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16 Ways to Energize Your Congregation

Pamphlets inform and educate. Although they are best known for their role in introducing visitors and newcomers to aspects of Unitarian Universalism, they are an equally important resource for long-term members. They raise religious questions for new consideration (such as the meaning of evil), deepen understandings of ongoing issues (such as our theological diversity), and help with life issues (such as loss).

This list provides a variety of ways to use pamphlets. While no one society will use all of these suggestions, we hope some of them will prove helpful for each congregation.

Visit the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) Bookstore to view a complete list, as well as full text, of all UUA pamphlets.

1. General Distribution in a Pamphlet Rack
This is the most obvious use. The essential element is an attractive, prominently displayed pamphlet rack. Be sure to keep the pamphlets organized and up-to-date. Some congregations stamp their name, address, and telephone number on the back of their pamphlets. A bulletin board can call attention to the pamphlets.

2. Mail to Prospective Visitors
Many congregations use general promotion mailings with a cover letter, a congregational brochure, and one or more UU introductory pamphlets such as We Are Unitarian Universalists, Our UU Faith: Frequently Asked Questions, Welcome to Unitarian Universalism, UU Religious Education and Your Child, or What Do Unitarian Universalists Believe? (a wallet card).

3. Send Pamphlets With Welcome Letters to Visitors
Someone who has visited your congregation has expressed some real interest by making that effort. It is important to continue the welcome by recognizing their interest with a letter supplemented by introductory pamphlets, such as Meet the Unitarian Universalists (UUs), the Visitors’ Pamphlet Assortment, and, if appropriate, a pamphlet addressing the needs of children, youth, or adults.

4. Encourage Members to Give Pamphlets to Friends
Do your members know that they are encouraged to give pamphlets to their friends or relatives who might be interested in knowing more about their religious home? The Journeys pamphlets and the more comprehensive Meet the Unitarian Universalists are ideal for this purpose. In addition, pamphlets addressing specific identities or interests can be shared, such as Finding a Spiritual Home: Unitarian Universalism for Young Adults, Latino/Latina Spiritual Journeys, Soulful Journeys: The Faith of African American UUs, Can We Find a Home Here? Answering Questions of Interfaith Couples, and Unitarian Universalism: A Religious Home for Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, and Transgender People.

5. On Bring-A-Friend or Membership Sunday, Use Bookmarks, Wallet Cards, or Pamphlets As Inserts in the Order Of Service
Examples include the bookmark, 10 Good Reasons for Joining This Unitarian Universalist Society, Principles and Purposes bookmark, Principles and Purposes wallet card, What Do UUs Believe? wallet card, and My 7 Principles: A Children’s Booklet.

6. Text for Introduction to Unitarian Universalism Courses 
For new-member or other introductory programs distribute good basic introductions such as Meet the Unitarian Universalists and the Visitors’ Pamphlet Assortment. Special topics can be introduced with pamphlets from the Unitarian Universalist Views of ... and Faith of… series.

7. Text for General Discussion Groups or Programs 
Many congregations use pamphlets for discussion groups. Many people will not have the time to read a book, but are willing to read a pamphlet that often provides material to stimulate good discussions. Excellent examples include The Faith of a UU Humanist, The Faith of a UU Christian, Spirituality: Unitarian Universalist Experiences, Engagement with the World: A Personal Perspective of Faith in Action, and UU Views of Faith in the Workplace.

8. Supplement the Sunday Service or Any Presentation With Pamphlets 
If the sermon is about world religions, religious education, Jesus, humanism, or other topics, the service or presentation can be supplemented with the appropriate pamphlet for participants to continue to reflect on the theme and its relation to UUism.

9. Use Excerpts for Newsletters or Orders of Service
The pamphlets are available for your use. They are excellent sources of quotes for newsletters, orders of service, or other printed materials.

10. Give to Individuals With a Special Question Or Interest
If an individual in the congregation is interested in Unitarian Universalist attitudes toward the Bible, Buddhism, Christianity, spirituality, prayer, or other topics, a brochure can be a helpful supplement to the conversation.

11. Give to Individuals With Special Needs and Concerns
When members have special concerns, a pamphlet can be a supplemental source of support. Such pamphlets as Can We Find a Home Here? Answering Questions of Interfaith Couples, Discovering UUism from Catholic and Jewish Perspectives, Unitarian Universalism: A Welcoming Place for Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, and Transgender People, and Love Remembers: Helping Kids Heal after a Death may be relevant.

12. Send a Pamphlet With Invitation-To-Join Letters
Especially appropriate is the pamphlet Becoming a Member, but the other pamphlets in the Visitors’ Pamphlet Assortment and the introductory overview Meet the Unitarian Universalists may also be helpful.

13. Use UU Introductory Material for Children's Religious Education Classes and Young Adult Meetings
When speaking with children or youth, something tangible, such as a pamphlet or bookmark, can make your message more lasting. Depending upon the person's age, select an introductory pamphlet such as We Are Unitarian Universalists, A Brief History of Unitarian Universalism, or a pamphlet or bookmark specifically designed for children or youth.

14. Use With Parents and Religious Education Teachers
Parents and Religious Education teachers may well be quite new to UUism. The Religious Education Pamphlet Assortment can be very helpful to both parents and teachers. In addition, many introductory pamphlets about UU history, beliefs, and diversity are appropriate for teacher development and orientation programs. Pamphlets can help inform the people who are educating children about UUism.

15. Readings in Services
The texts in pamphlets make excellent readings within a service. Pamphlet topics are chosen for their relevance and written with clarity.

16. Visitors’ Packets
The UUA Bookstore sells a Visitors’ Pamphlet Assortment that includes five copies of each of six titles. You might put these six pamphlets, or some of your own choosing, together with a short letter from the congregation into a clasp envelope, mark it "Visitor's Packet," and place it in the pamphlet rack. It is a way of directing the visitor's selection to those pamphlets most relevant, and one more way of indicating the congregation’s welcome and attention to visitors.

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This work is made possible by the generosity of individual donors and congregations. Please consider making a donation today.

Last updated on Friday, November 12, 2010.

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