What are Unitarians and who are the Universalists?
The Unitarian name comes from the original anti-trinitarian belief in one, unified God. It has also come to define the unity of all believers. The Universalist name comes from belief in the universal salvation of all and that God is the God of everyone, not just Jews or Christians. Unitarianism has its roots in the Anti-Trinitarian movement led by Faustus Socinus (1539-c.1600) in Europe during the Counter-Reformation of the second half of the sixteenth century. Due to persecution as a heretic, Socinus fled Italy and found refuge in Poland, where he wrote several books and founded several churches. His followers were known as Socinians, who believed in freedom of religion, tolerance of all creeds, applying reason to Scripture, that God did not demand the sacrifical death of his son for the atonement of sins, and that the Trinity was false because there was no biblical evidence for it. By 1660, the Socinian sect in Poland was suppressed, but found refuge in Transylvania where it still survives. In 1959, the American Unitarian Association -- founded in 1825 by Joseph Priestly (from the teachings of Michael Servetus, who was burned at the stake by John Calvin) -- merged with the Universalist Church in America -- originally founded in 1793 by John Murray (based on the teachings of James Relly). In 1961, they became the Unitarian Universalist Association. Although both churches were founded on Christianity during the eighteenth century Enlightenment, Unitarians have come to reject most of the primary biblical doctrines held by traditional Christians.
Unitarians basically believe whatever they want to believe, valuing individualality and religious unity over all else. All believers must be free from judgment and allowed to seek and worship in whatever ways are considered best for themselves. One of its foundational beliefs is that there was no original sin and therefore no need for salvation. Although Christ's death was a selfless act towards mankind, in the end all will be saved regardless. Spiritual guidance may be found in the scriptural texts of all religions, including the Bible, however, truth is ultimately discovered within the heart of the individual. Although the Universalist movement may be classified as progressive Christianity, most fundamentalist Christians consider it a cult. Traditional Christian beliefs which are generally rejected by Unitarians include the Virgin Birth of Jesus, the Trinity, hell and eternal damnation, orthodox creeds (Nicene, Chalcedonian, and Apostles'), Atonement, the divinity of Christ, and a personal, paternal God. Jesus was only a prophet, but the greatest among all of God's many other moral and ethical teachers (including Zoroaster, Confucius, Buddha, and Mohammed). There is no need for a personal savior, though, since faith lies in the human capacity for reason and goodness. To the majority of Unitarians, God is simply a concept of a universal force -- not unlike natural processes -- whether beyond the universe or within each person. Of more importance is knowledge, intellect, and open-mindedness of the believer to discover who or what God is to them.
Other influential individuals on the doctrines and promotion of Unitarianism include Origen, Jan Huss, Michael Servetus, King John Sigismund of Transylvania, John Murray, Joseph Priestly, Hosea Ballou, William Ellery Channing, Theodore Parker, Julia Ward Howe, and Susan B. Anthony. Some famous Unitarian/Universalists include John Adams, John Quincy Adams, Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Paul Revere, Thomas Paine, Daniel Webster, Adlai Stevenson, Louisa May Alcott, E.E. Cummings, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Robert Fulghum, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Pete Seeger, Rod Serling, Mary Shelley, Henry David Thoreau, Kurt Vonnegut, Frank Lloyd Wright, Clara Barton, Charles Dickens, Charles Darwin, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., Herman Melville, Florence Nightingale, Beatrix Potter, Maria Montessori, Joseph Priestly, Aldai Stevenson, William Taft, and Albert Schweitzer.
"Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: 'Be holy, because I am holy.' [Lev. 11:44,45; 19:2; 20:7] Since you call on a Father who judges each man's work impartially, live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear."
(1 Peter 1:13-17)
About Unitarian Universalism
"The principles and purposes of the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations -- 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. 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."
