About Unitarian Universalism
Unitarian Universalism creates change: in ourselves, and in the world.
Seven days a week, UUs live their faith by doing. Whether in community with others or as an individual, we know that active, tangible expressions of love, justice, and peace are what make a difference.
Unitarian Universalist congregations are committed to seven Principles that include the worth of each person, the need for justice and compassion, and the right to choose one’s own beliefs. Our congregations and faith communities promote these principles through regular worship, learning and personal growth, shared connection and care, social justice and service, celebration of life’s transitions, and much more.
Our faith tradition is diverse and inclusive. We grew from the union of two radical Christian groups: the Universalists, who organized in 1793, and the Unitarians, who organized in 1825. They joined to become the UUA in 1961. Both groups trace their roots in North America to the early Massachusetts settlers and the Framers of the Constitution. Across the globe, our legacy reaches back centuries to liberal religious pioneers in England, Poland, and Transylvania. Today, Unitarian Universalists include people of many beliefs who share UU values of peace, love, and understanding. We are creators of positive change in people and in the world.
A brief history of Unitarian Universalism
Unitarian Universalism evolved from two strands of liberal Christianity. Unitarians emphasized the oneness of God and the teachings of Jesus, with less emphasis on his divinity and the meaning of his life and death. This movement was prominent in the first three centuries after Jesus’ death, but became heresy after the official adoption of the Trinitarian (God in three persons) position by the council of Nicea in 325 CE.
Unitarian theology surfaced throughout western history, most strongly in New England Congregational churches in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Many of the founders of this nation (Thomas Jefferson, John and Abigail Adams, and others) were Unitarians. Unitarians have been prominent in politics, social justice, the arts and sciences in the United States since that time (Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Clara Barton, Dorthea Dix, Adlai Stevenson, Linus Pauling, ee cummings, Theodor Geisel [Dr. Suess] and many others).
Universalism is the belief that the salvation offered by the life and death of Jesus is universal (universal reconciliation), available to believers and non-believers alike. This movement reached its peak in America in the late nineteenth century, and was the sixth largest denomination in the United States at the turn of the 20th century.
Both movements attracted skeptical persons of various beliefs who had failed to find supportive environments within creedal religions. The two organizations merged to form the Unitarian Universalist Association in 1961.