Can you even imagine a religious community where you don’t have to check your background or beliefs at the door? Where a journeying community can honor the totality of your life and experience? It’s not a dream: Unitarians and Universalists have joyously welcomed a diverse group of searchers and seekers for centuries. We are people of many gender identities, races, incomes, sexual orientations, beliefs and backgrounds….human diversities are valued here.
We share stirring worship services, religious education, and collaborative work for social justice. Your whole self is welcome, with all your questions and doubts, curiosity, worries, and hopes. Unitarian Universalism is an extraordinary adventure of faith.
Unitarian Universalism keeps an open mind about the religious questions people have struggled with in all times and places. We believe that personal experience, conscience, and reason have as much authority as sacred books and precepts or religious institutions. Our religious roots span the globe, drawing on the liberal Protestant transition, eastern religions, earth based traditions, and more.
We are united in shared values and a commitment to grow love in the world. That means we don’t have a creed or statement of belief that members are required to sign or recite.
One way we express our shared values is in our Unitarian Universalist Association’s statement of 7 Principles. As the Rev. Barbara Wells ten Hove explains, “The Principles are not dogma or doctrine, but rather a guide for those of us who choose to participate in Unitarian Universalist communities.” This congregation has affirmed an 8th principle along with hundreds of other UU congregations. Our Principles state:
Since human experience and knowledge is always unfolding, Unitarian Universalists are in the process of revising the national level statement of values. This statement currently includes the first 7 principles listed above. The statement is in “Article II” of the Unitarian Universalist Association bylaws. The bylaws are a covenant about how the congregations commit to working together in service to our faith.
Adapting our core values to reflect the times we are in takes time and care. Beginning at the General Assembly (our annual conference and business meeting) in June 2017, delegates from UU congregations called for a commission to study and propose a new draft. You can find out more about the study commission and their work here.
At the General Assembly in 2024, delegates from all UU congregations will get to vote on the final proposed draft revision to this expression of shared values and commitments. You can read the draft revision here. The study commission has also provided a helpful list of FAQs here.
For nearly 70 years, members of the UUFA have tried to enact these principles in our congregation. We have been known for our firm commitment to social justice and human rights from the beginning. In the 1960s, members of our Fellowship led the University of Georgia faculty in supporting campus desegregation. Later, other members helped create the Clarke Community Federal Credit Union to serve the needs of lower-income people.
Not all this work has been outward. In 1995, we began our Care Ring program to support and strengthen the members of our fellowship. We have also been a safe space for members of the LGBTQI+ community for many years.
Newcomers visit and become involved in the life of this Fellowship for many reasons. Some come looking for a spiritual community guided by principles or values rather than dogma. Many who describe themselves as “spiritual but not religious” find UU congregations just what they’re seeking. Some come looking for a place to raise their children where they’ll be encouraged to follow their own spiritual or religious path and where all are welcome. Some come looking to form friendships with like-minded people. Some come looking for a place to direct their interest in social action and social justice. Whatever you’re looking for, we hope you’ll visit UUFA again and again.
Our congregation is funny, active, and unique. We sing and drum; we enjoy fourth Sunday lunches and host exceptional social events. We cook well, love to eat, raise children and guide dogs; enjoy baseball; travel; serve on local boards and non-profit organizations; and participate in local plays, music groups, schools, and political organizations.
Members and friends engage in a number of activities to fulfill the Vision and Mission of UUFA. We do this engagement while following the covenant that members have developed to guide their interactions with each other. We deepen our understanding of life and our place in the world through worship, learning, having fun, and serving our Fellowship and local communities. We aspire to live up to our high ideals and to live out our values each and every day. Our life together is guided by our congregational covenant.