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Unitarian Universalism

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Two jokes:

Jokes of the day as supplied by Beliefnet.com that we just could not resist posting here:

bulletThree children were talking about their religions.
"I'm a Catholic," said one, "And our symbol is the cross."
"I'm Jewish," said the second, "And our symbol is the Star of David."
The third child said, "I'm a Unitarian Universalist and our symbol is a candle in a cocktail glass!"
 
bullet A Unitarian Universalist dies, and on the way to the afterlife encounters a fork in the road with two options: The left path has a sign "to heaven;" while the right has a sign "to a discussion of heaven." Without pausing, the UU turns right, to the discussion of heaven. \

Beliefnet posts the following disclaimer that is applicable here as well.

"We recognize that religious humor can be risky. It is our hope that by laughing at ourselves (and others) we can make this subject more approachable. If you find any of these objectionable, we apologize."

Overview:

Unitarianism Universalism is an unusual religious organization. Unlike most religions in North America, it does not require its adherents to adhere to a specific set of beliefs. Its membership includes individuals who identify themselves as Agnostics, Atheists, Buddhists, Christians, Humanists, Wiccans, or  other religious tradition. Many inter-faith couples find it to be a comfortable religious home in which both spouses can gain spiritual nourishment.

UUs view the main function of the congregation as facilitating the spiritual quest of its members. The main function of a UU minister is to help members of the congregation to develop their own religious belief system, and moral system.

Major concerns of the UU religion include social justice and service to humanity. Most UUs readily adapt their beliefs to the findings of science. Thus they were very active in the abolition of slavery. More recently, they are actively working towards achieving equal rights for women, and the attainment of equal rights, including the right to marry, for homosexuals and bisexuals. They have an influence on the culture that is far beyond what one would expect from their numbers.

Unitarianism and Unitarian Universalism worldwide:

bulletThe Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations (commonly called the Unitarian Universalist Association or UUA) is a liberal religious organization, serving the Unitarian Universalist (UU) congregations in the U.S.

bulletThe Canadian Unitarian Council links together Unitarian congregations in Canada.

bulletThe General Assembly of Unitarian & Free Christian Churches links Unitarians in the UK and Ireland.

bulletThe International Council of Unitarians and Universalists is a network of Unitarian, Universalist and Unitarian Universalists organizations from about two dozen countries. Their web site contains a very useful brief history of its member organizations.

Topics discussed in this section:

bulletIntroduction: Overview, definitions, history
 
bulletBeliefs
bulletConcerns for the environment

bulletHomosexuality
 
bulletUU groups and Internet resources
 
bulletAdditional information: Comparison with Christianity; recent developments

Resources available on the UUA web site:

Although created for UU congregations, fellowships and individuals, they should also be be of interest to religiously liberal and progressive individuals and congregations:

  • Videos: The Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations has produced a series of short videos called "A Religion for our Time." The series highlights: "... inspiring work in Unitarian Universalist (UU) congregations, including innovative projects relating to worship, religious education, social justice, membership, and fellowship." They have titles such as "Joining Voices," "Opening the Doors to Diversity," "Worship that Rocks," "Connect, Respect, Protect," "Multicultural Ministry," "Deepening Faith through Service," "Cluster on the Cutting Edge," etc. See: http://www.uua.org/

  • "Tapestry of Faith:" These are "... programs and resources for all ages that nurture Unitarian Universalist identity, spiritual growth, a transforming faith, and vital communities of justice and love." See: http://www.uua.org/

  • Email lists: There are over 300 mailing lists hosted by the UUA. Their functions range from providing announcements of activities to discussions on various topics. See: http://www.uua.org/

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Resources about UUs on the Internet:

  1. The chalice symbol on either side of this essay's title was supplied by Steve Brindenbaugh.
  2. The UUA maintains a web site at http://uua.org
  3. Marta Flanagan's essay, "We are Unitarian Universalists" is at http://www.uua.org/
  4. Rev. Charles Eddis's pamphlet, "What Unitarians and Universalists Believe" is at: http://www.cuc.ca/ This is a PDF file. You may require software to read it. Software can be obtained free from: 
  5. Suite101.com has a section on Unitarian Universalism at: http://www.suite101.com/
  6. "Principles and Purposes," at: http://www.uua.org/
  7. James Estes, a UU seminarian, has produced an informative guide for persons wanting to become a UU minister. It might also be useful to persons wanting to investigate UU religion more deeply. See: http://www.amazon.com/

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Full disclosure:

The author of this section and of most of the essays on this web site, B.A. Robinson, joined the First Unitarian Congregation of Toronto in 1954 and has considered his religious affiliation to be UU ever since, although he has been inactive for many decades.

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Latest update: 2013-SEP-03
Author: B.A. Robinson

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