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Unitarian Universalist Meeting House

A Place for All in Central Maine

The Dream Labs

Quality of Life Found in Third Spaces 

Submitted by Holly Zadra, Council Moderator

 

There’s a common mantra repeated in Maine’s rural places about the need for jobs and young people. But there’s a subtler, yet equally important need in these struggling towns: quality of life and the creative, cultural economy that arises when public aesthetics meet private need. “Relatively young people (aged 18 to 50) are not only highly educated but also mobile and attracted to environments that have few problems, tolerate “bohemians,” and provide opportunities for leisure and amenities consistent with a high quality of life.” Third places — those that foster community and communication among people outside of home and work — offer a kind of psychological balm that attracts and keeps young people and entrepreneurs in a given location. Effectively, third places weave a community together through supporting the kind of life we work for while also coalescing people outside the confines of their own living spaces. 

In June 2018, community partners invested in the future of rural Maine crossed a boundary traditionally associated with worship and denomination. They entered the space of an old, historic church building at the center of a rural village in Central Maine for a two-day community listening project, the “Dream Labs.” The aim was to identify community needs and explore how the spaces of the beautiful building could be used to meet those needs. 

Beneath high ceilings, surrounded by 19th century woodwork and stained glass, people from diverse backgrounds and places came together to dream the possibilities for sustaining the building as a third space, that is, a community living room; a home away from home, work, or school; a place where like-hearted people can come together with different minds. Participants honed in on the needs within their rural communities and the region and began the process of uniting people in a project aimed at supporting the spirit of community and revitalizing the building that holds the space for community groups.

The Pittsfield Unitarian Universalist Meeting House (UUMH) serves as a church building on Sundays for three hours and hosts (and rents space for) intermittent celebrations, weddings, and funerals within its domed, mural-adorned sanctuary. Local, community suppers are held in its large, working kitchen and dining hall; public workshops, musical and theatre performances, and dances occur within the auditorium and stage space. Meeting House space is available for civic groups, school programs, and clubs large and small. A community choir meets there as does a ukulele group. Two mornings each week, adjudicated supervised child-parent visits occur. And each and every Friday, the Welcome Table serves a home-cooked, free lunch open to all. It is a place where civic dialogue as well as arts and cultural events happen — something of a lifeline for this small, rural community.

Over the course of the two-day project, participants in the Dream Labs focused on increasing use of the space while also meeting unmet needs. People from various sectors brought their ideas and conundrums to the table to take the first steps toward a more formal, collaborative, co-created community space — an apolitical, non-faith-based offering to the community from Pittsfield’s UU faith group. Attendees included administration and staff of the local school system MSAD 53, representatives from the Pittsfield Public Library, local small business owners, retirees including a former teacher, a woodworker, counselor, an occupational therapist, and psychiatrist, other curious faith groups from rural churches, recent Maine Central Institute (MCI) high school graduates, an architect from nearby Waterville, LGBTQIA folks, the Meeting House Council, and an EpSCOR* (Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (of the National Science Foundation)) Nordic Culture House researcher and community-building aficionado Holly Truitt of Missoula, MT, who facilitated. 

Though Town Council reps did not attend, a Meeting House representative presented ideas and outcomes at two Pittsfield Town Council Meetings both to engage Town leadership and maintain transparency about what’s happening and how it can benefit everyone. Another hope? To engage the help of Pittsfield’s biggest employer and East Coast construction giant Cianbro in assisting with some of the bricks-and-mortar needs of the architectural beauty in critical need of perimeter foundation drainage and waterproofing.

*The National Science Foundation EPSCoR (Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research) is testing the Co-Creation model, that of collectives in rural states doing transformative, process-based, cross-sector work. Maine is one of the rural focus states.

What Emerged? 

A few key themes emerged over the course of two days of Dream Labs (in the spirit of collaborative transparency, exact, unfiltered words of our participants are available upon request). Here’s what was on people’s minds and in their hearts:

  • Hold space for a youth-dreamt, youth-led space that is inclusive, safe, and relaxing with robust internet, charging stations, youth-run activities and good food;
  • Offer an anchor to the community for both celebration and unimaginable events for those in need of shelter and community support;
  • Foster creative and cultural pursuits for all ages through various means including lending trunks; extending the endeavors and available space for Pittsfield Public Library and Maine Humanities programs;
  • Use food and cooking to grow resilience among those experiencing food insecurity and/or social isolation;
  • Nurture intergenerational connections that pair senior citizens with pre-school children and high school students with elementary students, etc. 
  • Integrate MCI boarding students into the fabric of Pittsfield community life. 

