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What is Unitarian Universalism?

With its historical roots in the Jewish and Christian traditions, Unitarian Universalism is a forward-looking 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.
Read more about our historical roots (Goes to our national site).

Our congregations are self-governing. We vest authority and responsibility in the membership of the congregation. Each Unitarian Universalist congregation is involved in many kinds of programs. We worship regularly, we share the insights of the past and the present with those who will create the future, we serve the community, and we make friends.

(Adapted from excerpts of “We Are Unitarian Universalists”, pamphlet #3047, copyright Unitarian Universalist Association, 1995.)

Principles and Purposes

Our detractors call us “The church that doesn’t believe in anything.” That is not true. We believe in many things. Our first belief is in the inherent worth and dignity of every person. It gets a little complicated after that, because some of us believe in God and some of us don’t. We do have a common set of Principles and Purposes, adopted as bylaws by the 1984, 1985 and 1995 General assemblies:

We, the member congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Association, covenant to 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.

 

Sources

The living tradition which we share 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.