The Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Sterling
I’ve grown accustomed to responding to different names. The four letters that constitute “Anya” lend themselves to a tongue twisting number of pronunciations. I might be Anne one day, then Ann-ya the next. New friends and associates may add letters to the beginning or the end making me Tanya or Anyana. Maybe this is why I don’t take offense when a newcomer to our congregation, or an interfaith friend stumbles over the name of our faith community. Unitarian Universalism is neither easy to remember or pronounce. Still, it’s not our name that matters, it’s what we do and why we do it that will be our legacy.
Go ahead and call us UU’s if you like, and let me take a moment to explain what that means. First of all, here’s a disambiguation: Unitarian Universalism is not the same, nor does it employ a similar approach to religion as 1. The Unity Church, 2. The Unification Church, or 3. The Universal Life Church. Unitarian Universalism is a faith tradition born of the Protestant reformation, with roots in the early Christian church. We grew out of a fold that heartily studied the bible and practiced theology, with the hope of achieving an honest and attentive faith.
Throughout our early development we consistently affirmed two ideas - that God is one, and that that one God is love (or loving). As our years bore us forward, ministers and parishioner’s became increasingly drawn to the practice of tolerance and the free search for truth and meaning. Our forefathers and mothers were attentive to tradition, but also understood the spiritual depth and wisdom that could be won when an individual wrestled with their own doubts and drew their own conclusions. As a result our movement assumed a theologically liberal approach that is widely accepting and welcoming, inviting the individual expression of diverse beliefs. UU’s are called, not to affirm specific dogma, but to live their life in an honest and ethical manner, not as they wish, but as they feel they must (by the dictates of their conscience.)
You might ask, if there is no central dogma, is Unitarian Universalism a real religion? It is not, if you believe religion is about dividing people between the saved and unsaved. However, if you believe that religion should seek to unite humanity rather than divide it, we are a very real religion.
Some of us pray and some of us meditate. Some of us understand a relationship to God, some understand God as a force of life, and some don’t find the name “god” meaningful at all. Still we are able to thrive in communities, dedicated to the betterment of our lives, our children’s lives, and our world. We gather on Sundays for worship and throughout the week for education and activities. There are UU congregations all over, some very large and some small. There have been UU presidents, scientists, artists and activists. You may even have a UU friend, colleague or family member.
I hope this explains a bit more than our oversized and hard to pronounce name can explain alone. We are always glad to meet visitors and to share interfaith conversations. Learning about one another serves our cause of affirming the inherent worth and dignity in every person. Feel welcome to contact me with questions or visit on a Sunday. All are truly and ardently welcome.