How things work at New Unity
No external hierarchy
New Unity is part of the international Unitarian and Unitarian Universalist movement. Unitarians have no hierarchical organisation; The individual congregation is the primary locus of authority. New Unity is self-governing owns its own buildings and provides for the payment of all of the costs of operation.
As a representative democracy, the congregation is the ultimate authority over its own direction and leadership. The congregation elects a governing committee and “calls” its minister - a choice made by supermajority vote for an indefinite term of service. The congregation also has the exclusive power to remove a minister.
Comments, Concerns & Complaints
To ensure that comments, concerns, and complaints are communicated in the most productive way, that they are heard by the right people, and that appropriate responses take place, a process has been been developed. This can be found online HERE.
New Unity has two buildings, each of which was formerly a completely independent congregation: Newington Green Unitarian Chapel and Unity Church Islington. The congregation voted in October 2014 to legally merge these two independent institutions into one Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO).
The minister is chosen by the congregation and leads the programmatic and day-to-day operations of the church. The minister is head of staff and thus supervises the personnel with responsibility for facilities, promotion, administration, routine finance, visibility, space hires, and music. The minister works closely with a variety of volunteer leaders including the Committee members.
The Executive Committee, which includes the Treasurer, Secretary, Chair, and several at-large members, is the elected volunteer leadership of the congregation. Its primary roles relate to finances, policy, staff, buildings, and long-term strategy.
New Unity teams are groups of people that take on a particular area of work for the congregation and/or the larger community. Importantly, that work is grounded in relationship and depth within the team. Teams allow you to contribute, connect, and grow.
Currently, the Sunday Gatherings Team, Pastoral Care Team, and Social Responsibility teams meet monthly. Other teams are being planned. If you are interested, contact the minister. He will be very happy to work with you to help you figure out what team best suits your abilities and needs the best.
New Unity depends on its own fundraising for paying staff, maintaining buildings, and paying for the equipment and many supplies required to create and maintain a vital congregation. The annual budget is approximately £100K.
Funds come from two sources: hires of New Unity buildings and the annual pledges of New Unity members.
Pledges and membership
The members of the congregation currently provide approximately one third of the cost of operating New Unity. On average, each member contributes about £300 on average through their annual pledges, although individual pledges in 2014 ranged from £5 to £2000. Each person who makes a pledge and is in sympathy with the New Unity ethos becomes a member automatically. Members are entitled to voting and office-holding rights. They are also entitled to discounts on certain programs, events, and in arranging space rental for private events.
The congregation decided several years ago to give away all collections to charitable causes. Naturally, more money could be added to New Unity income if the collections were retained, however the congregation felt that helping others must be kept as a high and visibility priority.
Eventually, you will wonder how to do something at New Unity. Here are some Q&As. If you have more questions, please ask! (And send your questions to Andy on RevAndy@new-unity.org to expand the Q&A list).
Q: Is there a particular time of year for pledging?
A: Annual pledges need to be made by the beginning of each financial year (6 April). Newcomers are encouraged to pledge whenever they feel ready. They can pledge for the remainder of the current year and then join the annual schedule the following April.
Q: How can I get my New Unity event promoted?
Q: How can I rent a space at New Unity?
Q: How do I pledge for the first time?
A: Most easily, Visit our Pledge Page for more info.
Q: How can I make a suggestion?
A: Talk directly to whomever is responsible for the particular area involved. If that is not apparent, raise it with the minister.
Q: How can I get to know people better?
Q: I’d like to start a new group. Who do I need to talk to?
A: New Unity’s policy is to say “yes, how can we help?” to new initiatives that align with New Unity values and mission. You must have at least one other person committed to helping with the new project. Talk to the minister in the first instance.
Q: How can I help?
A: There are many ways to help, large and small. Depending on your interests. See the information about teams above.