A Model Worth Replicating

One successful model already at work inside the Meeting House is the Welcome Table.

The Welcome Table was originally conceived of by a group from UUMH as a place for people to come to get out of the cold. In late 2008, when oil was near $4 per gallon, simply staying warm through the winter was a daunting task for many. They decided that their heated, handicapped-accessible downstairs dining area with its large kitchen could help. 

The enthusiastic response made UUMH organizers realize that if they were to offer a weekly free lunch, they wouldn’t be doing it alone. People in the community from many denominations, businesses, and civic organizations were willing and eager to work.

The Welcome Table opened its doors on January 9, 2009, and since then it has been open every Friday, including holidays like Christmas and New Years Day, closing only for inclement weather. In the 9 years of operation, approximately 18,000 meals have been served.

Although based at the Meeting House, the Welcome Table has always been bigger than that one church. The administrative team includes Meeting House members as well as several folks not affiliated. Different churches, local businesses, civic groups, as well as families, clubs, and student groups volunteer to prepare and clean up after each week’s lunch. 

The Welcome Table is one replicable model of what is possible inside the Meeting House. It is an organization that lives in the building and provides service, but it is controlled from without by local businesses, civic groups, students, and churches. Currently, the Welcome Table is exploring how it can expand its services to include cooking and nutrition educational workshops with the local hospital.

Next Steps

One key principle evolving from the Dream Labs is the notion that young people, with a little guidance and training, can conceive of, lead, and create their own answers to the conundrums they, themselves, experience in Pittsfield and this rural Central Maine region. The Meeting House, therefore, doesn’t offer answers and solutions, rather, it are holds the space for those answers and solutions to emerge. To that end, several Dream Lab attendees expressed interest and committed to assisting in the creation of a youth caucus, a gathering of young people ages 14-25 who might undertake their own version of the June Dream Labs. This endeavor will occur in Winter 2018/2019, dates TBD.

Concurrently, the Meeting House building itself is in need of capital improvements to the historic building. To that end, the UUMH contracted Ames Associates, LLC of Bangor, ME, to draft an Historic Structures Assessment for the whole building. This comprehensive road map of care for the community building includes a prioritization schedule that lays out the order in which capital improvements should occur. As step two in the restoration and renovation process, UUMH has begun seeking grant aid specifically for Architectural/Engineering documents and water remediation.

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Inaugural Event: Your Big Ideas Begin

April 17, 2018

Last fall, members of the “First Universalist Church” of Pittsfield unanimously changed the name to “Unitarian Universalist Meeting House” (UUMH), both a contemporary upgrade and also a nod to its history: the 1857 “East Pittsfield Union Meeting House” became, in 1867, the “First Universalist Meeting House Society.” In part, the 2017 name change was one means of broadening how the historic building is used, or, depending upon your outlook, returning to how it was once used by a broad sector of the public. “Fostering civic dialogue” was a more specific goal that came from several visioning sessions that preceded the name change. Put another way, to foster community — while also sustaining the historic building in need of restoration — UUMH offers the building as a sheltering space for Central Mainers including Pittsfield, Newport, Detroit, Burnham, Canaan, St. Albans, Palmyra, Hartland, and beyond.

    But changing public perception about how an institution works is no easy task. UUMH has sponsored several secular and non-denominational public events, concerts, workshops, and forums. The intent is to open the space to the at-large public limited only by the parameters that the use of the building aligns with the 7 Principles of Unitarian Universalism, a broad vision upon which most people of most backgrounds agree.

    To that end, on Saturday evening, March 31, UUMH launched the first in a perhaps 10-year series of events devoted to reimagining the way “church” looks and functions in this rural Central Maine region while also strengthening the underlying commitment to hold space for people who initiate critical conversations about our communities and the world. 

    For the past year, UUMH has focused intently, as has the UUA, on addressing institutional racism. To that end, the inaugural event featured Warsaw 8th grade social justice art, Robert Shetterly famous for his portrait series “Americans Who Tell the Truth,” and Penobscot Attorney and Indigenous Rights Activist Sherri Mitchell.

