Unitarian Universalism is a liberal religious tradition that was formed from the consolidation of two religions: Unitarianism and Universalism. In America, the Universalist Church of America was founded in 1793, and the American Unitarian Association in 1825. After consolidating in 1961, these faiths became the new religion of Unitarian Universalism through the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA). Both religions have long histories and have contributed important theological concepts that remain central to Unitarian Universalism and provide a strong voice for social justice and liberal religion.
Each of the 1,041 congregations in the United States, Canada, and overseas are democratic in polity and operation; they govern themselves. They unite in the Association to provide services that individual congregations cannot provide for themselves. Each congregation is associated with one of the UUA's 19 districts.
Unitarian Universalism is a liberal religion with Jewish-Christian roots. It has no creed. It affirms the worth of human beings, advocates freedom of belief and the search for advancing truth, and tries to provide a warm, open, supportive community for people who believe that ethical living is the supreme witness of religion.
What Do Unitarian Universalists Believe?
Some people come here seeking a connection with God, and that's a good thing. Though if you say "God" to any two theists they may have very different beliefs about what "God" is like, and that's a good thing, too.
Others eagerly come here to affirm the worth and dignity of each human being, and that's a good thing. We welcome people who are "good for nothing" (that is, "good for nothing in return") with open arms. In our fellowship, as in all Unitarian Universalist congregations, atheists sit, work, meditate and play side by side with theists, agnostics and mystics.
Rather than subscribe to a defined set of beliefs, Unitarian Universalists are guided by Seven Priniciples.
We draw on many sacred and secular sources for inspiration. Unitarian Universalists believe that the light of truth shines through the many different rainbow colors of our diverse experience and perspectives. As a result "the truth" appears to be different to each of us and that's a fine (if sometimes challenging) thing.
"We need not think alike to love alike." Francis David, Unitarian theologian, Transylvania, 1568
"There is yet more truth and light to break forth." Rev. John Robinson to the pilgrims as they prepared to leave Holland for the New World in 1620
Unitarian Universalists have long recognized that human beings are born into a state of freedom, and that what we choose to do with our freedom is a tremendous individual responsibility.
Because of this, Unitarian Universalists are not free to "believe whatever we want." Rather, we are compelled to claim the truth of our experience, test it in spiritual community, and use whatever gifts of intellect and inspiration life has endowed us with for the greater common good.
We believe in using our ability to think. We have long recognized that once upon a time ancient truth came into the world through human minds and hearts. We believe that sacred texts were once upon a time created by inspired, gifted human beings, whether or not they were inspired by God. But more importantly, we don't think that every great idea has yet seen the light of day. We think that new truth will continue to be discovered.
As much as we value the individual, we also have a great love of community. What holds us together in spiritual community is our freely made agreement to a shared set of common principles. We are a covenantal religious tradition, which means that our sacred promises to one another in all our relationships hold us together.