World Religion Report - Unitarian Universalism

Published: 2021-06-29 07:08:45
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Unitarian Universalism, also known as UUA, is a religious movement that welcomes pluralism and diversity in its members' beliefs and practices. Unitarian Universalism was formed in the early 1960s when the Unitarian and Universalism denominations merged. Both Unitarianism and Universalism are originally rooted from Protestant Christianity but Unitarian Universalists do not regard their faith as such. There are currently approximately 800,000 Unitarian Universalists worldwide, most of which reside in the United States. Many people turn to Unitarian Universalism because there is a religious structure while still allowing members to have an open mind and different personal beliefs (Religion Facts, n.d.).
Unitarianism and Universalism were formed at two separate times. Unitarianism was formed in the early 16th century in both Romania and Poland based on the rejection of the Trinity. The Trinity is a Christian belief in "God as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost," three divinities for worship. One man, Michael Servetus, was actually burned at the stake in the mid-1500s for his Unitarian beliefs. A Unitarian movement did not rise in the United States until the late 1700s and in 1825 the American Unitarian Association (AUA) was formed (Religion Facts n.d. para. 11).
Universalism on the other hand, has a much longer history. Universalism has been appearing in Christian history since the early times of the church. Universalism became its own denomination in the United States in 1793. The church was known as the Universalist Church of American (UCA) (Religion Facts n.d. para 10). Universalism separated from Christianity because of its difference in beliefs regarding the salvation of humanity and the existence of Hell. Christians believe that only Christians will spend eternity in Heaven with Christ and all others will go to Hell. Universalists believe that all humans will have salvation and that Hell does not exist (Universalism, n.d.).
I made a visit to the Unitarian Universalist Church of Surprise. The service started with announcements from congregation members about what the church is doing for the community. First time visitors are then given the chance to introduce themselves to the congregation. Members are also given a chance to share their personal joys and sorrows with the congregation and a moment of silence is held for those people. Children are included in the first part of the service while the minister tells a story complete with props. The remainder of the service is similar to Christian services. Prayers are held, a sermon is given, tithing is collected, and a choir sings at the end of the service. Coffee is offered after the service for members and visitors to socialize. Visitors are asked to use a different colored cup than regular members so they can be recognized and welcomed by members. One of the ministers, Walter Wieder, also hosts a radio show on Sunday afternoons called A Different View that is broadcast on both an AM radio station and the Internet for those who miss the morning service.

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