    Shetterly spoke to the power of art, to courage, and the process he and the 8th grade Warsaw students engaged in together as they researched the International Declaration of Human Rights - another quasi-expeditionary brain child of Warsaw Middle School  Humanities Teacher Caitlin Hutt and Science Teacher Autumn Pepin. Shetterly displayed several of his portraits and spoke specifically about his choice to paint Sherri Mitchell.

    Then Sherri Mitchell read from her book Sacred Instructions: Indigenous Wisdom for Living Spirit-Based Change and offered listeners a path out of our contemporary socio-cultural imbalance and a glimpse into the wisdom of a woman whose family has lived here for 13,000 years. Mitchell infused each reading with extemporaneous speech devoted to broaching the Wabanaki worldview with that of the Central Maine public and reminding listeners of the initial relationship between the two cultures as recorded in the Phips Bounty Proclamation. A brief explanation follows:

"...In 1755, Spencer Phips, lieutenant governor of the Province of Massachusetts Bay, issued a proclamation that declared the Penobscot people enemies, rebels, and traitors to King George II, and called on all “his Majesty’s Subjects of this Province to Embrace all opportunities of pursuing, captivating, killing, and Destroying all and every of the aforesaid Indians.” Penobscot are part of the Wabanaki Confederacy. The Phips Proclamation promised a bounty to be paid by the colonial government for every Penobscot Indian captured and brought to Boston. Bounty hunters were paid 50 pounds for living captive Penobscot males 12 years and older, 40 pounds for the scalps of dead Penobscot males age 12 and over, 25 pounds for the scalps of women, and 20 pounds for the scalps of children under the age of 12. The average annual salary of a teacher during this period was between 60 – 120 pounds. Wiscasset was in the District of Maine, which together with parts of New Hampshire and Nova Scotia, were located in the Province of Massachusetts Bay..."

    Though not surprising, it is worth recognizing what Sherri Mitchell told the audience: that one of the many beneficiaries of the US sanctioned violence was a Unitarian minister who collected pay as a middleman brokering the scalps of men, women, and children.

Now, the Penobscot have taken ownership of that document and used it as a tool for decolonization (click here for more). As Sherri Mitchell noted, the fact of her speech made public under the UU roof is in and of itself an action that represents the beginning of both reconciliation and a great shift in consciousness that we are all able to achieve should we relearn our histories, acknowledge our ancestors, and act with responsibility for future generations.

    UUMH has purchased a Sherri Mitchell print, the first in what UUMH hopes to be many for the auditorium that will balance the iconography of breathtaking sanctuary  and its triptych drapery glass and Harry Cochrane murals, all late-19th Century interpretations of Christianity in mostly male and all white ways.

    Because the spirituality of Unitarian Universalism is broad  and far-ranging like that of the public, UUMH hopes to foster imagery in its community auditorium and events reflective of a diverse  range of genders, races, religions, philosophies, and backgrounds. 

    UUMH will sponsor a Community Visioning Session Friday and Saturday, June 15 & 16 funded in part by the National Science Foundation. On Friday, we’ll explore the Swedish Culture House model — AKA co-creation model — where like-hearted, different-minded organizations come together in recognition that if we all do little we can make mighty change. Then Saturday morning, a Design Sprint will help us envision the community hub we might be together.

Then we’ll eat lunch.

Submitted by Holly Zadra, Council Moderator

 

Testing Our Faith (with a nod to Madeleine L'Engle)

The onslaught of tragic events both in world news and in our own Central Maine communities could paralyze a person with fear and anger — understandable emotional reactions that, when experienced in isolation, fuel a mentality of divide and conquer, encourage a hysteria for increased militarization, or bolster support for extremist positions that might otherwise remain marginal. One need only examine the dynamics of personal relationship to know that this can be true.

    In times like these, the basic tenets of our faith are tested. How we choose to respond to any particular event might well be the clearest indication of who we are both as individuals self-reflective enough to scrutinize our own instinctual reactions, but also as members of a community struggling toward a more perfect union, a more peaceful tomorrow. 

    I recently began reading the Madelaine L’Engle series that begins with A Wrinkle in Time to my 6-year-old. (The1962 book has enjoyed a resurgence in popularity with production of a major motion picture out in March.) In A Wind in the Door, we enter the fictional world of farandolae that exist within mitochondria, the very real, but microscopic organelles referred to as the powerhouses of eukaryotic cells. Tiny things. Things that require a light microscope to be seen. 

