Certification stops at 909; Hollow Cough Club get members

Well, the UUA congregational registration cycle has closed with 909 congregations participating. Watch for analysis in coming days.

As a first installment, please indulge a little macabre observation, and at the risk of being in bad taste: there is a group of churches I’m dubbing the Hollow Cough Club, after the early sign of consumption that carried away many a heroine in Victorian melodramas.

Twenty churches — most with double-digit memberships — have not registered in the last two years. Perhaps they don’t care to send delegates, or they have a forgetful parish clerk. There are a number of reasons for missing two years in a row. But the membership numbers — which I carry forward — suggest something a bit more troubling.

Some churches are federated: these may just have administrative reasons for not registering. At least four are Christian and one Pagan, and they’re distributed across the US. (I’m assuming Canadian churches that don’t register — and don’t resign their UUA membership — have other concerns.)

Pray for their welfare. (Listed alphabetically by state.)

Sitka Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Sitka AK
Unitarian Universalist Society New Britain CT
Panthea Pagan Fellowship Hoffman Estates IL
Church of the Open Door Chicago IL
Community Church of North Orange and Tully Orange MA
Unitarian Universalist Parish Monson MA
First Congregational Parish Unitarian Petersham MA
Leicester Unitarian Church Leicester MA
Cong Parish in North (Unitarian) Norton MA
First Church Templeton MA
First Parish Church Berlin MA
First Parish Unitarian Church East Bridgewater MA
First Universalist Society Federated Charlton MA
First Parish of Bolton Bolton MA
First Parish Northfield MA
First Universalist Society Hiram ME
All Souls Universalist Church Oakland ME
First Universalist Society Brownfield ME
First Congregational Society of Eastport Unitarian Eastport ME
Hollis Unitarian Universalist Congregation Hollis Queens NY
U. U. Fellowship of Klamath County Klamath Falls OR
First Univ. Church of Burrillville Harrisville RI
Free Congregation of Sauk County Sauk City WI

3 Replies to “Certification stops at 909; Hollow Cough Club get members”

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  2. — The “hollow cough” is important for us to notice. Some predictions of my own…

    … the federated coughers are drawing away from the UUA, and towards their respective UCC, American Baptist, and NACCC partners. Why not? The UUA does not serve well its Christian and/or interdenominational churches.

    …Open Door in Chicago has a very independent streak. My guess is that it is indifferent to both the UUA and UCC, and is content being an effectively independent, liberal, Black church.

    … the rural churches that never certify coucld be near death’s door. My up close observation of such a church that once existed in southern Illinois, is that this “hollow cough” is a symptom of a larger break-down in church administration. What strength remains is sent to bare-bones tasks of sporadic worship, and slavish building preservation.

  3. PS – Extra reason to worry… I count that at least 8 of these “hollow coughers” are Christian churches.

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