About Unitarian Universalism

What Is Unitarian Universalism?

Unitarian Universalism is a liberal religion grounded in love and world community. We embrace a free and responsible search for truth and meaning and hold sacred the interdependent web of existence.

Formed in 1961 when Unitarianism and Universalism consolidated, Unitarian Universalism draws wisdom from the teachings of the world’s religions, human inspiration, and the understandings of science and reason. Originally, Unitarianism was the belief in one God, rather than a Triune God. Universalism was the doctrine of universal salvation.

Today, Unitarian Universalists hold many beliefs, while at the same time, sharing values. As the Unitarian Universalist Association says, “Unitarian Universalism reconnects, bringing people together with meaning and inspiration. We are a house without walls, a congregation without spiritual limits, and a movement that calls you to put more faith in yourself, your community, and your beliefs.” You can watch a video about Unitarian Universalism here.

What We Believe

Although Unitarian Universalists gain solace and wisdom from religious texts, they do not hold any one text to be infallible. Some Unitarian Universalists consider themselves atheist or Humanist. Most Unitarian Universalists today reject both the doctrine of the Trinity and a belief in Hell. Unitarian Universalists focus less on defining God or figuring out what happens after we die, and more on spiritual growth. We encourage beliefs that lead to compassionate action in the service of democracy and human rights.

While Unitarian Universalism has no creed, and there are no official theological teachings, we do have a list of Principles and Purposes. These note some of the things commonly agreed on by our members, including that each person is of value, that justice and compassion are important, that we will always be seekers, that world peace is vital, and that we are – on some level – one with all that exists.

Our Message

Worship at Unitarian Universalist churches is generally modeled after the standard Protestant format, including hymns, readings, and a sermon. Some congregations include a response time after the message.

Unitarianism traditionally focused on cerebral musings of the educated classes; Universalism focused on a message of love and grace. For this reason, while identifying as a Unitarian Universalist community, Universalist Recovery Church decided to adopt a name that spoke of universal salvation, acceptance, love, and grace. We speak that message and attempt to spread that truth. We strive to honor the wholeness that lies within our brokenness and to comfort anyone who seeks healing, growth, and recovery.

Universalist Voices

A Universalist preacher from the early 1800s, Hosea Ballou said about using Hell to secure obedience: “Religion which requires persecution to sustain, it is of the devil’s propagation.” About love, he said, “If we agree in love, there is no disagreement that can do us any injury, but if we do not, no other agreement can do us any good. Let us endeavor to keep the unity of the spirit in the bonds of peace.”

An earlier Universalist preacher, John Murray, said “Give them not Hell, but hope and courage. Do not push them deeper into their theological despair, but preach the kindness and everlasting love of God.” [1]

These are some of the values Universalist Recovery Church tries to live into the world. For more Universalist quotes, see “Universalist Quotations” from the Universalist convention in New York State.

  1. Dau, Karen E., ed., “Not Hell, But Hope: Writings from the Heritage of American Universalism,” New York State Convention of Universalists, 2013.