The Pocket Guide is one of the most complete introductions to Unitarian Universalism available, covering ministry, worship, religious education, social justice, and history. The 2012 edition is the most extensive revision in over a decade. Contributors include Kay Montgomery, John Crestwell, Gail Geisenhainer, Rosemary Bray McNatt, Jane Ranney Rzepka, Mark Belletini, Judith Frediani, Rebecca Parker, and Dan McKanan. Foreword by MSNBC commentator and lifelong Unitarian Universalist Melissa Harris-Perry.
I invented Unitarian Universalism. All by myself. I know numerous other people who have done this as well. I did it on buses, traveling up and down Livernois Avenue in Detroit. I was seventeen or so, a working-class Irish Catholic, living with my parents and attending a Jesuit college about ten miles away. The Jesuits would have been astonished, I suppose, to learn that this is what they had fashioned: a teenager trying to figure out what religion was and could be, and whether it was even possible to be both religious and honest much less an actual member of an actual church. I thought not. Each day that bus went within a half-mile or so of a Unitarian church, but I didn't know that and, if I had known, it wouldn't have meant a thing.
A decade later in another city, long after I had left "The Church," I stumbled on a passage in a book that described Unitarian Universalism. I was astonished: This thing I had invented actually existed-a richer version than mine, a version with a religious, intellectual, and cultural tradition I couldn't have imagined, but still, identifiably mine. And then there was the experience so many of us have had-of coming home. Of showing up in this church and finding comfort and challenge and people who insisted that I grow, of finding ideas that thrilled and scared me because they demanded so much, of finding a community of scrappy, smart, satisfying people who cared passionately about the church, about Unitarian Universalism, and about leaving the planet a better place, people who believe that they need one another for religious and social reasons, and for the work of making justice.
Unitarian Universalists come from so many places: parents who want their children to be religious but not limited by creeds; community activists who want a religious grounding for their work; people who left a traditional religion because they grew uncomfortable with its message; those with generations of Unitarian or Universalist forebears; gay, lesbian, bisexual, and/or transgender people who want a religious community where they will feel welcomed and where their partnerships will be blessed; biracial families; couples from different faiths who join because they want to be married by a clergyperson who will respect and honor their traditions and then decide to stay. Many paths are traveled on the way to Unitarian Universalism..