In Unitarian Universalism, you can bring your whole self: your full identity, your questioning mind, your expansive heart.
Together, we create a force more powerful than one person or one belief system. As Unitarian Universalists, we do not have to check our personal background and beliefs at the door: we join together on a journey that honors everywhere we’ve been before.
Our beliefs are diverse and inclusive. We have no shared creed. Our shared covenant (our seven Principles) supports “the free and responsible search for truth and meaning.” Though Unitarianism and Universalism were both liberal Christian traditions, this responsible search has led us to an inclusive spirituality drawn from six sources: from scriptural wisdom to personal experience to modern day heroes.
Unitarian Universalists believe more than one thing. We think for ourselves, and reflect together, about important questions:
The existence of a Higher Power
We are united in our broad and inclusive outlook, and in our values, as expressed in our seven Principles. We are united in shared experience: our open and stirring worship services, religious education, and rites of passage; our work for social justice; our quest to include the marginalized; our expressions of love.
Learn more about Unitarian Universalists from a variety of beliefs and backgrounds: Atheist/Agnostic, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Humanist, Jewish, Muslim, Pagan, and more.
Our Symbol: The Flaming Chalice
A flame within a chalice (a cup with a stem and foot) is a primary symbol of the Unitarian Universalist faith tradition. Many of our congregations kindle a flaming chalice in gatherings and worships and feature the chalice symbol prominently.
Hans Deutsch, an Austrian artist, first brought together the chalice and the flame as a Unitarian symbol during his work with the Unitarian Service Committee during World War II. To Deutsch, the image had connotations of sacrifice and love.
To Unitarian Universalists today the flaming chalice is a symbol of hope, the sacred, the quest for truth, the warmth of community, the light of reason, and more.
We light a flaming chalice in worship to create a reverent space for reflection, prayer, meditation, and singing.
A Brief History of Unitarian Universalism
Unitarian Universalism evolved from two strands of liberal Christianity. Unitarians emphasized the oneness of God and the teachings of Jesus, with less emphasis on his divinity and the meaning of his life and death. This movement was prominent in the first three centuries after Jesus’ death, but became heresy after the official adoption of the Trinitarian (God in three persons) position by the council of Nicea in 325 CE.
Unitarian theology surfaced throughout western history, most strongly in New England Congregational churches in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Many of the founders of this nation (Thomas Jefferson, John and Abigail Adams, and others) were Unitarians. Unitarians have been prominent in politics, social justice, the arts and sciences in the United States since that time (Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Clara Barton, Dorthea Dix, Adlai Stevenson, Linus Pauling, ee cummings, Theodor Geisel [Dr. Suess] and many others).
Universalism is the belief that the salvation offered by the life and death of Jesus is universal (universal reconciliation), available to believers and non-believers alike. This movement reached its peak in America in the late nineteenth century, and was the sixth largest denomination in the United States at the turn of the 20th century.
Both movements attracted skeptical persons of various beliefs who had failed to find supportive environments within creedal religions. The two organizations merged to form the Unitarian Universalist Association in 1961.