Three children were talking about their
"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!"
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
Beliefnet once posted the following disclaimer that seems applicable here
"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."
Unitarian Universalism is an unusual religious organization.
Unlike most faith groups in North America, it
does not require its members to adhere to a creed -- a specific set of beliefs. Its
membership includes individuals who identify themselves as
Buddhists, Christians, Deists, Secular Humanists, Wiccans, Theists, Duotheists, Polytheists, or other belief system. They were usually raised as children in a different religion or in none.
Many inter-faith couples
find a UU congregation to be a comfortable religious home in which both spouses can gain spiritual nourishment without bending their religious beliefs out of shape.
UUs view the main
function of the congregation as facilitating the spiritual quest of its members. The main function of a UU minister is not to tell the members of the congregation what to believe. Rather, it is to help them develop their own personal religious beliefs, and ethical system.
Major concerns of
the UU religion include social justice and service to humanity. Most UUs readily
modify their beliefs to match emerging findings of scientific research. Thus, they were very active in
the abolition of slavery back in the 19th Century. More recently, they have actively working towards achieving equal rights for women, the attainment
of equal rights -- including the right to marry -- for
homosexuals and bisexuals, and the acceptance of transgender persons. They have an influence on
the culture that is far beyond what one would expect from their number of members, which total about 200,000 in the U.S.
A Brief history of Unitarian Universalism in the United States:
The North Shore Unitarian Church (NSUC) posted this two-minute video on You Tube.
"Welcome, a Unitarian Universalist Primer," edited by Patricia Frevert, and published by Skinner House Books in Boston, MA
Its introduction states:
"This small book welcomes you to Unitarian Universalism and tells you something about our faith. No piece of writing can capture how Unitarian Universalism is lived in the world: the congregations, the ministers, the community action, the music, the children. Nevertheless, we hope this will give you a taste of our worship, history, theology, and practice. The words on these pages are meant to open the door, and ask you in.
Some Unitarian and Unitarian Universalist web sites:
The 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.
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 hundreds of mailing lists hosted by the UUA. Their functions range from providing announcements of activities to discussions on various topics. See: http://www.uua.org/
Other books about Unitarian Universalism:
Meg Riley, editor, "Testimony: The Transformative Power of Unitarian Universalism," Skinner House Books, (2017). Meg Riley is the Senior Minister at the "Church of the Larger Fellowship." This is a "congregation without walls," with more than 3,500 members around the world who do not live near a UU congregation. The book sells for $7.83 in Kindle format, and $14.00 in Paperback. Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store. Full disclosure: The author of this essay wrote one of the short essays contained in the book.
"UU World: the Journey is the Joy:" This is a special "seeker issue" of the UU magazine which is intended to introduce people to the faith. The 32-page magazine is an anthology of articles and photographs, organized in four sections: Who We Are, What We Believe, How We Gather, and What We Do. It is available in packs of 10 or 25. See: http://www.uuabookstore.org/
Amazon.com has a free app available that you can use to read books in Kindle format on your PC, Mac computer, or most tablets. See: https://www.amazon.com/
Kindle books are often cheaper than paperback or hardcover. They don't use bookshelves. You can download hundreds of books and carry them around on a tablet.
Resources about UUs on the Internet:
The chalice symbol aat the left side of this essay's title was supplied by
Steve Brindenbaugh. It was horiontally reversed from the right side image.
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 the faith more deeply. See:
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 and actively volunteered at the Kingston Unitarian Fellowship in Kingston, ON, Canada during the 1960's and later. He has considered his religious affiliation to be UU ever since, although he has been inactive in the church for decades.