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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 email 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.

Manual 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 mission statement:

· We, the Adults of Unity, are spiritually focused individuals who come together to celebrate and experience love, unity, joy, and friendship.

· Together we create opportunities for spiritual enrichment through social, recreational, service, and personal growth activities.

· Prayer, 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 
newcomers.

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 board.

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.

9) Communication 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 organizations.

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 Conference Delegate(s)
2. Postage
3. Printing of newsletter, flyers
4. Telephone
5. Speaker's fees
6. Study materials
7. Special events
8. List management
9. Any miscellaneous expenses

Revenue needs to be estimated:

1. Love offering (take the number of meetings, events, etc. X attendance expected X $/person you could expect in your area)
2. Fund raising events 
3. Church budgetary support (where and if appropriate)

You should show that your anticipated expenses are balanced by your anticipated revenue.

Quarterly, receive 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.
Affiliated church
Key contact
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: liteworker@aol.com

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