Tell me about Unitarian Universalists

A couple years ago I was church shopping. I knew my sister had gone to a unitarian church for awhile and asked her about it. She said it was like a group therapy session. I went to one, one time. She was right. There were no sermons, no prayers, no hymns, not even a mention of God. Just several folks getting up in front and talking about themselves. I felt I needed a spiritual connection and there was none there for me. Today, my s.o.,
who hasn’t been to church since he was a child, says he discovered the neatest church - a unitarian universalist down the road - he liked the architecture of the building. He hadn’t gone in, just drove around it. Then he says, we ought to go to Christmas eve services there. I told him I’d been to it and my impressions. Now, I’d love to get this guy into a church, but I’m thinking he’ll come away from it with nothing, as I did. Besides, I don’t even know if they have Christmas eve services, since I’d heard nothing at the one service about Christ. Did I give up on it too soon? Is there more to this “religion” than I got out of that one service?

It’s true that several U.U. churches are very much like large support groups. However, there are several which are very spiritual. It basically just depends on the people who attend. The congregation sets the atmosphere of the church.

I have been to a U.U. church that does discuss Christ and it was very spiritual. I have also been to one that did not discuss Christ, they were more pagan, and it was also very spiritual.

The general idea behind the U.U. religion is that there are no wrong religious paths, everyone is accepted. I think you just need to find one that leans more toward your base beliefs. See if there is another one in your area.

The margarine of evil

I’ve been a UU since 1993. The services can be very diverse, depending on the the part of the country you’re in, the individual church, and even the given Sunday you’re there. As a general rule, I would dare say you’ll find more traditional Protestant-style services in the East Coast churches, but again that’s me overgeneralizing. If you’d like more data about the religion itself (and yes, it is a real religion with real beliefs) you can visit this url:

And as far as finding a church that “fits” you, your best bet is just to attend one or several services at the UU churches in your area.

Good luck!


Leslie Irish Evans

UU is pretty much what it says, it accepts everyone & anyone.

I go church hopping a lot.

“The Oxford History of the American People” P. 61 gives a nice not-too-long paragraph that might be helpful:

Puritanism was essentially and primarily a religious movement…it was a passion for righteousness; the desire to know and do God’s well. Similar movements have occurred in every branch of Christianity, as well as in Judaism. Puritanism was responsible for the settlement of New England; and as the Congregational, Presbyterian, Methodist, Baptist, Unitarian, Quaker and other Portestant sects of the United States are offshoots of the seventeenth-century English and Scottish Puritanism…precursors of what is commonly called the Protestant Ethic.

When I first read it I wondered if one might be comfortable in **any</g> of the mentioned churches because they are all offshoots of
Puritanism. Looking at the list again - well, there are probably still great differences between these groups.

Maybe Congregational,and Presbyterian churches have stayed more traditional if Unitarian seems too extreme.

The Congregational churches have been renamed Church of Christ - several years ago, I think.

We probably all know couples who decided to marry and then pick out a church as a compromise to the ones in which they were raise. The ones I personally know of are still doing well after 4-6 years. It’s committment.

Oh, I’m gonna keep using these #%@&* codes 'til I get 'em right.


The passage you’ve shown highlights the origins of American Unitarianism. The faith actually has roots that go much farther back:

As I explain it to people, “Unitarian as opposed to Trinitarian…” God is one…not three.


Leslie Irish Evans

Leslie, Thanks! Were there Unitarian Churches in other countries before the American Unitarian Churces? Or did it physically start here?

I’m sure that Methodism started in England and the preachers came to Canada and ME and then down the Eastern Coast of the US.

Quakers started in the US?
Baptists started in England, too?

Presbys were Scottish?
And, does that quote mean that the decisions of the famous Council of Nicaea in [the year] 325 agreed that:
“Unitarian as opposed to Trinitarian…” God is one…not three.

Yikes! Too many questions!

Oh, I’m gonna keep using these #%@&* codes 'til I get 'em right.

Oops, I think I placed that quote out of context. The Council of Nicea came up with the concept of the Trinity (The Father, The Son, and the Holy Spirit) and it’s from there we get the Nicene Creed (I believe in God the Father…yadda yadda yadda). It is with that doctrine that many Unitarians place the start of Unitarianism (Hey, we don’t believe that. We think there is only ONE god, not THREE). Does that make sense? I may soon, if not already, be in over my head here, theologically speaking.