American Unitarian Conference
"The crucible of freedom and reason that fostered the American revolution also opened the door to new movements in religious thought. One of those movements was Unitarianism, which grew out of Congregationalism in New England and the Unitarian tradition in England, Hungary, and elsewhere in Europe. The American Unitarian Association (AUA) was created in 1825, giving form to the burgeoning Unitarian faith in North America. Thomas Jefferson had seen the Unitarian potential when he wrote "I trust that there is not a young man now living in the United States who will not die a Unitarian." Although Jefferson proved unduly optimistic, the AUA quickly became one of the most prominent religious groups in the United States. The AUA -- for most of its life -- was an organization dedicated to promoting a tolerant religious faith that saw reason and a belief in God as congruent rather than hostile. It saw the Unitarian faith as squarely within the Western religious tradition. Modern thought, knowledge, and other faith traditions were not automatically rejected, as other religions insisted be done. Rather those modern ideas and the beliefs they challenged were to be tested through reason and debate, allowing the truth to come forth as a faith that could embrace both the wisdom of the past and new knowledge. Thus illuminated, religious faith would shine steadily and brightly in even the strongest storm. In more recent years, various movements within the AUA, many not even religious in character, caused the association to depart from its historic traditions to the point that it would hardly be recognizable to its founders. The AUA was disbanded in 1961 when it merged with the Universalist Church of America, creating a new organization called the Unitarian Universalist Association. The American Unitarian faith tradition was reborn in the year 2000 as the American Unitarian Conference, dedicated to a renewal of the historic Unitarian faith."
Australian and New Zealand Unitarian Association
"ANZUA was founded: i) To promote union, sympathy and co-operation among those who reject for themselves and others the imposition of creeds or articles of theological belief as a condition of association in religious fellowship; ii) To meet for consultation on matters affecting the well-being and interests of members of the Association, and to take such action thereon as may be considered advisable; iii) To help with the founding and maintenance of Congregations and Fellowships which do not require for themselves or their ministers subscription or assent to any doctrinal articles of belief; iv) To publish and circulate literature dealing with religious, theological and other subjects; v) To do all such other lawful things as may be incidental to the attainment of the above objects, or any of them. Member Fellowships and Churches will be affirmative in spirit, inclusive in fellowship and mutually supportive in its relationship with other member Fellowships and Churches..."
Beliefnet - Unitarian Universalist
"Beliefnet welcomes Unitarian Universalists! This discussion area is provided for you to talk with one another. Not Unitarian? Want to learn more? Post respectful questions in Learn About Unitarian Universalism and Beliefnet members will offer responses."
"Unitarian Christians believe Jesus Christ to be the Son of God and the Saviour of men. They believe in the divinity of his mission and in the divinity of his doctrines. They believe that the Gospel which he proclaimed came from God; that the knowledge it imparts, the morality it enjoins, the spirit it breathes, the acceptance it provides, the promises it makes, the prospects it exhibits, the rewards it proposes, the punishments it threatens, all proceed from the Great Jehovah. But they do not believe that Jesus Christ is the Supreme God. They believe that, though exalted far above all other created intelligences, he is a being distinct from, inferior to, and dependent upon, the Father Almighty. For this belief they urge, among other reasons, the following arguments from the Scriptures..."
Canadian Unitarian Council
"Unitarians share an open-minded and warm-hearted religion. It has been nurtured by the Jewish and Christian heritage, but is not now confined within the limits of any one tradition. We hope we can find channels through which to express the deeper insights of all the historic religions. No assent to any creed or statement of belief is required by any person joining a Unitarian society. Members accept the obligation to seek out truth for themselves and to follow that truth wherever it may lead. Unitarians affirm the worth of all human beings. They trust people's ability to build their own faith and believe people should be encouraged to think for themselves. Unitarians recognize that people will differ in their opinions and lifestyles. They hold that these differences should be not only accepted but genuinely supported, for each of us needs freedom to grow in ways that will encourage a similar freedom for all others to reach their own highest potentialities."
Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans
"The Sixth Source of Unitarian Universalism is "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." For some UUs this means a Pagan spirituality. For other UUs it means a Humanist, Native American, or other nature honoring spirituality. UUs are dedicated to the right of conscience, the personal search for spiritual truth and freedom from dogmatism. UUs are also dedicated to "Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part." Many UUs understand Paganism within this context while not accepting Paganism as their personal spiritual truth. Even so, opinions vary on the inclusion of a Pagan theology within the UUA. Individual congregations can be supportive or skeptical. Most congregations are tolerant, and many are even accepting, of Paganism as a spiritual expression within Unitarian Universalism."
