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Unitarianism

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Keira Durnin

on 27 May 2013

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Transcript of Unitarianism

Unitarianism Kourtney Ribey
Keira Durnin
Mrs. Van Osch
HRT 3M
Monday, May 27, 2013 Brief History 1673 1813 The first Unitarian congregation was and still is in London, England. It was built in 1774 and founded by Theophilus Lindsay. The site is now the headquarters of Unitarianism in Britain Unitarianism becomes legal. 1774 In 1819 William Ellery Channing gave the sermon ‘Unitarian Christianity’ which became the key text for Unitarians. In this text he stated: 1819 Unitarian churches were being taken away from them until 1844 when the Dissenters’ Chapels Act came into place allowing Unitarians to own their buildings. 1844 When Darwin released his theory of evolution, Unitarianism was the only branch of Christianity not upset. Instead they embraced the new thought and his scientific advances. (Unitarian History) 1859 Joseph Priestly, the science who discovered the element oxygen, was “the organizer of modern Unitarianism,” (Unitarian History). Unitarianism was also growing in America. James Martineau broke away from the “traditional Unitarian reliance on Biblical texts, taking it forward to a new faith based on reason and the enlightened conscience,” (UH). •the unity of God and the rejection of the Trinity
•the importance of reason in understanding the Bible
•the importance of human nature in discovering religion truth
•God as having a loving and parental nature
•Rejection of the doctrine of sin Basic Tenants There are seven basic principles that Unitarians follow:
•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 the world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;
•Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are part. Unitarians also believe:
1. There is no Unitarian creed. Unitarians are free to believe in whatever they want. There is no list of things that they must believe.
2. Unitarians are skeptical about any one person or tradition possessing the whole truth.
3. Unitarians suggest that human differences of opinion and lifestyle should be seen as potentially creative and enriching, rather than destructive. Some Unitarians believe in God. Others do not use the word or use the word with a more limited meaning. Some Unitarians believe in different aspects of God, but not all. Unitarians also believe in God as one. They do not believe in the Trinity like Christians do.
Again, not all Unitarians believe in Jesus. Some Unitarians do not identify themselves as Christians meaning they do not believe in the divinity of Christ. Those who do believe in Christ have restrictions on their beliefs. For example, some Unitarians believe that Jesus was just a man, he was not resurrected and his life is reflective of the potential divinity of our lives.
Unitarians do not believe in original sin. They do not believe they need God to grant them salvation. They believe that all humans possess the ability to do good and evil is result of human actions. Holy Places Unitarian congregations gather in Churches. They usually gather on Sundays but the congregation can decide on another day. This gathering of the congregation makes their Churches sacred for Unitarians. Worship Practices A typical Unitarian service usually goes like this:

•Opening Words
•Chalice Lighting
•Prayers
•Meditations
•Hymns
•Closing Words Although the worship of God may be used in collective worship, the focus of the service is on the celebration of life itself. Their services allow for expression of individual thought. Each congregation is free to form their own service. They normally “lack liturgy and ritual, but do contain reading from many sources, sermons, prayers, silences and hymns,” (BBC). Symbolism An Austrian artist, Hans Deutsch created the symbol of a flaming chalice. At the time of its creation, during World War II, “[Its] design was made into a seal for papers and a badge for agents moving refugees to freedom. In time it became a symbol of Unitarian Universalism all around the world” (UUA 2013). The image to the Deutsch “had connotations of sacrifice and love” (UUA).
The chalice symbolizes sharing, generously and nourishment. The flame symbolizes sacrifice and courage. There are many different meanings and styles of the flaming chalice that occur. Unitarian Universalist Association states: “[T]he flaming chalice, like our faith, stands open to receive new truths that pass the tests of reason, justice, and compassion” (UUA). There is not one meaning or interpretation that is authorized. Each congregation is also not required to use the symbol, each one is free to use it as they want.
This symbol relates to the Catholic tradition. Fire is one of the most ancient liturgical symbols. Fire is also a symbol of light. It is a symbol of penetrating darkness and a symbol of the Trinity. He is referred to as “the light of the world”. “This fire of God's love, baptizing us, illuminating, warming, and purging us, manifested before Moses in the burning bush and at the Pentecost when tongues of flame appeared over the Apostles' heads” (FishEaters). Fire can be seen in the Catholic church through candles and the Tabernacle Lamp. “The chalice is a a bowl-shaped drinking vessel, cup or bowl, especially the Eucharistic cup...[It] is a symbol of Holy Communion and the forgiveness of sin won by Christ's blood shed on the cross” (Catholic Saints). The Chalice is the most decorated and important objects. It is made out of gold and silver with jewels and images that relate to the Eucharist and/or the Last Supper. Famous Unitarians “Just in the United States and Canada, there are approximately 225,000 Unitarian Universalists, and 1,000 congregations. There are about 800,000 Unitarians worldwide” (UUA). Founder The founder of Unitarianism is Francis David. During the 16th century, there was a religious divide between Christianity, Calvinists and Lutherans in Transylvania. King John Sigismund issued an order stating that each person was free to support their chosen Christianity creed as a compromise. This allowed Francis David, of the reformed Calvinist tradition, to investigate questions concerning the Trinity and of Jesus. A ten long day debate occurred, where each person was free to speak about their beliefs. David persuaded King Sigismund, and he declared himself as Unitarian. In 1571, Unitarianism was given legal approval. David began to preach vigorously, after the King died, and even after the Prince ordered him to stop. David had more questions about the Last Supper, baptism and the worship of Jesus. He was arrested for the crimes of innovation, questioning and challenging religious belief. He was found guilty and died in prison on November 15, 1579. This Religion in Canada

