Minimum Annual Membership Donation (MAMD): Background for Discussion Meeting
The Auckland Unitarian Church Management Committee has been reviewing the current minimum annual membership donation policy.
Remits to keep or abolish the MAMD will be presented to members at an SGM held Sunday 28th October 2018. This notice is to present both sides of the MAMD discussion so that members can make a well-informed vote at our SGM.
Management Committee wish to hear from all sides and invites the congregation to attend the discussion meeting on Sunday 21st October 2018 or if you wish to do so email the Management Committee with your views via the form at the bottom of this page.
If you unable to attend the SGM on the day but wish to make sure your vote is counted – please fill in a Proxy form (Paper Form / EMail Form). A proxy form allows a voting member to give another member the right to cast your vote, for you on the day of the SGM. You can hand in your Proxy form to the Management Committee/ Treasurer.
All proxy forms must be in to the Treasurer by 12pm Noon Saturday 27th October.
Our current policy
Membership of the Auckland Unitarian Church is open to those who affirm and promote the Principles of Unitarianism. Becoming a member reflects your commitment to Unitarianism in New Zealand and also enables you to have a voice in formal church decisions.
The requirements for church membership are prescribed by the Rules for the Conduct of Proceedings of the Auckland Unitarian Church (the Rules). To be able to vote at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) or a Special General Meeting (SGM), you must be approved as a member of the church by the Management Committee and have donated the minimum membership donation, which currently is $132 per year. This amount (which, according to the Rules, is decided at each Annual General Meeting) covers what it costs the congregation to register each member each year with the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) and the Australian New Zealand Unitarian Universalist Association (ANZUUA). It also contributes to “keeping the lights on”.
All members, not just voting members, can have their say, participate in the running of the Church and join church activities. However, if they wish to take part at formal church meetings (SGMs and the AGM) and vote on remits, then they need to be a voting member.
Why abolish the current minimum annual membership donation (MAMD)?
Auckland Unitarian Church is an inclusive community, based on a collective search for meaning and truth. The Management Committee believes that membership of such a community should depend on more than a financial transaction. Belonging is a matter of engagement. To reduce the rights of full membership to a financial transaction devalues it.
We understand the need to protect the church assets. For newcomers to have voting rights, we would expect them to be engaged with the community for six months before they become members. That gives them time to get to know us and see if they truly want to join. Membership would still be approved by the Management Committee.
Those who are engaged with the community will realise that the church has financial needs. Their contribution will be a matter of conscience and ability to pay. Guidelines can be offered, but membership should not be dependent on this. Commitment can be measured in more than dollars.
Why retain our current minimum annual membership donation (MAMD)?
Auckland Unitarian Church was formally founded in 1898 and has a long history in New Zealand. In 1899 membership of the church required payment of a subscription, and a member had to belong for at least 1 year to be considered eligible for voting. The amount and the length of membership has varied throughout the years until present times; however, paying a church subscription, or minimum annual membership donation (as it is now known to enable a tax refund of 1/3 this amount), has always been part of the established church organisation and prescribed by the Rules.
One part of ensuring our church’s long term viability and sustainability is making sure that voting members have a financial commitment to the organisation, to complement their other forms of commitment. Any change to the existing policy of eligibility to vote at AGMs and SGMs is significant, and will involve a formal change to the Rules and notification to the Companies Office and Charities Services.
Unlike other churches in New Zealand, our church has no ‘parent’ body to provide financial assistance or prevent another group who have no investment in the church in taking over governance of the church, including its assets. Such a takeover occurred in the Sydney Unitarian Church, which resulted in the sale of the church building.
A minimum annual membership donation makes clear to all that there are minimum costs that our organisation carries for each member. We also place a high value on respect for all persons, which carries over to fairness in our dealings, and a reasonable sharing/spreading of the costs (both time and money) of having an organisation like ours.
To ensure that all members who wish to become voting members and have difficulty meeting the cost of the Minimum Annual Membership Donation are able to do so, the Finance Committee recommends that the Members Assistance Fund should be reinstated, and, at the discretion of the Minister and/or Church Treasurer, be used on a confidential basis to subsidise that member.