Church of the Larger Fellowship
"At the opening of Unitarian Universalist worship services, many congregations light a flame inside a chalice. This flaming chalice has become a well-known symbol of our denomination. It unites our members in worship and symbolizes the spirit of our work. The chalice and the flame were brought together as a Unitarian symbol by an Austrian artist, Hans Deutsch, in 1941. Living in Paris during the 1930's Deutsch drew critical cartoons of Adolf Hitler. When the Nazis invaded Paris in 1940, he abandoned all he had and fled to the South of France, then to Spain, and finally, with an altered passport, into Portugal. There, he met the Reverend Charles Joy, executive director of the Unitarian Service Committee (USC). The Service Committee was new, founded in Boston to assist Eastern Europeans, among them Unitarians as well as Jews, who needed to escape Nazi persecution. From his Lisbon headquarters, Joy oversaw a secret network of couriers and agents. Charles Joy felt that this new, unknown organisation needed some visual image to represent Unitarianism to the world, especially when dealing with government agencies abroad... The USC was an unknown organization in 1941. This was a special handicap in the cloak-and-dagger world, where establishing trust quickly across barriers of language, nationality, and faith could mean life instead of death. Disguises, signs and countersigns, and midnight runs across guarded borders were the means of freedom in those days. Joy asked Deutsch to create a symbol for their papers "to make them look official, to give dignity and importance to them, and at the same time to symbolize the spirit of our work.... When a document may keep a man out of jail, give him standing with governments and police, it is important that it look important." Thus, Hans Deutsch made his lasting contribution to the USC and, as it turned out, to Unitarian Universalism. With pencil and ink he drew a chalice with a flame. It was, Joy wrote his board in Boston, "a chalice with a flame, the kind of chalice which the Greeks and Romans put on their altars. The holy oil burning in it is a symbol of helpfulness and sacrifice.... This was in the mind of the artist. The fact, however, that it remotely suggests a cross was not in his mind, but to me this also has its merit. We do not limit our work to Christians. Indeed, at the present moment, our work is nine-tenths for the Jews, yet we do stem from the Christian tradition, and the cross does symbolize Christianity and its central theme of sacrificial love." The flaming chalice design was made into a seal for papers and a badge for agents moving refugees to freedom. In time it became a symbol of Unitarian Universalism all around the world."
"The lists included on this site link the names of some famous Unitarians, Universalists, and (after their merger in 1961) Unitarian Universalists, with some basic information about them. The emphasis is on UUs in the United States and Canada... UUism is a creedless religion -- our deeds speak louder than our words -- and so it may be easier to understand UUism as a living faith by noting the individuals who have been associated with UUism. These lists have been developed by different people at different times. All individuals included have some connection with Unitarianism, Universalism, or Unitarian Universalism: they attended a congregation regularly, they were members or ministers of a congregation, or they identified themselves in public or private statements as Unitarians and Universalists. Both Unitarianism and Universalism began as theological tendencies within other religious movements; thus, some individuals represented here may have considered themselves Unitarian and/or Universalist before those were organized denominations.