Every congregation in Canada follows the same principles:
•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.
The people that are Unitarians, and the ministers are from a wide variety of cultural, ethnic and racial backgrounds. Society Issues Unitarian-Specific Holidays Unitarians celebrate holidays that is specific to their faith. These holidays include the Flower Communion, Water Communion, and Chalica.
The Flower Communion is held in spring, where the members bring a flower to the Sunday service, and place it in a vase on the alter. The flowers are then blessed by the minister. At the end of the service, the members that brought a flower take a different flower home. This is intended to symbolize that since there aren’t two flowers alike, there aren’t two people alike. Sacred Scripture An Austrian artist, Hans Deutsch created the symbol of a flaming chalice. At the time of its creation, during World War II, “[Its] design was made into a seal for papers and a badge for agents moving refugees to freedom. In time it became a symbol of Unitarian Universalism all around the world” (UUA 2013). The image to the Deutsch “had connotations of sacrifice and love” (UUA).
The chalice symbolizes sharing, generously and nourishment. The flame symbolizes sacrifice and courage. There are many different meanings and styles of the flaming chalice that occur. Unitarian Universalist Association states: “[T]he flaming chalice, like our faith, stands open to receive new truths that pass the tests of reason, justice, and compassion” (UUA). There is not one meaning or interpretation that is authorized. Each congregation is also not required to use the symbol, each one is free to use it as they want. “tolerance of all but intolerance” “Unitarianism is the first non-gay denomination to ordain women and gays to ministry, and to perform gay weddings” (UUA 2013). A gay wedding was performed in Winnipeg, Manitoba on February 11, 1974. The reverent read the reading of bans, which is a common law replacement for a marriage license. The first gay marriage that is known, although, was in 2001 in Toronto. Unitarians have supported gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer, for over 33 years, dating back to 1970. “Many of our congregations have completed a Welcoming Congregation program to increase understanding and inclusiveness, and extend their work beyond the congregational walls” (UUA). They are in full support of the events including: Gay Pride, Transgender Day of Remembrance, and National Coming Out Day. “Since 1963 - ten years before abortions were legal in this country and before most other religious organizations - Unitarian Universalists have supported the rights of women and their freedom to make faithful choices about their bodies and families” (UUA 2013). “[They] promote the right of all women to have children, not to have children, and to raise their children in safe and healthy environments” (UUA). They think that abortion is a choice for the woman to have, especially if the pregnancy results in the mother and/or child’s health being endangered. They want to obliterate the laws in regards to abortion. The word Unitarian was first used in Britain in 1673. It defined people who were protesting against the Trinity. This way of thinking then spread to Italy, Poland and Transylvania. In the countries other than England it was called Socinianism. At this time many who believed in the unity, or single aspect of God, were persecuted and sometimes killed. The Unitarian view became common in the Church of England in the seventeenth century. “The Bible is holy scripture because it is the living document and foundation of many important faiths, including Unitarian Universalism... [We have] been influenced and will continue to be influenced by [it]” (UUA). Even though the Bible was used in regards to the forming of Unitarianism, it is not the scripture that every person in the religion finds guidance from. Individuals that follow the Unitarian religion can use writings from other religions according to what they believe.
Catholics readily follow and believe in the Bible. It contains all of the information that is needed to know about God, Jesus, salvation and Christian life. The Bible is filled with wisdom and inspiration. It is Christianity's sacred scripture and believe that it is true. The Water Communion is held once a year, at the beginning of the church’s New Year in September. Each member brings a small amount of water from a place that is important to them, and each pours it into a large bowl. While it is being added, each member explains why the water that they are adding is important to them. The Chalica is a seven daylong celebration that begins on the first Monday in December. It celebrates the seven principles. On each day a chalice is lit, and every one reflects on that specific day’s principle. It began in 2005 and is still growing among Unitarians.Unitarians are free to also celebrate religious holidays of other religions, for example, Christmas, Passover, Hanukkah and Easter. There are many Unitarians that have become famous. There is not a certain ‘type’ of person that is a famous Unitarian. It varies from a circus owner to the creator of the World Wide Web and from a US President to a social reformer. The famous circus owner that was Unitarian was P.T. Barnum. He can be viewed as the most influential showman of the nineteenth century. He joined Unitarianism after he realized that no other religion suited him, and followed in his grandfather’s footsteps in joining that religion. The creator of the World Wide Web was Tim Berners-Lee. He rejected his Protestant Christian upbringing and joined the Unitarian congregation after he developed the Internet. The US President that was a Unitarian was Thomas Jefferson, the author of the Declaration of Independence. Although he did not officially join a Unitarian church, he readily attended their services. He also spoke to John Quincy Adams, who is Unitarian, about the religion. The social reformer, Dorothea Dix, was the creator of the first American mental Asylums. There is presently a place of worship named after her in Bordentown, New Jersey. Other notable Unitarians include Herman Melville, the author of Moby Dick Robert Munsch, Canadian children’s author Emily Stowe, the first woman doctor in Canada The Canadian Unitarian Council was created in 1940. “The Canadian Unitarian Council is a strong, respected Canadian voice for a vibrant, liberal faith community, relevant to contemporary life in the twenty-first century” (CUC, 2012). It respects the diversity of Canada’s cultural mosaic. Unitarianism originally came to Canada because of its close roots to Great Britain. Immigrants brought over their Unitarian beliefs to Canada. The first established congregation formed in Montreal in 1842. There was a large growth in numbers and separate congregations that were formed since that time. Eventually Canadian Unitarian Council was formed in 1961. The closest Unitarian congregation is in Stratford. They are currently under a phase of development and only meet once a month. There are also congregations in London, Sarnia Durham Kitchener Works Cited

