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Our faith gets its name from the merger in 1961 of two religious groups: the Unitarians and the Universalists. That’s a long name, so we call ourselves UUs. Today across North America there are more than 1,000 UU congregations serving 250,000 adults and children.
Unitarian Universalism evolved out of the Christian and Jewish traditions and we trace our denominational roots back to the Protestant Reformation. The Unitarian side of our faith evolved out of the notion that there is one God or one truth, though there may be many ways to see it; the truth behind the mystery of life unites us all. The Universalist side of our faith is as ancient as the first time someone proclaimed that all people have worth and dignity - that all deserve salvation.
In the United States we’ve been here since the nation’s founding. The democratic principles upon which our church is founded were an inspiration to our nation's founding fathers. We’re proud of our legacy of American Unitarians and Universalists including: John Adams and John Quincy Adams, Paul Revere, Clara Barton, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Susan B. Anthony, Frank Lloyd Wright; and more recently Paul Newman, Christopher Reeve, Kurt Vonnegut, Randy Pausch and Pete Seeger.
In Maryland, DC, and Northern Virginia Unitarian Universalists have been a prophetic liberal religious voice for over 200 years. Our oldest local churches include the First Unitarian Church of Baltimore, founded in 1817, and All Souls Church in Washington DC, founded in 1821, of which John Quincy Adams was a founding member. Our newest congregation is the UU Congregation of the Chesapeake in California, Maryland. It’s just 2 years young.
Each UU congregation is different – some have over 1,000 members, others less than 100.
Some preach a liberal Christian gospel; others embrace a more humanist theology.
You may find folks of many different religions – Buddhists, Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Pagans.
You may find folks with different beliefs in god - from theists to agnostics, even atheists.
You will find we embrace science and reason and see them as essential to a responsible spiritual life.
And we’re all worshipping together.
Sound improbable? Maybe so.
Quite amazing. Definitely delightful.
We’ve been around 500 years. We’re still here. More relevant than ever. Now, that’s cool.