Are you looking for community without dogma and condemnation?
- Do you have a need to find a community that embraces hope, equality, compassion, and reason?
- Do you crave a sense of belonging, familiarity, maybe even ritual, but don’t want to have to conform to be accepted?
- Do you want a fellowship that values science and personal experience and strives to answer big questions responsibly?
- Have you ever considered that a church could be a place where questions are welcomed and no one claims to speak The Truth?
- Are you interested in a spiritual community that honors Jewish and Christian traditions, and also seeks to know how the great questions of human existence are explored in other cultures?
- Can you picture a Church that focuses on who you are in the world and how we build community rather than what you believe about things beyond human understanding?
- Would you like to be part of a community that doesn’t seek to save you from yourself, but instead to help you realize the beauty of the person you already are?
The you might be looking for Unitarian Universalism! Unitarian Universalism, or UU, is a liberal religious tradition that came into being in the mid 20th century, and was given a name in 1961 when the Universalist Church of America and the American Unitarian Association consolidated their resources to better serve their nearly identical missions, thus creating the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA). The Unitarians had a long tradition of working to make this a more just and equal world, while the Universalists were trying to overturn the idea that some people simply deserved better than others because of some supernatural right. Their unification may have been inevitable; all the way back at the beginning of the American Civil War Thomas Starr King, who was pastor of the San Francisco Unitarian Church, defined the difference in the thinking of each group, while admitting they both came to the same conclusion: “The Universalists believe that God is too good to damn them, and the Unitarians believe they are too good to be damned!”
Today, we are still working to define the future of this new religion. Our roots are long and spread wide, but where we go from here will be determined by the people who care enough to get involved. We have a proud history of involvement in humanitarian work and fighting for civil rights. The Red Cross was founded by a Universalist, Clara Barton, and twenty percent of Unitarian Universalist ministers responded to Martin Luther King, Jr.’s call to march for justice by marching through Washington DC. We have been working for decades for gender equality and to end all forms of discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, and queer individuals.
We have no creed or religious test-of-faith. Instead, we have a covenant between or congregations to “promote and affirm” seven Principles, in our congregations and in the wider community:
- The inherent worth and dignity of every person;
- Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;
- Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;
- A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;
- The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large;
- The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;
- Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.
You will notice they these do not ask us to believe in anything but the ability of humanity to solve problems and that every person can choose to be a good person today regardless of what they did yesterday. You are allowed your faith, your doubt, and your rituals as long as they help to make you a balanced and responsible member of your community.
Further On-line Reading:
- We Welcome ManyBeliefs from the UUA
- 10 Things We Want Everyone to Know about Unitarian Universalism.
- 100 Questions That Non-Members Ask About Unitarian Universalism,
….provided by the Unitarian Universalist Church of Nashua, NH.
- “Voices of a Liberal Faith” gives some insight into Unitarian Universalism from ministers and UUA staff.
- The Blue Boat blog of the Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministries of the UUA.
- When you are ready to visit or ask some questions, the UUA has a tool to find UU congregations near you.