    And in this beautiful story, it is the farandolae within one mitochondrion in one cell of one very ill little boy on which the balance of the entire universe rests. 

    Reading these inspiring books raised the hairs on my neck; concepts affected my dreams. Madeleine L’Engle, RIP, posits that if something microscopic affects the whole of a system, then, the individual act — one’s response and culminating action — affects the system in which that individual lives: the community. If what our mitochondria do within our bodies matters to human health, if what the network of mycorrhizal fungi do within the soil matters to the plants, then the way I treat my neighbor, or the language with which I choose to communicate, or my livelihood, or my willingness to engage in the hard work of social justice — all of these things matter. Their relative size or impact is not what makes the difference; rather, the spirit with which they are performed does.

    This book of science fiction reminds me of the “faith” we have in even the smallest acts of agape love. Hope comes from the recognition that what you or I do matters. What our mitochondria do matters. And our responses to the events of our lives and the wider world matter. We must use our minds before we act. We must be courageous and humble. We must act with love as the guiding force, using all our resources — physical, economic, mental, and moral — to alleviate the pain and suffering that seems to characterize too much of our current circumstances.

    And if we do that, perhaps we will come up with the answers to the most troubling questions of our time and perhaps even rediscover hope, the foundation to creating a better tomorrow.

 

Holly Zadra

Council Moderator

For Lack of a Settled Minister… Reflections on Where We Are Now

Recently, a post from the Wildwood Path popped up in my Facebook feed. It read, "It is difficult to stand forth in one's growing, if one is not permitted to live through the stages of one's unripeness, clumsiness, unreadiness, as well as one's grace and aptitude. Love provides a continuous environment for the revelation of one's self, so that one can yield to life without fear and embarrassment.” 

 

The Wildwood Path is a women's and/or trans learning journey in wilderness skills, nature connection, and earth-based ceremony in Unity, Maine, conceived by Trevanna Grenfell who co-facilitated October’s “Liberating Language” workshop. 

 

The sentiment comes from M.C. Richards’s book Centering In Pottery, Poetry and the Person and continues… “This is why love is in the strictest sense necessary. It must be present in order for life to happen freely. It is the other face of freedom. Freedom is the act of initiative by which a unique human will create a new substance. Love is the experience of union.”

 

The sentiment is both humbling and stimulating. Humbling because we — both we, our community, and we, individuals together — are unripe, clumsy, and unready. And stimulating because we are also full of grace, aptitude, and love — the elements necessary for union. We continually experience the “both/and” as we navigate the possibilities for our community and the space that we inhabit, as we work together in council, communicate member to member, friend to friend, or coordinate, cook, and serve a local supper.

 

An ongoing tension exists about our “lack” of a settled minister. The sentiment is just that: that we lack. On the one hand, the thinking goes, a settled minister would be that cohesive force and the centering person to bring the meeting house community into its full potential. On the other hand, precisely because we do not have a minister, we must reach out to the community ourselves, continue to do the work, and to bring in other groups, other organizations and other like-minded individuals whose missions overlap with ours — the place where our venn diagrams overlap, so to speak. That, to me, is creative, expansive work that has only just begun, that I hope will continue and begin to flourish.

 

There is no single thing, person, or act that will magically transform rural churches in the 21st century. But I will argue that there is a singular element that will always be necessary: people working together.

 

I’ve said it before and I still feel the same way: we are not lacking. Rather, we have a tremendous opportunity to expand the possibilities of what we do at the meeting house, including what happens at Sunday services. Sundays can be traditional services with hymns, readings, and a sermon as performed by an ordained minister who’s studied divinity. But it can also be an open forum where community leaders give voice to their spiritual autobiographies, personal journeys, and contemporary challenges and in so doing catalyze understanding and unity in a socio-political context that would have us divided and fearful and alone. Sunday also offers us the chance to go out into the community and make a difference — feeding the homebound, picking up garbage, spreading pollinator-friendly wildflower seeds — and doing so together.

 

We have, too, the opportunity to expand the meaning and the use of that space we inhabit. How does “meeting house” diminish the limitations imposed by “church” to include new possibilities for what can happen, and with whom, and for what purpose?

 

We are but links in a long, historic chain of people that made this place possible. How can we sow here and now a vibrant future for those who we do not yet even know?

 

We have so much. How will we leverage our resources to make the greatest impact? The best change? The most inclusive community?

