by the church in whole or in part.
It is vitally important
to gain approval on whether or not your group can put on fund-raising events.
Gain approval on dates and nature of all events. Be sure to tithe back
to your church.
Expense items you
will want to include in your budget are:
1. Adults of Unity
3. Printing of newsletter,
5. Speaker's fees
6. Study materials
7. Special events
8. List management
9. Any miscellaneous
Revenue needs to
1. Love offering
(take the number of meetings, events, etc. X attendance expected X $/person
you could expect in your area)
2. Fund raising
3. Church budgetary
support (where and if appropriate)
You should show that
your anticipated expenses are balanced by your anticipated revenue.
a financial statement from your church treasurer and report to your membership
on the status of your account.
E. What is the purpose
of the annual AOU Conference?
The focus of AOU
is to bring together Unity adults from within the established ministries
who are interested in further exploring and experiencing Truth in action,
as demonstrated by Jesus Christ. The purpose of the annual conference is
to provide a secure and safe environment among a diverse collection of
adults for this type of experience to take place. All events are planned
to promote creative self-expression and spiritual growth. The schedule
of these events includes time for personal reflection as well as making
friends and having fun. Attendees at these events are highly encouraged
to take what they learn at conferences home with them and continue to put
Truth in to practice through both outer and inner expressions, and to commit
to a willingness to make a difference with their lives. If there is one
word that distinguishes the AOU Conference that would be "experiential."
F. What can I do
to network and get support from AOU?
Once you have decided
to have a group or if you already have one, you should register with the
AOU Volunteer Coordinator Carl Camenisch. He will add you to our list and
keep you informed of the upcoming events and progress with increasing support
at the association. We would like to know:
Name of the group,
category of the group, singles, Young Adults, partners, etc.
Key contact phone
number, email address, postal address
The contact information
for Carl Camenisch is:
Carl Camenisch, 184 N. Little Tor Rd, New City, NY 10956,
845-639-0593, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
We are also establishing
regional contacts. If you are interested in working with your region as
an AOU coordinator, please also let Doug know that.
Finally, please let
us know what programs and support you would like to see at the national
level. We are working at the Association and the Regions to gain recognition
for your interest in AOU.
For further information,
contact Carl Camenisch at 619-566-2969
to receive copies of these sample documents:
Mission and Operations
Statement for Free Spirits, Unity Temple Santa Cruz
Road Map to Creating
an Effective Social Organization within a Church Congregation