General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Churches
"We believe that: everyone has the right to seek truth and meaning for themselves; the fundamental tools for doing this are your own life experience, your reflection upon it, your intuitive understanding and the promptings of your own conscience; the best setting for this is a community that welcomes you for who you are, complete with your beliefs, doubts and questions. We can be called religious 'liberals': religious because we unite to celebrate and affirm values that embrace and reflect a greater reality than self; liberal because we claim no exclusive revelation or status for ourselves; because we afford respect and toleration to those who follow different paths of faith. We are called 'Unitarians': because of our traditional insistence on divine unity, the oneness of God; because we affirm the essential unity of humankind and of creation... Unitarianism has its roots in the Jewish and Christian traditions but is open to insights from world faiths, science, the arts, the natural world, and everyday living... The revised Object of the General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches: We, the constituent congregations, affiliated societies and individual members, uniting in a spirit of mutual sympathy, co-operation, tolerance and respect; and recognising the worth and dignity of all people and their freedom to believe as their consciences dictate; and believing that truth is best served where the mind and conscience are free, acknowledge that the Object of the Assembly is: To promote a free and inquiring religion through the worship of God and the celebration of life; the service of humanity and respect for all creation; and the upholding of the liberal Christian tradition. To this end, the Assembly may: Encourage and unite in fellowship bodies which uphold the religious liberty of their members, unconstrained by the imposition of creeds; Affirm the liberal religious heritage and learn from the spiritual, cultural and intellectual insights of all humanity; Act where necessary as the successor to the British and Foreign Unitarian Association and National Conference of Unitarian, Liberal Christian, Free Christian, Presbyterian and other Non-Subscribing or Kindred Congregations, being faithful to the spirit of their work and principles (see appendix to the constitution), providing always that this shall in no way limit the complete doctrinal freedom of the constituent churches and members of the Assembly; Do all other such lawful things as are incidental to the attainment of the above Object. (Adopted at the General Assembly Annual Meetings, April 2001)"
International Council of Unitarians and Universalists
"All member groups have agreed to the spirit of these purposes and principles.
PREAMBLE TO THE CONSTITUTION OF THE INTERNATIONAL COUNCIL OF UNITARIANS AND UNIVERSALISTS: We, the member groups of the International Council of Unitarians and Universalists, affirming our belief in religious community based on:
declare our purposes to be:
- liberty of conscience and individual thought in matters of faith,
- the inherent worth and dignity of every person.
- justice and compassion in human relations,
- responsible stewardship in human relations,
- and our commitment to democratic principles,
- to serve the Infinite Spirit of Life and the human community,
by strengthening the worldwide Unitarian and Universalist faith,
- to affirm the variety and richness of our living traditions,
- to facilitate mutual support among member organizations,
- to promote our ideals and principles around the world,
- to provide models of liberal religious response,
- to the human condition which upholds our common values."
The Magi Network
"Matthew tells the story of the Magi, ancient wise men bringing gifts to the infant Jesus. When they arrived at the manger, the Magi did not know what to expect. Although they knew this was a newborn child of promise, they did not know what he would grow up to be. They only knew he was worthy of the best they had, because he was a child who would change the world."
National Unitarian Fellowship
"Unitarianism is a religious movement in which individuals are free to follow their reason - there is no pressure from creed or scripture; grew out of Christianity and sees Jesus as a man to be followed not a god to be worshipped; is open to change in the light of new thought and discoveries. Do you wish to explore religious matters in company with others who are like-minded? The National Unitarian Fellowshipis a nationwide network, for the exchange of ideas, opinions and news; a point of contact for all with similar ideas whether they belong to a church or not and is, perhaps, especially attractive to those who live in remote areas, are on the move or who work on Sundays. UNITARIANS aim to understand, accept and respect each other. We affirm the essential unity of humankind and its interdependence with all life on our planet. We seek a spiritual and moral framework of love, tolerance and justice for our lives."
New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia - Unitarians
"In its general sense the name designates all disbelievers in the Trinity, whether Christian or non-Christian; in its present specific use it is applied to that organized form of Christianity which lays emphasis on the unity of the personality of God. The term seems to have originated about 1570, was used in a decree of the Diet held in 1600 at Lecsfalva in Transylvania, and received official ecclesiastic sanction in 1638. It supplanted the various designations of anti-Trinitarians, Arians, Racovians, and Socinians. In England the name first appears in 1682. It became frequent in the United States from 1815, although it was received unfavourably by some anti-Trinitarians, and omitted in their official titles by some congregations whose religious position it defined. The explanation of this opposition is to be found in the reluctance of the parties concerned to lay stress on any doctrinal affirmation. Historical associations account for the name Presbyerians, frequently applied to Unitarians in the British Isles, and Unitarian Congregationalists, used in the United States. No definite standard of belief is recognized in the denomination and no doctrinal tests are laid down as a condition of fellowship. The co-operation of all persons desirous of advancing the interests of "pure" (i.e. undogmatic, practical) Christianity is welcomed in the Unitarian body... In short, present-day Unitarianism is hardly more than natural religion, and exhibits in some of its members a pronounced tendency towards Pantheistic speculation. The Church polity in England and America is strictly congregational; each individual congregation manages, without superior control, all its affairs, calls and discharges its minister, and is the final judge of the religious views expressed in its pulpit. In Transylvania the Church government is exercised by a bishop who resides at Kolozsv�r (Klausenburg) and is assisted by a consistory. The episcopal title which he bears does not imply special consecration but mearly designates the office of an ecclesiatical supervisor..."
