Love is the spirit of this church, and service is its law; this is our great covenant: to dwell together in peace, to seek the truth in love, and to help one another.
James Vila Blake, 1894
What is a Unitarian Universalist?
Unitarian Universalists (UU) affirm the individual conscience in matters of religion and the search for truth. We proclaim the center of religious life is the local church, governed by congregational democracy. We affirm deeds not creeds, the use of reason in religion and covenant as the basis for religious community. We recognize the scriptures of all religions as human attempts to understand the divine and as such subject to interpretation and critique on the same basis as other human literature.
We believe the purpose of the church is not to require people to believe alike, but to create a Beloved Community where human souls are knit together, where people can laugh and cry with one another, sharing with and supporting one another through the best and the worst of times. We welcome all who come to our door regardless of race, ethnicity, ability, gender or gender/sexual orientation.
Our church is not unique. Our tradition finds its roots in the Pilgrim and Puritan traditions of New England and the Universalist Church of America. The Pilgrims and Puritans were neither Unitarian nor Universalist, but they rejected creeds in favor of covenants and insisted on the right of individual conscience and congregational polity – the belief that the local church was the highest authority and that it should be ruled democratically. They also insisted on education for both their ministers and their laity.
Over time the Pilgrims and Puritans evolved into Unitarians and played a pivotal role in the beginnings of the United States with three of the first six Presidents being members of Unitarian churches (John Adams and John Quincy Adams) or Unitarian in their personal theology (Thomas Jefferson). The Universalist side of our tradition comes from the Universalist Church of America that rejected the hell fire and brimstone tradition of early American evangelists and insisted instead on a doctrine of love.
Today Hope Unitarian Church is a proud member of the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations.
A flaming chalice – symbolizing religious freedom and those who have died for it – is lighted at the beginning of each worship service.