What is Unitarian Universalism?
Unitarian Universalism is a religion that rather than revolving around shared belief, instead is centered on the promises that we make to one another to support each other’s spiritual journeys and to work to make the world better. We call our promises “covenant.”
As a congregation, we make a promise to other Unitarian Universalist congregations that we will uphold the same values they do. These are called our Seven Principles.
As individual members of Live Oak, we agree to this covenant:
We, the members of Live Oak Unitarian Universalist Church, affirm a welcoming, vibrant, caring community for all ages.
We embrace UU values, humor, and community growth on our shared spiritual journey.
We covenant with one another to create relationships that are inclusive, open-minded, sensitive, and celebrate the differences within our community.
We will accept, support and appreciate one another, keep our commitments, maintain healthy boundaries, and use constructive communication.
We will be accountable to one another in a helpful, non-judgmental, peaceful environment, with integrity, respect and love.
The Eight Principle
In December 2022, Live Oak Unitarian Universalist Church, along with hundreds of UU congregations around the country, voted to add an 8th principle to our existing principles:
We, the member congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Association, covenant to affirm and promote: journeying toward spiritual wholeness by working to build a diverse multicultural Beloved Community by our actions that accountably dismantle racism and other oppressions in ourselves and our institutions.
A proposal for this addition is expected to be voted on at the 2023 and 2024 General Assemblies of the Unitarian Universalist Association.
The history of UU
Unitarian Universalism is non-creedal, which means there’s no required doctrine you must profess in order to belong. We do have a rich and long history, and the writings and understandings of theology continue to influence us today. Theologian James Luther Adams summarized some of our key values in “The Five Smooth Stones of Liberal Religion”:
- “Religious liberalism depends on the principle that ‘revelation’ is continuous.” Our religious tradition is a living tradition because we are always learning new truths.
- “All relations between persons ought ideally to rest on mutual, free consent and not on coercion.” We freely choose to enter into relationship with one another.
- “Religious liberalism affirms the moral obligation to direct one’s effort toward the establishment of a just and loving community. It is this which makes the role of the prophet central and indispensable in liberalism.” Justice.
- “… [W]e deny the immaculate conception of virtue and affirm the necessity of social incarnation.” Agency: Good things don’t just happen, people make them happen.
- “[L]iberalism holds that the resources (divine and human) that are available for the achievement of meaningful change justify an attitude of ultimate optimism.” Hope.
from: “Guiding Principles for a Free Faith” in On Being Human Religiously: Selected Essays in Religion and Society, Max Stackhouse, ed. Beacon Press, 1976, pp. 12—20.
To learn more about Unitarian Universalism, visit the Unitarian Universalist Association website.
Continue scrolling to learn more about our 7 Principles and 6 Sources.
The UU Principles
We, the member congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA), covenant to affirm and promote:
- The inherent worth and dignity of all persons.
- Justice, equity and compassion in human relations.
- Acceptance of one another and mutual encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations.
- A free and responsible search for truth and meaning.
- The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large.
- The goal of world community with peace, liberty, & justice for all.
- Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.
The 6 UU Sources
The living tradition we share draws from many sources:
- Direct experience of that transcending mystery and wonder, affirmed in all cultures, which moves us to a renewal of the spirit and an openness to the forces which create and uphold life.
- Words and deeds of prophetic women and men which challenge us to confront powers and structures of evil with justice, compassion, and the transforming power of love.
- Wisdom from the world’s religions which inspires us in our ethical and spiritual life.
- Jewish and Christian teachings which call us to respond to God’s love by loving our neighbors as ourselves.
- Humanist teachings which counsel us to heed the guidance of reason and the results of science, and warn us against idolatries of the mind and spirit
- Spiritual teachings of Earth-centered traditions which celebrate the sacred circle of life and instruct us to live in harmony with the rhythms of nature.