Communication from the Board – January 13, 2023

UCOH Membership

Unity Church of the Hills Community,

We are writing regarding membership at Unity Church of the Hills, which has generated many questions and much emotion among UCOH members in the past few months.

The membership renewal process this past fall resulted in confusion and unintended consequences. We offer a hearty thank you to those that renewed their membership with UCOH, despite challenges with the process. However, most members did not receive the membership renewal letter. Therefore, we have decided to revert our membership rolls back to last fall before the annual meeting and review the process over the coming months. If you were a member then, you are still a member now. Every member of UCOH is treasured. Membership represents a commitment to your spiritual path and a commitment to UCOH as your spiritual home.

The board has formed a Membership Committee. We will share more information and will consult with the congregation over the coming months to understand your thoughts on membership. While it is important as an organization to keep accurate records of our membership, we want to ensure it is done carefully and honors all of our members.

The membership renewal process was carried out for the first time this past fall after it was added to the bylaws at the 2021 annual meeting. Membership renewal letters were sent to about a quarter of our active members on record via U.S. mail. As some of you know firsthand, some people had moved and did not receive the renewal letter in the mail. Most members did not receive the letter at all. Some members showed up at the annual meeting but were informed they could not vote because they had not returned the letter or returned it but missed the renewal deadline.

Some members had extenuating life circumstances, such as illness or the death of a loved one. Other members are active with UCOH through Spirit Groups for example, but do not regularly attend Sunday services due to the pandemic or other reasons. Some members poured their heart and soul into UCOH for many years, moved away, still consider UCOH their spiritual home, and attend as often as possible, including remotely. We learned that members stay active with UCOH in many different ways.

If you were offended, felt unwanted, or felt rejected because you did not receive a membership renewal letter, we apologize and we ask that you stay involved. We hope you understand it was not the Board’s intention to exclude you. Our spiritual community, first and foremost, is the sum of all our members and congregants. We deeply need each other to ensure we remain spiritually grounded and connected to Spirit in the midst of a chaotic world. Please continue to join us as we walk the spiritual path together.

While this letter is about membership, paradoxically, membership is usually a total non-issue at UCOH. Whether you are a newcomer, a long-time congregant, or a member, you are always welcome at UCOH! We want to not only serve you, but also to provide a spiritual home where we can minister to one another and personally experience the UCOH Mission to “put God first, celebrate Life, serve Truth, and empower people to transform their lives.”

If you are interested in more information on membership, please see the section below, which provides a deeper understanding of the issues surrounding membership and voting at the recent annual meeting.

Most sincerely, and with open arms,

Your UCOH Board of Trustees

Information and History of Membership at UCOH

Membership in terms of its requirements or the voting rights it conveyed was never an emphasis at Unity Church of the Hills. Our founding ministers Ron and Lenore Scott felt strongly that there should be no difference between a congregant and a member, lest there be an inner circle and an outer circle. It was very important that all congregants could partake of any activity of the church regardless of membership. Commitment was the key, and when someone became a member, it was a commitment they were making to their own spiritual path. It was also a commitment to join with fellow like-minded people in a spiritual community of choice.

Under Rev. Steve & Mary Bolen’s leadership, The Path membership class was created in 2010, with the intention to educate new members on Unity principles and the history of UCOH. It often resulted in friendships between new members that carried for years.

Until this past year, the slate of board member nominees submitted to the membership for voting at the annual meeting was thoroughly vetted and narrowed down by the Nominating Team. Over a period of months leading up to the annual meeting, the Nominating Team would accept nominations from the congregation, have each nominee answer a detailed questionnaire, and then interview each nominee for an hour. Further, the Team would discuss all of the nominees’ qualifications to ensure a history of leadership skills, spiritual depth, and a good mix of skills, knowledge, and experience that would mesh well with the continuing board members. The Nominating Team would then offer a slate of nominees to the membership that matched the number of seats up for election. While this process was thorough and believed to be best for the church, members have suggested over the last few years that they would like to have more nominees to vote on. The every-five-years bylaws team decided to make a change in the 2021 bylaws update to make the process more democratic. The Nominating Team is now instructed to pass along all qualified nominees to the membership for voting at the annual meeting. Due to this new process, there was greater interest in voting at the annual meeting this year. Furthermore, since four of the seven board members had resigned in the past year, and the term of a fifth seat was expiring, five of the seven board seats were up for election.

The above might help explain why some members were surprised by this fall’s membership renewal process, instituted for the first time, and also why people were more interested in voting. Despite the fact that some Unity churches have been doing an annual membership renewal, the thoughts and feelings around membership at UCOH have always had a longer-term assumption. While some Unity churches have a distinction between members and voting members in their bylaws, UCOH bylaws do not. So when people felt their membership in UCOH was being taken away from them, especially if they did not receive the renewal letter, we heard from people that felt hurt, rejected, or even angry. This is why we are reverting the membership rolls, will be reviewing the membership renewal process, and will take time to consider what membership means to us as a spiritual community in the coming months.

If you have thoughts on membership that you’d like to share with the board, please email us at

With a sincere intention to include all those in our spiritual community,

Your UCOH Board of Trustees

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