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With Purpose and Principle

With Purpose and Principle

Essays About the Seven Principles of Unitarian Universalism

Now available as an eBook in the Amazon Kindle store and in the Google Bookstore.

Editor: Edward A. Frost

Price: $12.00

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Now available as an eBook in the Amazon Kindle store and in the Google Bookstore.

A short history of the Principles and Purposes followed by essays from present-day UU leaders including John Buehrens, Marilyn Sewell, Earl Holt and Barbara Merritt. Excellent for use in new-member classes, as well as for those seeking insight into this essential piece of our living tradition.
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Preface

Introduction

From Grailville to Atlanta: A Delicate and Dangerous Path

We Affirm and Promote The Inherent Worth and Dignity of Every Person by Marilyn Sewell

We Affirm and Promote Justice, Equity, and Compassion in Human Relations by Richard S. Gilbert

We Affirm and Promote Acceptance of One Another and Encouragement to Spiritual Growth in Our Congregations by Carolyn Owen-Towle

We Affirm and Promote A Free and Responsible Search for Truth and Meaning by Fredric Muir

We Affirm and Promote The Right of Conscience and the Use of the Democratic Process Within Our Congregations and in Society at Large by Earl K. Holt III

We Affirm and Promote The Goal of World Community With Peace, Liberty, and Justice for All by John Buehrens

We Affirm and Promote Respect for the Interdependent Web of All Existence of Which We Are a Part by Barbara Merritt

Common Beliefs

Appendix A: Bylaws of the Unitarian UniversalistAssociation, 1961-1984

Appendix B: The Women and Religion Resolution

Appendix C: 1981 Proposed Bylaw Amendment

Appendix D: New Draft Amendment

During World War II, plans were laid for the expansion of Unitarianism, which had suffered serious depletion of membership in the years since the Great War. The American Unitarian Association's board set up committees on "Unitarian Advance." One of those committees, chaired by the revered minister A. Powell Davies, was charged with framing a statement that would set the theological ground for the growth of the movement. The committee drew up a list of five principles with which it believed most Unitarians would agree. The five principles were:

Individual freedom of belief; discipleship to advancing truth; the democratic process in human relations; universal brotherhood, undivided by nation, race, or creed; and allegiance to the cause of a united world community.

The principles were widely accepted, quoted in denominational literature, and included in the statements of purpose, covenants, and bonds of union of many congregations. When, in 1961, the American Unitarian Association merged with the Universalist Church, the five principles were incorporated into the new association's Statement of Purpose. Echoes of those principles can still be heard in the current Principles and Purposes of the Unitarian Universalist Association.

The Unitarian Universalist fear of creeds may well border on the irrational, as Paul Carnes suggested. Still, as this brief historical survey demonstrates, both movements have attempted continually through the years to formulate statements that would capture what it is that Unitarians and Universalists believe. Where these attempts have failed, they have failed for essentially two reasons: first, because most of the attempts to write a creed were intended or were interpreted as intending to exclude minority views and positions; and, secondly, because both Unitarians and Universalists have historically held fast to one unstated ideology-individualism. Any attempt to draw a circle might be interpreted as an attempt to shut some outside or as an attempt to keep some in. It is this embedded ideology of individualism that frustrated former attempts to proclaim a unity in theological diversity and that, as we shall see in the following chapter, made the road to a new statement of principle and purpose "delicate and dangerous."

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