What Is UU? Our Principles and Beliefs
“Love is the spirit of this Church, and service is its law. This is our Great Covenant:
To dwell together in peace, to seek the truth in love, and to help one another.”
— James Vila Blake
This statement, which we reaffirm at each Sunday service in South Strafford, says most succinctly what our Church is all about.
The flaming chalice is the best-known symbol of Unitarian Universalism. Lighting the chalice is part of every service.
The two faiths from which modern Unitarian Universalism developed were both heresies. Unitarians denied the Trinity and asserted the oneness of God. They believed in following Christ but not worshipping him. Universalists believed in a God of love. They denied Calvinism’s doctrines of original sin, damnation, and salvation by faith; everyone is forgiven by a loving God.
UU’s today are still heretics in one way or another! All cherish the right to follow their own spiritual path. Nevertheless, we share many values and commitments. Our congregation subscribes to the Unitarian Universalist Association’s Seven Principles:
We, the member congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Association, covenant to affirm and promote
• The inherent worth and dignity of every person;
• Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;
• Acceptance of one another and 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, and justice for all;
• Respect for the independent web of all existence, of which we are a part.
The living tradition which 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 inspire 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.