Notable American Unitarians
"This online project of the First Parish and the First Church in Cambridge (Unitarian Universalist) is based on research concerning some representative women and men who made significant contributions to life in the quarter-century 1936-1961. This period runs from the time of a report, Unitarians Face a New Age, to the beginning of the Unitarian Universalist Association. This project is funded in part by the Fund for Unitarian Universalism and cosponsoring UU congregations. Project advisors are Gloria Korsman, Andover-Harvard Theological Library; Conrad Edick Wright, Massachusetts Historical Society; and Conrad Wright, Harvard Divinity School... JAMES DRUMMOND DOLE: ENTREPRENEUR (1877-1958) -- The Rev. Charles Fletcher Dole (1845-1927) served for more than forty years as pastor of the First Unitarian Church in Jamaica Plain. His work for peace and free speech influenced Nobel Peace Prize winner Emily Balch. His son, James Drummond Dole (1877-1958), studied agriculture at Harvard�s Bussey Institute (now the Arnold Arboretum). He traveled to the Sandwich Islands in 1901, where he is credited with establishing the Hawaiian pineapple industry..."
The Open Mind
"This site is sponsored by The Hibbert Trust which was founded in 1847 under the Will of Robert Hibbert, a Unitarian. It seeks to promote liberal religion and upholds "the unfettered exercise of private judgement in matters of religion." Unitarianism is a religious movement that imposes no creed on its members. Each person is helped and encouraged to discover his or her own path to truth and meaning in life, and to practise tolerance towards the views of others. The name "Unitarian" comes from the period (some 400 years ago) when the movement arose out of the radical wing of the Protestant Reformation, emphasising that Jesus was a man whose teaching was to be followed rather than a God to be worshipped (the "Unity" as opposed to the "Trinity" of God). This break with orthodoxy liberated Unitarian thinking which has, over time, come to value the insights of other religious and philosophical traditions and, in accord with modern environmental and scientific thought, places an emphasis on the underlying Unity of the Universe and the interdependence of all Life. In Britain, Unitarianism has grown from Protestant Christian roots into a faith which confidently asserts that "revelation is not sealed". We therefore welcome inspiration from diverse sources including the arts, science and our everyday human experience. British Unitarians include people who feel themselves strongly part of the Christian tradition but cannot accept some of the "fine print" of the doctrine of traditional churches, "religious humanists" (and atheists) who value liberal religion as a human-centred activity, folk who draw their spiritual inspiration primarily from nature, people from a Jewish background, and others who have found insight in Eastern religions. We hope that newcomers to our churches find the diversity liberating as well as intriguing. Unlike the Quakers in Britain, another religious group without a creed, Unitarians have ministers. In contrast to most mainstream churches, however, we do not regard them as having special powers or authority to perform certain functions which cannot be exercised by lay-people, but as specially trained people with a particular vocation to nurture spiritual growth among members and to provide a liberal religious witness to the local community. The Unitarian movement was the first religious group in England to welcome a woman into the professional ministry (in 1904). Unitarian worship bears similarities to that found in other Nonconformist denominations, but with greater scope for diversity of practice and belief. The organisation of Unitarian congregations is described on the home page of the General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches."
