Each Unitarian Universalist congregation is involved in many kinds of programs. Worship is held regularly, the insights of the past and present are shared with those who will create the future, service to the community is undertaken, and friendships are made.
Each Unitarian Universalist congregation is the fulfillment of a long heritage that goes back hundreds of years to courageous people who struggled for tolerance and freedom in thought and faith. On this continent we include the Massachusetts settlers and the founders of the republic. A few Outstanding Unitarians and Universalists include John Adams, Clara Barton, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Louisa May Alcott, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Susan B. Anthony, Charles Dickens, Adlai Stevenson, Eliot Richardson, Whitney Young, Jr., Rachel Carson, Linus Pauling, Rod Serling and Tim Berners-Lee. Not as famous but equally worthy are the thousands of men and women in our congregations leading vital, dedicated, and useful lives.
Our congregations are self-governing. Authority and responsibility are vested in the membership of the congregation. Each local congregation, called a church, society, or fellowship, adopts its own bylaws, elects its own officers, and approves its budget. Every member is encouraged to take part in church or fellowship activities.
Unitarian Universalism is a liberal religion born of the Jewish and Christian traditions which has grown to include people of many different beliefs and religious backgrounds. We keep our minds open 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. In the end religious authority lies not in a book, person, or institution, but in ourselves. We put religious insights to the test of our hearts and minds.
We uphold the free search for truth. We will not be bound by a statement of belief. We do not ask anyone to subscribe to a creed or belief. We say ours is a noncreedal religion. Ours is a free faith.
We believe that religious wisdom is ever changing. Human understanding of life and death, the world and its mysteries, is never final. Revelation is continuous. We celebrate unfolding truths known to teachers, prophets, and sages throughout the ages.
We affirm the worth of all women and men. We believe people should be encouraged to think for themselves. We know people differ in their opinions and lifestyles, and we believe these differences generally should be honored.
We seek to act as a moral force in the world, believing that ethical living is the supreme witness of religion. The here and now and the effects our actions will have on future generations deeply concern us. We know that our relationships with one another, with diverse peoples, races, and nations, should be governed by justice, equity, and compassion.
The Principles of the Unitarian Universalist Association
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.
Grateful for the religious pluralism which enriches and ennobles our faith, we are inspired to deepen our understanding and expand our vision.
As free congregations we enter into this covenant, promising to one another our mutual trust and support