Our Mission Statement
The Vashon Island Unitarian Fellowship is committed to individual
freedom of belief, welcomes diversity, seeks to promote a sense of
community, and fosters religion which enriches the spirit.
The Principles to Which
We Are Comitted
We, the member congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Association, covenant to affirm and promote:
The living tradition which we share draws from many sources:
- 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.
- Direct experience of that transcending mystery and wonder, affirmed in all cultures, which moves us to a renewal of the spirit and an openness to the forces which create and uphold life;
- Words and deeds of prophetic women and men which challenge us to confront powers and structures of evil with justice, compassion, and the transforming power of love;
- Wisdom from the world's religions which inspires us in our ethical and spiritual life;
- Jewish and Christian teachings which call us to respond to God's love by loving our neighbors as ourselves;
- Humanist teachings which counsel us to heed the guidance of reason and the results of science, and warn us against idolatries of the mind and spirit.
- Spiritual teachings of earth-centered traditions which celebrate the sacred circle of life and instruct us to live in harmony with the rhythms of nature.
What is Unitarian Universalism?
Unitarian Universalism is a liberal religion born of the Jewish and Christian traditions. We keep our minds open to the religious questions people have struggled with in all times and places.
We believe that personal experience, conscience and reason should be the final authorities in religion. In the end religious authority lies not in a book or person or institution, but in ourselves. We put religious insights to the test of our hearts and minds.
We uphold the free search for truth. We will not be bound by a statement of belief. We do not ask anyone to subscribe to a creed. We say ours is a noncreedal religion. Ours is a free faith.
We believe that religious wisdom is everchanging. Human understanding of life and death, the world and its mysteries, is never final. Revelation is continuous. We celebrate unfolding truths known to teachers, prophets and sages throughout the ages.
We affirm the worth of all women and men. We believe people should be encouraged to think for themselves. We know people differ in their opinions and life-styles and believe these differences generally should be honored.
We seek to act as a moral force in the world, believing that ethical living is the supreme witness of religion. The here and now and the effects our actions will have on future generations deeply concern us. We know that our relationships with one another, with other peoples, races and nations, should be governed by justice, equity and compassion.
Each Unitarian Universalist congregation is the fulfillment of a long heritage that goes back hundreds of years to courageous people who struggled for freedom in thought and faith. On this continent we go back to the Massachusetts settlers and the founders of the republic. Outstanding Unitarians and Universalists include John Adams, Clara Barton, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Louisa May Alcott, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Susan B. Anthony.
Not as famous but equally worthy are the thousands of men and women in our congregations leading vital, dedicated and useful lives.
Our congregations are self-governing. Authority and responsibility are vested in the membership of the congregation. Each local congregation--called a church, society or fellowship--adopts its own bylaws, elects its own officers and approves its budget. Every member is encouraged to take part in church or fellowship activities.
Each Unitarian Universalist congregation is involved in many kinds of programs. Worship is held regularly, the insights of the past and present are shared with those who will create the future, service to the community is undertaken and friendships are made. A visitor to a UU congregation will very likely find events and activities such as church school, day-care centers, lectures and forums, support groups, poetry festivals, family events, adult education classes and study groups-all depending on the needs and interests of the local members.
More than one thousand congregations make up the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA), which represents our interests on a continental scale.
The UUA grew out of the consolidation, in 1961, of two religious denominations: the Universalists, organized in 1793, and the Unitarians, organized in 1825 (see the UU Historical Society).
The UUA provides resources and offers consultations to local congregations, creates religious education curricula, spurs social action efforts, expedites the settlement of professional religious leaders, supports Beacon Press, and produces pamphlets, devotional material and the bimonthly journal The World.
The UUA works in concert with many organizations-including the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC). Since its early work aiding victims of Nazi oppression, the UUSC has been helping people help themselves with service and advocacy programs around the world. The UUA also maintains offices at the United Nations headquarters in New York and in Washington, DC. The Unitarian Universalist Church of the Larger Fellowship provides a ministry to geographically isolated religious liberals.
Taken from http://www.uua.org/aboutuu/weare.html
Marta Flanagan graduated from Smith College and received her M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School. She has served as minister to the First Universalist Society in Salem, MA, since 1987.
Copyright © 1992 Unitarian Universalist Association, All rights reserved.
A UUA Pamphlet Commission Publication