Religious Tolerance.org - Unitarian Universalism
"The Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations (commonly called the Unitarian Universalist Association or UUA) is a liberal religious organization, serving the Unitarian Universalist (UU) churches of North America. The Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches estimated a total membership of 502,000 in 1990. The UUA was formed on 1961-MAY-11 from the merger of the Unitarian and Universalist Churches. Unlike other religiously liberal faith groups, UUs are currently expanding in numbers. Before about 1960, UUs were largely considered the most liberal of Christian denominations. Since then, the beliefs of Unitarian Universalists have become quite diverse. They are now considered a separate religion and no longer part of Christianity. In 1995-JUN, the UUA acknowledged that its main sources of spirituality are: Christianity, Earth Centered Religions (Afro-American religions, Native American spirituality, Wicca, other Neopagan religions, etc.), Humanism, Judaism, other world religions, prophets, and the direct experience of mystery. Fewer than 10% of Unitarian Universalists identify themselves as Christians. The organization exists as a very liberal, multi-faith group."
Unitarian Christian Association
"The Unitarian Christian Association was founded in 1991, largely at the instigation of the late Lancelot Austin Garrard, a distinguished Unitarian scholar and theologian, who was Principal of Manchester College, Oxford (now Harris Manchester College) from 1956 to 1965. After his retirement, he continued as an active participant in Unitarian affairs and in the 1980s (like many of his fellow Unitarians and Free Christians) he became increasingly concerned at what appeared to be a concerted attempt to repudiate the Christian tradition within Unitarianism. A very generous financial donation on his part enabled the idea of a well-established Liberal Christian organisation within Unitarianism to become a reality, and the Unitarian Christian Association, a registered charity (No.1017711), was constituted by a Declaration of Trust dated April 3rd 1991. The objects of the Association (now commonly known as the UCA) are "to promote Unitarian Christian religion in the congregations of the General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches, to promote religious education within that tradition, to relieve need, hardship or distress of members of the Association, and to undertake any other charitable purpose that may arise." Tony Cross, a later Principal of Manchester College, who was at that time a close associate and admirer of Lancelot Garrard, was a very prominent moving spirit in the Association's early days and he did much to spread its influence and establish it on a firm basis. But his own theological position changed over the years, and he was eventually received into the Roman Catholic Church. It needs to be noted that for some time now he has not been involved in any way with the activities or counsels of the UCA."
"We take the name Unitarian Christian as it sums up exactly who we are and what we believe.
Our faith is also born out of the realisation that only through open and honest inquiry, discussion and fellowship can we move closer to living the positive and constructive lives that God and his messenger Jesus have wished for us. We accept our faith is on a journey of discovery and do not take the arrogant view that it is the only path one can take to God. We take this faith not as a psychological crutch brought about by the trauma of existence and realisation of our own mortality, not as an easy option that requires little commitment and not through an instinctive tribalistic need to belong. Our commitment to Unitarian Christianity is a genuine attempt to understand the meaning and purpose of life, to transform our individual lives into positive forces for good and to make a constructive contribution to the progression of humankind and the interdependent world it inhabits."
- By taking the name Unitarian we wish to state that our community is bound together by a passion to know the one God - the source of original and ongoing creation; the ground of all existence; the ultimate good; the voice within.
- By Christian we quite simply mean 'follower of Christ'. There are many monotheistic faiths with a central human figure and for us, Jesus Christ (Yeshua Mashiach) is that person. We view him as central to our faith and look to him as the Master Teacher and Great Exemplar - we are followers of Jesus Christ and emphasize our love of his persona and trust in his teaching through the second part of our community's name.