 

Holly Zadra

Council Moderator

What We Call Ourselves Now

 

On Sunday, October 1, 2017 at the Annual Meeting of the First Universalist Church of Pittsfield, members voted unanimously in support of a Formal Resolution to Change Name, changing the name of our congregation to “Unitarian Universalist Meeting House”. The text of the resolution follows:

Because we are affiliated with the Unitarian Universalist Association, have been since 1963, and pay full share dues each year; and

 

Because we consider our congregation a safe and welcoming space for Sunday services and community-centered activities and events including but not limited to the Welcome Table, the Mid-Maine Community Forum, Central Maine Action Group and other community groups, cultural events, and meetings; and

 

Because the name “Meeting House” has historical significance: The “East Pittsfield Union Meeting House” was the site’s non-denominational meeting house in 1857 and “First Universalist Meeting House Society” was established in 1867; and

 

WHEREAS current members met and discussed the idea of name change, collaboratively proposed options, and publicized the options over the course of several months, followed by a congregational vote in which no votes were cast to keep the current name and an overwhelming majority voted to change the name to “Unitarian Universalist Meeting House;” and 

 

WHEREAS the space has regional significance as a gathering place for the surrounding communities of Newport, Troy, Unity, Burnham, Detroit, St. Albans, Hartland, Canaan, and Palmyra; and

 

WHEREAS the structure has both statewide and national historic significance; and

 

WHEREAS the structure is in need of ongoing maintenance, restoration, and major renovation; and

 

WHEREAS pledges and collections from Sunday services and building use rental income have not sustained the church financially since 1988; 

 

THEREFORE, be it resolved that it is the sense of this meeting that our space is underutilized; and 

 

BE IT further resolved that the name "First Universalist Church" is not as inclusive, nor as representative as it could be; and

 

BE IT finally resolved that the name “Unitarian Universalist Meeting House” of Pittsfield is more inclusive and representative of the function, activities, and future of this congregation.

The Journey Begins: Doing Things Differently in Challenging Times

It’s been said that work is thus named because it is not play, not rest, not vacation. Our work here at this great big church with no resident minister, a small council, low attendance in a great big, aging building is a tremendous challenge.

 

I am reminded of Wendell Berry’s poem The Real Work and his insight that “…when we no longer know what to do,” we’ve “come to our real work,” “the real journey.” 

 

A few months back, I found myself drawn into the history of the church discovering to my great delight two timelines dating back to our beginnings as the First Universalist Society. Then I started talking with people who have nothing to do with our church, people with skill sets we lack, but that have no tie to our building, faith tradition, or future. The more people I engaged, the clearer it became what an incredible resource our building is - not just to those of us who call ourselves members, but to the Town, the region, and even the state. Further, we’re fortunate to have this small, but determined congregation with a can-do attitude and a willingness to try new things, to fall, and to get back up again. 

 

We can do this. We can sustain our church. But we cannot do it alone.

 

There’s no map or set of directions for how to do this, and there is no guaranteed outcome, but if there’s ever a place for hope and faith, it is here. If ever we needed time to think, to forgive, to make mistakes, to redeem ourselves, it is now. Ours is a place where “we keep idea and possibility alive” as Krista Tippett put it on a recent episode of On Being called “Thinking and Friendship in Dark Times: Hannah Arendt for Now”. 

 

Ours is a place where we take care of one another and hold one another in community, and we do so without absolutes. Ours is an unpredictable future, but one I hope you will join us in as we consider what German Jew and American philosopher Hannah Arendt wrote about and studied: neighborly love. Not the love of desire, or of one’s kin. The kind of love critical for us today is the kind “that says, ‘I want you to be.’” Neighborly love amidst a political and national climate that would have us divided based on difference - color, race, gender, the happenstance of where you were born, political party, you name it. When we hold our space sacred for the acts that make it so, when we think, when we risk becoming, we have possibility and we have a future for which we will work our hearts out.

 

There was a time when this space and everything required to restore and renovate it was, perhaps, too overwhelming to consider. But that time has passed. We’ve begun talking with architects, structural engineers, historic preservation officers, and we’ve begun the process of discovering financial resources. We are stewards of an incredible place, and we’ve inherited that fortunate burden. Despite the work it will take, this is our work now.

