"I want a religion that respects the differences
between people and affirms every person as an individual."
"I want a church that values children, that welcomes them on
their own terms—a church they are eager to attend on Sunday morning."
"I want a congregation that cherishes freedom
and encourages open dialogue on questions of faith, one in which
it is okay to change your mind."
"I want a religious community that affirms spiritual exploration
and reason as ways of finding truth."
"I want a church that acts locally and thinks globally on
the great issues of our time—world peace; women's rights; racial
justice; homelessness; gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender
rights; and protection of the environment."
What We Believe
Unitarian Universalism is a liberal religion born
of the Jewish and Christian traditions. We keep our minds open
to the religious questions people have struggled with in all times
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. We say ours is a noncreedal religion. Ours is a free
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.
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. A visitor to a Unitarian Universalist congregation will
very likely find events and activities such as church school,
daycare centers, lectures and forums, support groups, family events,
adult education classes, and study groups—all depending on the
needs and interests of the local members.
Each Unitarian Universalist congregation is the fulfillment of
a long heritage that goes back hundreds of years to courageous
people who struggled for freedom in thought and faith. On this
continent we include the Massachusetts settlers and the founders
of the republic. Outstanding
Unitarians and Universalists include John Adams, Clara Barton,
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Louisa May Alcott, Ralph Waldo Emerson,
Susan B. Anthony, Adlai Stevenson, Eliot Richardson, and Whitney
Young. Not as famous but equally worthy are the thousands of men
and women in our congregations leading vital, dedicated, and useful
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
More than one thousand congregations
make up the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA), which represents
our interests on a continental scale.
The UUA grew out of the consolidation, in 1961, of two religious
denominations, the Universalists, organized in 1793, and the Unitarians,
organized in 1825. (See the UU
The UUA provides resources and offers consultations
to local congregations, creates religious education curricula,
spurs social action efforts, expedites the settlement of professional
religious leaders, supports Beacon
Press, and produces pamphlets, devotional materials, and the
bimonthly journal the UU World.
The UUA works in concert with many other Unitarian Universalist
organizations, the largest of which is the Unitarian
Universalist Service Committee (UUSC). Since its early work
aiding victims of Nazi oppression, the UUSC has been helping people
help themselves through service and advocacy programs around the
world. The Unitarian Universalist Women's Federation, an independent
membership organization, represents, organizes, and acts on the
concerns and issues of importance to UU women across the continent.
Another related organization is the Unitarian Universalist Church
of the Larger Fellowship, which provides a ministry to geographically
isolated religious liberals.
Get to know us
The best way is to come, see, think, and explore with us. A
warm welcome awaits you.
Marta Flanagan graduated from Smith College and
received her master of divinity from Harvard Divinity School.
She is co-minister at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Portsmouth,