Unitarian Church in Hungary
"The Catechism of the Hungarian Unitarian Church in Transylvanian Romania -- Religion is love toward God and toward our neighbor (all neighbors)... Whether we look to the universe and its order, or to ourselves and our talents, we obtain the conviction that there exists one God, who created, maintains and manages everything... Love toward God consists of our respect for his laws and our endeavor to fulfill them. The child sincerely loves and respects his parents if he obeys them and conduct himself so that he merits their love. In the same manner, we respect and love God if we are obedient and try to live according to his will... The purpose of religion is to refine our souls through LOVE toward GOD and neighbor, to ennoble our feelings and to encourage service to God and neighbor... The purpose of religion clearly shows that humanity needs religion; human history demonstrates this as well, according to the evidence of which there has never been a people that did not have religion... According to the teaching of the history of religion, we obtained a more pure religion because God sent enlightened, wise, morally religious teachers who led us to a clearer religious conviction, corresponding with reason. We use[d] to call God's messengers prophets, Apostles or founders of religion. In the course of history, such messengers of God were Zoroaster to the Persians, Confucius to the Chinese, Buddha to the Hindus, Moses and the prophets to the Jews and Mohammed to the Arabs. The greatest prophet of God was Jesus, the founder of the Christian Religion. He taught us both the knowledge and love of God... We know the teachings of the prophets and of Jesus from the Bible. Usually we call the Bible Holy Scripture... The Bible is a collection which includes 66 books from antiquity, the authors and contents of which differ... The Old Testament contains the morally religious laws of the Jewish people and the teachings of the prophets... It is necessary to know the Bible because the teachings included in it are the basis of the Christian religion and (the basis for) direction of Christian life. For this reason we have to read and study the Bible with love and reason... Those, whose religion is based upon Jesus' teaching we call Christians. The "Christian" name is derived from the Latin "Christians" which means: belongs to Jesus, the follower of Jesus... Christianity is not united. In the course of history the Christian Religion has divided into different denominations. But Christians living on earth are bound together by Jesus' teaching on brotherly unity... Among the Christians of antiquity and later in the age of the Reformation, different thoughts about the personality and teaching of Jesus arose. Denominations have been formed from the followers of these different religious concepts... The founder of the Unitarian Church was Francis David (D�vid Ferenc)... The purpose to which Francis David devoted his life was the restoration of the pure Christianity of Jesus... The greater part of the Hungarian people of the country agreed with Francis David and along with King John Sigismund, became followers of the pure Christianity of Jesus, as it was taught by Francis David. This religion was named Unitarian, from (the doctrine of the) unity of God. The word "Unitarian" is of Latin origin "unus, unitas" which means "believers of one God who profess the indivisible unity of God". The Unitarian name was first used in 1600 at the Diet of L�cfalva..."
Unitarian Universalist Christian Fellowship
"We are people seeking to freely follow the spirit of Jesus and to share this spirit within and without our Association. From our bylaws: We "serve Christian Unitarians and Universalists according to their expressed religious needs; uphold and promote the Christian witness within the Unitarian Universalist Association; and uphold and promote the historic Unitarian and Universalist witness and conscience within the church universal." Another way to put this is: We witness for the power and story of Christianity to free religion, and witness for the power and story of free religion to Christianity. We are an independent affiliate of the UUA with members from throughout the continent and world. We organized in 1945. In many ways our history began and is continuous with the organizing of the Universalist movement in America in 1793 and later with the organizing of the American Unitarian Association in 1825, an organization of individuals whose aims were to promote "pure Christianity." There has always been a great diversity in beliefs within the Christian tradition. The UUCF does not require common theological beliefs or spiritual practices. We welcome all who seek to be partners and participants in our tradition's "Great Conversation" about God, Jesus, the Bible, and spiritual disciplines. While some within Christianity would exclude us now as before because of our non-creedal basis, the term "Unitarian/Universalist Christian" would once have been considered a redundancy, the same for example as "Methodist Christian." Unitarians and Universalists have roots in the liberalizing movements within the Protestant Christian Radical Reformation, and in many places Christianity continues to be the common way to be Unitarian Universalist. UU Christians feel they can best follow in the spirit of Jesus and best deepen their spiritual lives wilthin the freedom of UU congregations, whether or not those congregations are expressly Christian-oriented..."