Canadian Unitarian Council. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 May 2013. <http://cuc.ca/>.
"Chalice Christian Symbol." Catholic Saints. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 May 2013.
<http://www.catholic-saints.info/catholic-symbols/chalice-christian-symbol.htm>.
"Fire." Fish Eaters. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 May 2013. <http://www.fisheaters.com/fire.html>.
"History of Unitarianism." BBC. N.p., 21 Sept. 2009. Web. 26 May 2013. <http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/unitarianism/history/history.shtml>.
Ruston, Alan. "Unitarian History." Unitarians: many beliefs, one faith. N.p., 2013. Web. 26 May 2013. <http://www.unitarian.org.uk/intro/history.shtml>.
Unitarian Universalist Association. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 May 2013. <http://uua.org/index.shtml>.
Unitarians. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 May 2013. <http://www.unitarian.org.uk/intro/index.shtml>.
"Unitarian Worship." BBC. N.p., 21 Sept. 2009. Web. 26 May 2013.
<http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/unitarianism/worship/worship.shtml>.
"Unitarianism ." N.p., 2013. Web. 26 May 2013.
<http://www.apttoteach.org/Theology/Christ/pdf/515_Unitarian_Universalist.pdf>. This symbol relates to the Catholic tradition. Fire is one of the most ancient liturgical symbols. Fire is also a symbol of light. It is a symbol of penetrating darkness and a symbol of the Trinity. He is referred to as “the light of the world”. “This fire of God's love, baptizing us, illuminating, warming, and purging us, manifested before Moses in the burning bush and at the Pentecost when tongues of flame appeared over the Apostles' heads” (FishEaters). Fire can be seen in the Catholic church through candles and the Tabernacle Lamp. “The chalice is a a bowl-shaped drinking vessel, cup or bowl, especially the Eucharistic cup...[It] is a symbol of Holy Communion and the forgiveness of sin won by Christ's blood shed on the cross” (Catholic Saints). The Chalice is the most decorated and important objects. It is made out of gold and silver with jewels and images that relate to the Eucharist and/or the Last Supper.
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