9 The Unitarian Universalist Church

Is there a head of the church?

In the traditional sense there is no individual who rules over UUs. We do elect a president of the UUA to manage the organization, to represent the UUA in the religious world and to provide a general sense of direction to its members.

If most UUs do not believe in a personal God, why are the congregations called churches?

The term God is meaningful for many of us, but we have no creed that defines this belief. Since many of our congregations were founded when Unitarianism and Universalism were liberal Christian religions, they were called churches at the time of their forming. Most still use the designation in a broader, more inclusive sense. "Church" however is not the only term used to identify a UU congregation; some are called fellowships, others societies.

Do congregations reflect America's social and racial diversity?

The process of breaking through certain demographic barriers is one of the greatest challenges to contemporary UUs. While professing to include all people, we remain a largely white, college-educated, reasonably affluent denomination. Although some of our congregations reflect a strong racial and ethnic mix, they are the exception. This is an issue with which we continue to struggle.

Do positions of leadership in UU congregations and in the UUA reflect or favor a particular religious background?

No. The leadership of a particular congregation will most likely reflect the religious makeup of that congregation, be it humanist, theist or Christian. There is no religious test for leadership positions in the UUA, only that the person be qualified for the position and have a commitment to liberal religion.

What do members do to reach out to organizations and groups in their community?

UUs have a reputation for being involved in community and civic groups and often serve on boards of human service organizations. Many churches offer their facilities to area groups who seek meeting space, such as recovery groups, community workshops and support groups.

What do children learn and study in Sunday School?

The goal of our religious program is to provide children and young people with knowledge and experiences which will help them make informed choices about their religious life as they approach adulthood.

Major goals are to teach respect for oneself and for others, appreciation of the teachings of world religious traditions, concern for social justice, and respect for our planet Earth.

Visiting other churches, they learn what various religions teach about some of life's great questions in a way appropriate for their age level.

Programs are age-appropriate from preschool through high school. For example, we have a much acclaimed "Our Whole Lives" course for boys and girls of junior high age.

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