Our Church

Our Church

“We come because we have a deep, aching need for an encounter with the holy that crosses our borders and expands our hearts. We come to be a part of something so much larger than ourselves, and we cannot do that holy work together unless we are really willing to set aside our own need to win and reach out our hands and seek the deeper understanding that come with difference.” – Rev. Nancy McDonald Ladd

Who We Are

We have been in existence in Seattle for over 100 years, first established in 1913 on a site near the University of Washington campus, we are now located in the Ravenna-Bryant neighborhood and serve a community of around 900 members and over a thousand visitors and friends. In the first few decades of its existence, UUC was recognized in the Seattle community for its activism on social and political issues, frequently providing a forum for progressive causes. We continue to be well known for our leadership and partnerships in social justice work in the community, the quality of our worship services, music and education programs.

VIDEO: UUC’s History

In this 15 minute video, from UUC’s 100th Anniversary celebration, the Rev. Jon Luopa narrates the early history of UUC. Includes the story of the church’s founding, building our current home, and the important role UUC has played in the social justice landscape of Seattle over the decades.

Our Mission

UUC is a community that covenants to awaken spirit, nurture hope and inspire action.

The church’s current mission and vision statements were created through a year-long discernment process that the UUC congregation entered into in late 2010. The congregation unanimously approved this new mission and vision on December 22, 2011.

Bright tealights

Our Vision

  • We will create a more connected multigenerational community where all individuals welcome, value, and support one another and contribute to the common good.
  • We will risk leaving the safety of known ways in order to open ourselves to experiences of awe and mystery and deepen our sense of gratitude and awareness that we are connected to creation.
  • We will be responsible stewards of the gifts we hold in trust, endeavoring to leave a generous and sustainable legacy for those who come after us.
  • We will vocally and actively oppose injustice and stand in prophetic judgment of all that would diminish the equality and dignity of human beings or harm the web of life. We seek partnership with those who share our goals and creative dialogue with those who challenge us in our search for larger truths.

About Unitarian Universalism

With its historical roots in the Jewish and Christian traditions, Unitarian Universalism is a liberal religion — a religion that keeps an open mind to theology and the religious questions people have struggled with in all times and places. The Unitarian religion dates back to the sixteenth century in Europe, while the Universalist faith developed in America in the late 1700s. Then, in the 1960s the Unitarians and the Universalists merged, forming what is now the Unitarian Universalist faith.  Read more about our history and theology here.

We believe that personal experience, conscience and reason should be the final authorities in religion, and that in the end religious authority lies not in a book or person or institution, but within ourselves and our mutual accountability — our Covenant — with one another and with life itself. Unitarian Universalism is a “non-creedal” religion. We do not ask anyone to believe a specific set of doctrines. Our members practice their beliefs in many different ways. UUs value freedom of religion, use critical reason and even doubt to expand our understanding, cultivate tolerance to more deeply and compassionately hear one another, and practice justice, which is “love with its sleeves rolled up.” The aspects of church that appeal to UUs include spiritual awakening, connection to community, care for self and others, working for social and environmental justice, sharing fellowship and fun, nurturing children, and a common calling to activism. We have remarkable elders who have worked for justice and peace for decades.

There is enormous diversity in where UUs have come from, how UUs seek truth, and how UUs identify themselves. Some UUs consider themselves Christian; others might describe themselves as UU Buddhists or Jewish UUs. UUs may also  describe themselves as humanist or atheist. There are wide ranging definitions of individual meaning in these descriptions. Other members are attuned to earth-centered spirituality and nature-based experience. For still others, spirituality is too big, mysterious or intimate to define with mere words (but lots of us try anyway). Like other liberal religions, UUs accept that truth is always revealing itself.

Many UUs are parents raised in different traditions and/or raising children in multi-religious families. Our youth are inspiring! UU attracts many families because of the wonderful church school programs, which introduce and explain world religions in an equal, non-biased way, as well as other outstanding curricula and companionship with our children and youth.

Unitarian Universalist Sources and Principles

The living tradition we share draws from many sources:

  • 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 inspire 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 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.

There are seven principles that Unitarian Universalist congregations affirm and promote:

  • 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 congregation
  • A free and responsible search for truth and meaning
  • The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregation 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

See the Unitarian Universalist Organization website for additional information and resources at www.uua.org.

UUC History Video