W e, the member congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Association, covenant to affirm and promote:
The inherent worth and dignity of every person.
Justice, equality and compassion in human relations
Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregation
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.
Respect for the interdependent web of all existence, of which we are a part.
We share the idea that religious belief is a right and a responsibility; that each caring person will grow spiritually as they grow mentally and physically. For us, there must be room to test beliefs, to doubt, and to explore. In that way, we live by our beliefs because they are ours alone. We choose and decide because we have the right to.
We do not seek to merely tolerate differences of opinion in religious thought. We want to live in harmony with others, allowing the differences of others to enrich our beliefs and guide us in understanding.
We have a vision to affirm, defend and promote the worth and dignity of every human person. We are dedicated to a free and meaningful faith -- to express our individual beliefs, to learn from teachers and prophets of every age and tradition, and to seek truth, love and peace upheld in the free religious experience. We strive for freedom, brotherhood, and equal rights for all human kind.
GOD is one, is love, is spirit, is for all persons, does not need to be appeased, and is known to men and women through their personal, social and religious experiences in life.
TRUTH is found through all human experience, and must be explored throughout life.
WOMEN AND MEN are born sinless, acquire the capacity for good or evil but are never eternally lost, and their personal salvation is a matter of growth and development.
JESUS was a religious teacher and an example of the good life, who taught principles of eternal truth which the world still needs.
THE KINGDOM OF GOD is to be shared by all persons.
THE CHURCH is a fellowship of moral and spiritual growth and a school of religion, and is a group of people organized for worship and for service to their fellowmen.
Modern Universalists draw their inspiration and find evidence of their philosophy in many cultural streams. Universalism is not exclusively Christian in origin, having roots in pre-Christian religions as well as the world's religions. The basic pretext of our beginnings is the belief in universal salvation rather than the election of a few. Hence the name Universalists. From the sixth century on, however, this belief has been generally considered heresy.
American Universalism had its origins in the works of Dr. George DeBenneville, who first preached in Pennsylvania in 1741; John Murray, an anti-Calvinist; and Hosea Ballou, an original Universalist thinker. Murray became minister of the Independent Christian Church of Gloucester and in 1779 this became the first organized Universalist Church in America. It was Hosea Ballou who in 1805, in his book "Treatise of Atonement" gave Universalists their first consistent philosophy.
The Winchester Profession of Faith, written by Universalists at a convention in 1803, humanized Jesus, largely withdrew from trinitarian theology and re-emphasized salvation for the "whole family of mankind." The Bible was recognized as "containing a revelation of the character of God." In 1899, after wrestling with Darwinism, Universalists brought their statement up-to-date and in 1935 it was again modernized, this time with the important phrase "our faith in the authority of truth, known or to be known." No doctrinal statement however, has ever been put forth to be used as a credal test. In May, 1961 the Universalist Church of America merged with the American Unitarian Association to become the Unitarian Universalist Association.