Yes, there were Unitarian churches in Europe long before they appeared in America.

Michael Servetus, while not necessarily a Unitarian (because the word didn’t exist then) wrote a book in 1531 called “On the Errors of the Trinity”. He was burned at the stake in 1553 in Geneva.

Faustus Socinus, born in 1539, was the leader of the Polish Socinian movement, which stressed logic, reason, and inquiry over church Dogma. He is also claimed as a Unitarian forbearer.

Ferenz David (known as Francis David in the West) founded many Unitarian churches in Transylvania that are still active to this day. (In fact, many UU churches in the U.S. have “sister church” ties to the Unitarian churches in Romania, they offer financial support as most of these churches are dirt poor.)

There was even a Unitarian King! In 1568 King John Sigismund proclaimed the earliest edict of complete religious toleration.

Then there’s a whole line of English Unitarianism that dates back to the 1550’s.

By way of full disclosure, I must point out that I’ve gleaned all this information from THE UNITARIAN UNIVERSALIST POCKET GUIDE pub. 1993 by Skinner House Books. It was edited by the Rev. William Schulz (a Unitarian-Universalist minister who is currently serving as the Executive Director for Amnesty International USA) it’s a handy little book that summarizes Unitarian Universalism very nicely.

Leslie Irish Evans

Does that make sense?

Yes, it did to me.

I had no idea that UU went back to Europe. Or the “…a whole line of English Unitarianism that dates back to the 1550’s.”


Oh, I’m gonna keep using these #%@&* codes 'til I get 'em right.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but UU (Unitarian-Universalism) only goes back to 1961. Before then they were two separate faiths (Unitarian and Universalist). In other parts of the world (and even in a few select spots in the U.S.) the two religions are still separate.


Jois, the “Universalist” in Unitarian Universalist refers to the concept of universal salvation. The Universalists believed that all souls went to heaven, at least eventually (as opposed to the Calvinist-type religions, who believed that only the elect got in). There are some theological fine points that I’m missing (it’s been a while since the Introduction to UU Theology class at church), but you get the idea.

Also, the Quakers got their start in England. I don’t remember the details, though. The Congregationalist tradition was descended from the Puritans. BTW, the United Church of Christ and the Congregationalists are not the same, although the Congregationalists are more common in New England, and the UCC’s are more common elsewhere.

Never attribute to malice anything that can be attributed to stupidity.
– Unknown

Also, the Unitarian Church in the U.S. split off from the Congregational Church. The split was formalized in the early 1800’s. William Ellery Channing, a Unitarian minister, delivered a sermon that outlines, very clearly, the theological underpinnings of Unitarianism. This was in 1812, I think. Girl Next Door, can you confirm this? I left my UU Pocket Guide in my other bag.

Thanks, Catinhat!

The Universalists::Calvinist is good to know, and the joining of U & U is news to me, I think I just filed that away as the “formal” name for the Unitarians.

I remember being told that the Congregationalist Church had changed its name
maybe 7-8 years ago? Do you know what they changed it to?

Oh, I’m gonna keep using these #%@&* codes 'til I get 'em right.

I used to joke with a U.U. friend of mine about Unitarian Fascism…

"All will follow the one true way…

…unless you don’t feel like it."

Early Quaker history - England

William Ellery Channing delivered his Baltimore sermon (a landmark statement of Unitarian Principles) in 1819.

In 1825, the American Unitarian Association was organized.

UU Joke:

Did you know I used to ride with the Unitarian KKK?

We burned question marks on people’s front lawns.



Leslie Irish Evans

Thank you! Good info for me and I liked the jokes. too. Jois

Thank you everyone – this has been fascinating reading! You’ve helped me understand the UU a little better, so I won’t give up on them yet. I’ll have to explore more of the UU churches around here.

Well, the last time I was in Massachusetts(about 2 years ago) there were still Congregationalist Churches all over the place. You may be thinking of a different denomination. Or maybe they changed their name in another part of the country. Some of them might be “independent”, too.

Never attribute to malice anything that can be attributed to stupidity.
– Unknown