For a great introduction to what it means to be a Unitarian Universalist, watch this video, or please continue reading. “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, 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 ever changing. 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, choices, and affections, and we 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 diverse people, races, and nations, should be governed by justice, equity, and compassion.”
from “We Are Unitarian Universalists” by Rev. Marta Flanagan.
Our Seven Principles
These seven principles form the cornerstone of Unitarian Universalist beliefs:
- 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 Congregation’s History
The Unitarian Universalist Community Church has been the home of progressive faith and children’s religious education in the South Suburbs for over 50 years. It was incorporated in 1954. The congregation moved a few times. At one time, it held services and Sunday school at Blackhawk School in Park Forest, and later at the former Temple Anshe Shalom building in Chicago Heights. In 1982, many hands helped to build the current church on five beautiful, wooded acres in Park Forest. UUCC members have been active in many social justice projects over the years. In the 1960’s, several congregants promoted civil rights by working for equal housing, education, and access to public facilities here in the South Suburbs. Some also traveled across the country to raise public awareness and advocate for change. In the 1980s, many members remained active in the nuclear disarmament movement, while others participated in ongoing work for environmental protection. In the 1990’s, two UUCC members helped to found South Suburban Public Action to Deliver Shelter (PADS). And, UUCC in Park Forest became an open and welcoming congregation to the LGBT community. Over the past several years, a number of members have been active in peace efforts, and the founder of Generations 4 Peace is a member. Members also participate in efforts to end racism, poverty and environmental degradation. Recently, the church has been working to create a “green sanctuary” by adopting practices that reduce our carbon footprint and help us live in greater harmony with the environment. A number of wonderful ministers have helped to shape this congregation, each bringing with him or her a unique religious background and spiritual perspective. In addition, the members themselves shape the congregation by leading projects and activities, hosting services, delivering talks and sermons, serving on the board, or just showing up with an open mind and a caring heart. Becoming a part of our congregation means making an impact on the world around you, and ensuring this tradition lives on for years to come. Our Covenant The following is our congregation’s unique covenant, which members choose to uphold. “We, the members of the Unitarian Universalist Community Church, in order to sustain a community whose members live according to their deepest principles, establish this covenant as a guide to our relationships with ourselves, with each other, with our neighbors, and with the world. We covenant:
- To live our belief that every person has inherent worth and dignity. We will treat each other with respect and good humor, assuming the good intentions of all. We will strive to bring to all our interactions compassion, honesty and kindness. By fully listening to one another, we endeavor to gain a greater appreciation of each individual’s gifts and enriching uniqueness.
- To foster one another’s spiritual growth. We will cherish differing paths and enjoy the thoughtful exchange of ideas, experiences and intuitions. We will conduct our continuing dialogue with patience and joy, welcoming diversity of views and persons.
- To participate respectfully in the larger world. We will seek to live our values within the greater community in ways that encourage service, invite conversation, and engender understanding.
- To pledge our abilities, time, energy, and financial support to the purposes of this community. We will commit these resources wisely, so that we can fulfill our promises. We will encourage and support the fullest participation of each member and friend and, as a community, will celebrate and appreciate the contributions of all.
- To employ the democratic process as the rule of our community, both as leaders and as members. We will conduct all dealings of the church in an open, honest and responsible way. We will seek and share information about all important church issues and contribute our informed opinion. We will respect the deliberated consensus of the community and continue to seek common goals through the exploration of diverse ideas.
- To preserve congregational wholeness by addressing conflict promptly and directly. First, we will talk with and listen to the person or persons with whom we have unresolved differences. If, after an open and empathetic exchange of feelings, points of view, and possible solutions we have not resolved our conflict, we will quickly seek the counsel of congregational mediators.
“I promise to use the spirit of this covenant as a guide to my behavior in relationship with my church community. Within the circle of the congregation, I ask others to name my actions that fulfill this covenant and to honor them; when my actions are contrary to its spirit, I ask others to name them as well and to recall me to this covenant in a loving and forgiving way. I accept the responsibility to do the same for others. “I do so covenant.”