With its historical roots in the Jewish and Christian traditions, Unitarian Universalism is a liberal religion -- that is, a religion that keeps an open mind to the religious questions people have struggled with in all times and places. We believe that personal experience, conscience and reason should be the final authorities in religion, and that in the end religious authority lies not in a book or person or institution, but in ourselves. We are a "non-creedal" religion: we do not ask anyone to subscribe to a creed.
We value the theological and spiritual diversity among us--whether Liberal Christian, Agnostic, Nature-centered, Jewish, Humanist, Buddhist, or utterly beyond categorization. All such perspectives, when shared in a manner of respect and humility, can further us on our pilgrimage of truth and meaning.
Unitarian Universalism, having grown from liberal Protestant roots, has a rich history and still-evolving traditions. Our roots in North America go back to the independent, self-governing churches of colonial New England that covenanted to help one another in times of need. In Europe, our heritage reaches back to religious and social reformers in England, Poland and Transylvania. Our most enduring symbol is the flaming chalice.
Our congregations are self-governing. Authority and responsibility are vested in the membership of the congregation. Each Unitarian Universalist congregation is involved in many kinds of programs. Worship is held regularly, the insights of the past and the present are shared with those who will create the future, service to the community is undertaken, and friendships are made. A visitor to our UU congregation will find events and activities such as church school (called "religious education" or RE), lectures and forums, support groups, poetry festivals, craft fairs, movie nights, family events, adult education classes, and study groups.
We welcome all who share our purposes and our Unitarian Universalist principles, without regard to age, class, color, differences in physical or mental ability, gender, marital status, national origin, political affiliation, race, religious background, or sexual orientation.
Excerpts from "We Are Unitarian Universalists," pamphlet #3047
Copyright © Unitarian Universalist Association, 1995
Our Unitarian Universalist Principles
There are seven principles which Unitarian Universalist congregations affirm and promote:
- 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.
Unitarian Universalism (UU) draws from many sources:
- Direct experience of that transcending mystery and wonder, affirmed in all cultures, which moves us to a renewal of the spirit and an openness to the forces which create and uphold life;
- Words and deeds of prophetic women and men which challenge us to confront powers and structures of evil with justice, compassion, and the transforming power of love;
- Wisdom from the world's religions which inspires us in our ethical and spiritual life;
- Jewish and Christian teachings which call us to respond to God's love by loving our neighbors as ourselves;
- Humanist teachings which counsel us to heed the guidance of reason and the results of science, and warn us against idolatries of the mind and spirit;
- Spiritual teachings of earth-centered traditions which celebrate the sacred circle of life and instruct us to live in harmony with the rhythms of nature.
These principles and sources of faith are the backbone of our religious community.