Welcome to First Unitarian Church. We are Unitarian Universalists, a religion that celebrates unity in diversity of belief and through the practice of seven principles:
- 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.
With a rich history and tradition of independence, the Unitarian Universalist Association is a network of autonomous and self-governing congregations. Each UU Church, Congregation, Society or Fellowship is unique, unlike all the others. Yet we all share a desire to nurture our spirits and put our faith into action through social justice work in our local communities and the wider world. In joining together, UU congregations have covenanted to promote certain principles and draw on many religious sources.
In keeping with these principles, the congregation at First Unitarian Church brings together a wide diversity of beliefs and backgrounds. We have chosen to share our religious journey because we value diversity and the intrinsic value of each individual member's spiritual search.
As a community of free-thinking people of faith, we identify with a wide variety of beliefs, ranging from theistic to agnostic to atheistic beliefs, ranging freely from scientific humanism to Unitarian Christianity, and including earth-centered and Eastern-focused practices. Our members of every persuasion feel keenly that this range of beliefs needs to be acknowledged in such a way that enables each of us to call our church home.
For more information about diversity of belief in UU Congregations go to: http://uua.org/beliefs/welcome/index.shtml
Unitarian Universalism SOURCES
The living contemporary tradition in which we share draws from many sources. Among them may be numbered the following, by no means exhaustive list:
- 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 reflect 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 superstitious and irrational idolatries of 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
Unitarian Universalism is a liberal religious tradition that was formed from the consolidation of two different forms of the Christian faith: 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 Unitarians and Universalists have roots in the earliest days of Christian history. Congregations formed under the Unitarian name in Central Europe hundreds of years ago and are still alive in every continent in the world. Universalism which celebrates God's unconditional love and the universality of salvation, was proclaimed by the Church Fathers, St. Gregory of Nyssa and Origen of Alexandria in the third century, and Universalist Christians have been organized for centuries.
Universalism was condemned as heresy in AD 553 by the same orthodox Council of Constantinople that condemned the Unitarianism of Arius, who held that God was one and undivided and that Jesus was a mortal man, though divinely wise. Thus, Universalism and Unitarianism have been closely aligned with one another (if only in disrepute) since the earliest Christian times. For more information about the global history of Unitarianism and Universalism click here.
Both religions have long histories and have contributed important theological concepts that remain central to Unitarian Universalism. Originally, all Unitarians were Christians who didn't believe in the Holy Trinity of God (Father, Son, and Holy Ghost), but in the unity, or single aspect, of God. Later, Unitarian beliefs stressed the importance of rational thinking, a direct relationship with God, and the humanity of Jesus. Universalism emerged as a Christian denomination with a central belief in universal salvation; that is, that all people will eventually be reconciled with God.
Since the merger of the two denominations in 1961, Unitarian Universalism has nurtured its Unitarian and Universalist heritages to provide a strong voice for social justice and liberal religion.
To learn more about the history of Unitarian Universalism, please see the pamphlet, "Unitarian Universalist Origins: Our Historic Faith."