Becoming Unitarian Universalists
This program explores the different ways that group members came to Unitarian Universalism, what we each hold in common, and where we differ on the parts of Unitarian Universalism that are most important to us. This a good session to use soon after the group forms, as it encourages members to share their spiritual histories.
In preparation for this session, take some time to think about what Unitarian Universalism means to you.
"One Truth, many truths; one God, many faiths; one light (Unitarianism), many windows (Universalism). This is why we number as one of the sources for the living tradition we share 'wisdom from the world’s religions with inspires up us our ethical and spiritual life.' Among other things, it reminds us to be humble, especially when we are sure we are right." - Forrest Church, A Chosen Faith
There are seven principles which Unitarian Universalist congregations 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.
Unitarian Universalism 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.
- Unitarian Universalist Association
These questions provide ways you may want to approach this topic. Remember to focus on just one or two of the questions, if you choose to use them, as this will allow you to explore the topic in more depth.
- What are the most important parts of Unitarian Universalism for you?
- What spiritual path have you taken in becoming a Unitarian Universalist?
- What role did family, friends, or others play in your decision?
- What other faiths have you belonged to or spent time exploring? Have you incorporated parts of these faiths into your current beliefs?
- What do you enjoy most about being a Unitarian Universalist? Least?
- “Universalism: A Theology for the 21st Century,” Forrest Church. UU World (November/December 2001)
- Unitarian Universalist Principles and Sources, UUA website
- “Our shared faith,” Commission on Appraisal. UU World (November 1, 2005)
- Beliefs within our Faith, UUA website
- Unitarian History, UUA website
- Universalist History, UUA website
- “Bookshelf: Focus on History,” Christopher L. Walton. UU World (November/December 2002)
- Index of Recent Writing on Theology, UU World
- A Chosen Faith: An Introduction to Unitarian Universalism by John A. Buehrens and Forrest Church (1998)
- “Willing Confessions of a Reluctant Believer.” Sermon by Rev. Greg Stewart (4/25/07)