First UU Church of San Antonio 1961Building starts at the proposed intersection of two major highways as a “beacon on the hill.” 1998 Sanctuary dedicated 2010420 members (~80 friends) Serving San Antonio since 1945
Unitarian UniversalismA Proud Tradition of Liberal Religion Liberal Religion • affirms a positive, high view of humanity • is about change and reform • embraces personal freedom of belief • encourages applying reason and experience to scripture, doctrine, and life! • requires action and a commitment to social justice • is not the same as liberal politics
Our Seven Principles As member congregations of the UUA, we affirm and promote The inherent worth and dignity of every person Justice, equity and compassion in human relations Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations; 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; The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all; Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.
Our Six Sources • Direct experience of wonder and awe • Words and deeds of prophets who confronted injustice with the transforming power of love • Wisdom where it is found in all religious traditions • Jewish and Christian teachings • Humanist teachings • Spiritual teachings of earth-centered traditions
Values That Guide Us • Loving ACCEPTANCE of one another • FREEDOM of belief informed by reason • The transcendent experience of WONDER & AWE • Life-long LEARNING & GROWTH • Working for JUSTICE in the world • Connection is a caring COMMUNITY
Our Mission to the World • INVITE all into caring community • INSPIRE spiritual growth • INVOLVE everyone in working for a peaceful,just and free world
Our Covenant • Love is the doctrine of this church,the quest of truth is its sacramentand service is its prayer.To dwell together in peace,to seek knowledge in freedom,to serve humanity in fellowship,to the end that all souls shall grow into harmony with the divine,thus do we covenant with each other.
History Act 1 Early Christianity Seeds of reason and discontent
UNITARIAN UNIVERSALIST Origen185-c.254 Universal Salvation Arius 256 – 336 Rejection of the Trinity If anyone does not anathematize Arius, Eunomius, Macedonius, Apollinaris, Nestorius, Eutyches and Origen, as well as their impious writings … let him be anathema. - Fifth Ecumenical Council
History Act 2 Eastern Europe in the 16th Century The Reformation? Not far enough.
The Radical Reformation & Religious Toleration Michael Servetus martyred for writing On the Errors of the Trinity King John Sigismund of Transylvania converts to Unitarianism and creates first society with religious tolerance. Faustus Socinus founds Unitarian church in Poland
History Act 3 America Rich soil for the free religious search “It had to happen here.”
Toward the Unitarian Controversy Puritans founded Calvinist churches based on individual experience of scripture 1648 Cambridge Platform: “There is no greater church than a congregation which may ordinarily meet in one place.” Freedom of the Pulpit -- Freedom of the Pew Founding Fathers deeply influenced by Enlightenment values, a few embrace deism During 18th century America becomes increasingly secular By the 19th century the miracles are debated, resulting in the Unitarian Controversy
Unitarianism Unitarian Controversy ends in William Ellery Channing’s sermon “Unitarian Christianity.” Transcendentalists begin as Unitarian reform movement, become American Romanticism. They stress radical individualism, experiencing the Holy in nature, the exploration of Eastern traditions, and social justice and reform.
Universalism John Murray (1741-1815): British Methodist, came to believe God’s love would save everyone. “Give them not hell but hope.” Hosea Ballou deepens Universalist theology (1805) Murray spread Universalism in America, founded 1st Universalist church in Gloucester, MA (1779)
History Act 4 What happens next is up to us
20th century 1900-1961Moving from Christian Unitarianism and Universalism to Humanism 1961THE merger 1961-1999Post-merger identity crisis
21st CenturyOur theological diversity 2006 survey data Traditionally “spiritual” (specific) 32% Religious humanism (specific) 40% Seekers (comfortable with not knowing) 26% Non-religious 2%
Returning to our values • Loving ACCEPTANCE of one another • The transcendent experience of WONDER & AWE • Working for JUSTICE in the world • FREEDOM of belief informed by reason • Life-long LEARNING; life-long GROWTH • Connection to a caring COMMUNITY