Unitarian-Universalist Church of Nashua
"100 Questions That Non-Members Ask About Unitarian Universalism... Are UUs Christian? The answer to this question varies among UUs. Unitarians and Universalists, once liberal Protestant Christian denominations, drew away from their Christian base to embrace the principle of individual freedom of belief. Although some churches are still liberal Christian, today only about 20 percent of UUs would call themselves Christian. Thus Unitarian Universalism cannot be considered a totally Christian religion... Do UUs believe in a universal religion? We believe in the universality of religion in that we recognize all humans ask questions such as "Why am I here? What is the meaning and purpose of my life? Why do I have to die?" Realizing all religions seek to provide answers to questions like these, we think there is much wisdom in their many answers. Few UUs contend that there is, or ever will be, a single universal religion that is right for everyone... Do you believe in a Redeemer? No. We believe we should be judged by how well we live our lives and serve others, not in what a redeemer will do for us. We respect religious and spiritual leaders such as Jesus, Moses and Buddha for what they can teach us about living, not as redeemers in the traditional sense... If you do not fear God, hell, or eternal damnation, what is your incentive to act morally and responsibly? We feel that people who live moral and ethical lives usually do so because they have a sense of responsibility to themselves and to others. Our incentive is that we want to live in a more sane, peaceful, and just world than the one we have at present, and we wish to pass on a better world to succeeding generations. To hold that moral and ethical living only occurs because people fear hell or damnation is to demean those who seek to lead morally and ethically responsible lives... How many UUs are there? There are 200,000 in the United States and Canada, 80,000 in Rumania and Hungary, 10,000 in Great Britain and Europe, and small groups in India, the Philippines and Nigeria... Are UUs hard to find? Sort of. Only one American in every 1,300 is a Unitarian Universalist..."
Unitarian Universalist United Nations Office
"The UUA's involvement in the United Nations can be traced to the early part of the 20th century. Both the Unitarians and the Universalists were active in the League of Nations Association and later closely monitored the creation of the United Nations. In 1946, the American Unitarian Association appointed Elvira Fradkin as an official delegate to the United Nations. In the 1950's, the Universalist Church of America and the American Unitarian Association adopted resolutions in support of the United Nations. In 1956, Universalists and Unitarians convened the first annual UN Seminar at the Church Center. With the merger of the two denominations in 1961, the Unitarian Universalist Association formed an Advisory Committee on the United Nations. In 1963, the UUA Principles and Purposes were merged into one document with marked similarity to the United Nations Charter (1945) and to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948). The founding of the UU-United Nations Office can be traced to April of 1962. US Ambassador to the United Nations and a Unitarian, Adlai Stevenson wrote to UUA President Dana McLean Greeley suggesting that each UU congregation nominate an envoy... That same year, working out of a makeshift space at Community Church in New York City, the first members began implementing Ambassador Stevenson's recommendation. Elizabeth Swayzee, the first Executive Director, and Velva Sabin sent letters to UU congregations in the US and Canada. By 1965, the network had grown to over 300 envoys. Today, the UU-UNO represents 138 congregations and 1,855 members through 496 Local Envoys and 25 District Envoys. Beginning in 1946, all work by Unitarians and Universalists at the UN was conducted on a volunteer basis. From 1965 to 1970, the UUA allotted funds for UN activities, but in 1971, all financial support from the UUA ceased, and the UU-UNO incorporated as a separate non-profit organization. Since then, the Office�s funds have come mainly from individual and congregational contributions, along with significant support for several years from the Community Church of New York and the Veatch Foundation at the UU Church of Shelter Rock on Long Island, which sustained the Office at the Church Center. Today, the UU-UNO is an associate member of the UUA with United Nations ECOSOC consultative status and DPI/NGO status. On September 3, 2002, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan inaugurated the International Criminal Court, passing the gavel to the Assembly of States Parties. The first religious leaders to formally attend this historic ceremony were UUA President Rev. William Sinkford and Rev. Olivia Holmes, UUA Director of International Affairs and UU-UNO Board Member."
"Your nexus for unitarian and Universalist Christianity on the Web. The mission of this website is simple: to host features of interest to Unitarian Universalist Christians, and to link the best sites for the same constituency. The goal of the features is content and ease of transfer, not packaging or excess images."
"Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will. For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully."
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