We are brave, curious, and compassionate thinkers and doers.We are diverse in faith, ethnicity, history and spirituality, but aligned in our desire to make a difference for the good. We have a track record of standing on the side of love, justice, and peace.
We have radical roots and a history as self-motivated spiritual people: we think for ourselves and recognize that life experience influences our beliefs more than anything.
We need not think alike to love alike. We are people of many beliefs and backgrounds: people with a religious background, people with none, people who believe in a God, people who don’t, and people who let the mystery be.
We seek to welcome you: your whole self, with all your truths and your doubts, your worries and your hopes. Join us on this extraordinary adventure of faith. Get involved!
Beliefs and Principles
In Unitarian Universalism, you can bring your whole self: your full identity, your questioning mind, your expansive heart.
Together, we create a force more powerful than one person or one belief system. As Unitarian Universalists, we do not have to check our personal background and beliefs at the door: we join together on a journey that honors everywhere we’ve been before.
Our beliefs are diverse and inclusive. We have no shared creed. Our shared covenant (our seven Principles) supports “the free and responsible search for truth and meaning.” Though Unitarianism and Universalism were both liberal Christian traditions, this responsible search has led us to embrace diverse teachings from Eastern and Western religions and philosophies.
All Unitarians Universalists endorse the Seven Principles, an eighth principle has been endorsed by individual congregations( including Tennessee Valley) and it will soon be by the entire denomination. It reads as such, “Journeying toward spiritual wholeness by working to build a diverse multicultural Beloved Community by our actions that accountably dismantle racism and other forms of oppression in ourselves and our institutions.”
Unitarian Universalists believe more than one thing. We think for ourselves, and reflect together, about important questions:
We are united in our broad and inclusive outlook, and in our values, as expressed in our seven Principles. We are united in shared experience: our open and stirring worship services, religious education, and rites of passage; our work for social justice; our quest to include the marginalized; our expressions of love.
What We Do
We create change: in ourselves, in the world.
Seven days a week, Unitarian Universalists (UUs) live their faith by doing. Whether in community with others or as an individual, we know that active, tangible expressions of love, justice, and peace are what make a difference. Embracing peace, love, and understanding that goes beyond individual belief systems, we are creators of positive change in people and in the world.
While we do not share a common creed or doctrine, one of the ways we hold ourselves together in community is through our covenant – a set of promises we make to about how we will be together and treat each other. Each Unitarian Universalist congregation develops their own covenant. Ours reads like this:
We covenant with each other, promising our goodwill and honest effort, pledging our care and support to one another and to our church community, challenging one another to live in accord with our Unitarian Universalist principles.
With this common purpose as our source, we covenant:
to welcome all who come to us with acceptance and respect for the differences among us, and to remain open to the richness and discomforts of diversity;
to listen with sincerity and love;
to foster trust, practice patience and speak one’s truth directly and with compassion;
to reflect carefully about the potential results of our words and actions before we speak or act;
to assume the positive intent of others and keep our discussions to topics and issues rather than personalities;
to acknowledge that we may not always agree with the group decisions, but we will support and participate in decision-making processes that are collaborative and democratic; and be open to compromise;
to pursue a mutually satisfying resolution when there is disagreement, and seek help when needed;
to speak directly to those with whom we have disagreements and encourage others to do the same;
to speak out with loving kindness when we witness disrespectful interactions, acknowledging our fallibility and practicing forgiveness;
to act with loving kindness, seeking to promote justice, equity, and compassion;
to understand that building our beloved community requires ongoing learning and practice of courageous acts of love and reconciliation.