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American Unitarian Conference

Green Gaia

Veteran Member
While not a subset of UUs, is often confused with UUism, so I thought I'd put a link to it here so that the confusion can be cleared up.


About the American Unitarian Conference

The crucible of freedom and reason that fostered the American revolution also opened the door to new movements in religious thought. One of those movements was Unitarianism, which grew out of Congregationalism in New England and the Unitarian tradition in England, Hungary, and elsewhere in Europe. The American Unitarian Association (AUA) was created in 1825, giving form to the burgeoning Unitarian faith in North America. Thomas Jefferson had seen the Unitarian potential when he wrote "I trust that there is not a young man now living in the United States who will not die a Unitarian." Although Jefferson proved unduly optimistic, the AUA quickly became one of the most prominent religious groups in the United States.

The AUA -- for most of its life -- was an organization dedicated to promoting a tolerant religious faith that saw reason and a belief in God as congruent rather than hostile. It saw the Unitarian faith as squarely within the Western religious tradition. Modern thought, knowledge, and other faith traditions were not automatically rejected, as other religions insisted be done. Rather those modern ideas and the beliefs they challenged were to be tested through reason and debate, allowing the truth to come forth as a faith that could embrace both the wisdom of the past and new knowledge. Thus illuminated, religious faith would shine steadily and brightly in even the strongest storm.

In more recent years, various movements within the AUA, many not even religious in character, caused the association to depart from its historic traditions to the point that it would hardly be recognizable to its founders. The AUA was disbanded in 1961 when it merged with the Universalist Church of America, creating a new organization called the Unitarian Universalist Association.

The American Unitarian faith tradition was reborn in the year 2000 as the American Unitarian Conference, dedicated to a renewal of the historic Unitarian faith.

The new AUC holds that the traditional Unitarian faith is uniquely suited for modern men and women seeking to grapple with the difficulties of applying religious faith to modern life. Classical Unitarian thinking offers a religious faith and language that neither requires its adherents to jettison modern science, nor to accept beliefs that they cannot rationally accept. Yet it is a religious faith, not just a philosophy, and draws sustenance and life from the Western religious tradition. The new AUC is not so vain or arrogant as to think that all that has been done before us is of little or no value and that religious truths need to be entirely rediscovered with each new generation. Our Unitarianism is anchored in the hard-won wisdom and understanding of those that went before us without remaining stagnant. We believe that the Unitarian tradition is unique in this respect and the AUC aims to make that tradition vibrant and alive once again.

It will take a tremendous amount of work to rebuild Unitarianism into a movement that can fulfill its promise, yet at the same time this effort promises to be an exciting adventure. We invite you to join us and help us build a Unitarianism that will bring us intellectual and spiritual sustenance, a Unitarianism that will offer an anchor in an increasingly chaotic world, a Unitarianism that offers much more than tired formulas and dogmatic creeds, a Unitarianism that we can be proud to bequeath to our children.

Religious Principles

1. God's presence is made known in a myriad of ways. Religion should promote a free and responsible search for truth, meaning, communion and love.

2. Reason is a gift from God. Religion should embrace reason and its progeny, including the scientific enterprise which explores God's creation.

3. Free will is a gift from God. Religion should assist in the effort to find a path that exercises that gift in a responsible, constructive and ethical manner.

4. Conscious of the complexity of creation, of the limits of human understanding and of humanity's capacity for evil in the name of religion, we hold that humility, religious tolerance and freedom of conscience should be a central part of any religious experience.

5. Religious experience is most fulfilling in the context of a tradition. Our religious tradition is the Unitarian tradition, which emphasizes the importance of reason in religion, tolerance and the unity of God.

6. Revelation is ongoing. Religion should draw inspiration not only from its own tradition but from other religious traditions, philosophy and the arts. Although paying due regard for the hard lessons learned in the past and to the importance of religious tradition, religion should not be stagnant but should employ reason and religious experience to evolve in a constructive, enlightened and fulfilling way.

7. Conscious of the spiritual and material needs of our fellow men and women, the evil they may be subjected to and the tragedies they may endure, works of mercy and compassion should be a part of any religious experience.



Seeker of Knowledge
Here in England I know many Unitarian Christians who generally regard themselves to be in fellowship with the UUs, but feel that the UUs have strayed too far from our cultural Christian roots, so many of us call ourselves Unitarian Christians and Universalists, but not Unitarian Universalists, even though we follow the UU principles as well as the Unitarian Christian principles, which are very similar and coincide on most points.