    

We are beginning a journey forward, but that journey will look different from anything that’s come before. In order to hold our Unitarian Universalist community together, we have to think differently and do differently. We have to open our doors wider, toot our horns, and welcome people in - people who need space, and time, and quiet, and respite, and motivation, and uplift, and action.

 

All kinds of people.

 

All kinds of welcome.

 

Let’s give it a try.

 

Sunday, June 18, we will hold a congregational meeting at which point we will discuss and vote on financial commitments, building maintenance, and our name. Your input is critical. 

 

This is our journey now; come along.

 

Holly Zadra

Council Moderator

The Spirit of Place

There are some readers out there who don’t make it to church too often. Some don’t come at all, and yet, through the grapevine, we’ve heard your curiosity about the health of the church and its future. Gossip is a prayer, and it works in ways we don’t always understand even as we speak it. Like a prayer, these whispered feelings find their way into the genii locorum of our church. 

Yes, I just wrote “genii locorum.” That’s the plural of the noun “genius loci,” a term that architects use to describe the spirit or ambiance of a place often the result of the way light plays on a structure or landscape. But in ancient Rome, the term described a protective spirit within or surrounding a particular landmark or landscape - a kind of guardian angel of place.

It is that genii locorum that speaks to us when we're in the church. It helps, also, to be reading our history and thinking about what it must have been like to see the Universalist Meeting Hall stripped of its steeple and turned 90 degrees; to envision, raise the funds, and then build the sanctuary; to watch the bell be hoisted into place; to see the drapery glass installed panel by panel; to commission paintings by world-famous muralist Harry Hayman Cochrane; to hear the organ played for the first time.

In 1967, the church celebrated its 100th anniversary and, at the time, was inspired for the next 100. Right now, we’ve just begun our sesquicentennial: we’ll celebrate 150 years in 2017. But if we want to continue to celebrate our UU values and principles in that building with those genii locorum, we have to take action.

We recently visited with a structural engineer, architects, and in a week, we'll begin working with Maine Preservation to assess the building inside and out, up to the rafters and down to the basement. We're discussing water penetration and the structural issues as well as the aesthetics of plaster and paint, tapestries and windows. We are stewards of an incredible place and we must address the bones and the skin of our beloved church. We all know this. We’ve been talking about it for years. So we'll begin with assessments, then prioritize, budget, and plan. Then we raise money. We fix the bones, then the skin, then get to work on restoration and usefulness. 

The genii locorum are calling.

If you are interested in history, this church matters: the people who founded Pittsfield also built this church. The Vickerys, Lanceys, Mansons, Parks, and Hathorns are just some of the families who helped establish first the meeting house and then the “First Universalist Society of Pittsfield” with the aim of promoting “liberal Christianity.” This particular church was created by the self-same people that created the wider community of our town. Its founders were the people who made the church what it is today and who also generously bestowed upon us a great responsibility.

If you care about art, this church matters: its architecture, its paintings, its stained glass windows, and the organ that sits at the center of it all are exquisite the likes of which we only occasionally have the opportunity to see in Central Maine.  And this, all in one place, in Pittsfield, Maine, a showcase of what master builders were capable of without cranes and heavy equipment. This church is a gem worthy of our attention. It is a gem with significance to the State of Maine and the history of Unitarian Universalism in the United States.

If you care about Unitarian Universalism, this is the place where we gather to remind ourselves of those values, the place where we join together as a community to reach out to others and practice that vision in the world. It is a place for the faithful and atheists alike, for the hopeful and active, the old and the young. It is place that welcomes all because we are all spiritual seekers navigating an increasingly divisive world. It is sanctuary.

Yes, it will take a lot of money. 

Yes, we will need more than our small congregation to do this. We will need the larger community of Pittsfield, we’ll need statewide resources, and we’ll need help from national organizations, foundations, and philanthropists. 

It’s a big goal, yes. But one I hope you’ll join us in undertaking. 

The genii locorum are calling. Will you answer?


Holly Zadra
Council Moderator

What Do Unitarian Universalists Believe?

Unitarian Universalism affirms and promotes seven Principles, grounded in the humanistic teachings of the world's religions. Our spirituality draws from scripture and science, nature and philosophy, personal experience and ancient tradition as described in our six sources

The Seven Principles are:

  1. The inherent worth and dignity of every person;
  2. Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;
  3. Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;
  4. A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;
  5. The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large;
  6. The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;
  7. Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.

 

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