About Unitarian Universalism

2005 pride banner chalice

Unitarian Universalism (UUism) is a liberal religious faith grounded in the principle of covenant. UU communities come together in covenant of our shared principles. Our beliefs are diverse, and we walk our paths to spiritual discovery and truth together.

Unitarians are united by values rather than belief in one set of creed or dogma. Our values include acceptance of one another, compassion, and a commitment to justice and equity. We believe in exploring the mysteries of life, we believe in ethical living, we believe in living out our spirituality in this world by working for peace, justice, equality, democracy, and respect—for one another, as well as for the interdependent web of life, of which we are all a part.

We believe that it is not who or what you believe in that is important, but rather, how you live your life.

The 7 Principles of Unitarian Universalism

Unitarians draw inspiration from many religious, theological, philosophical and ethical sources, and as individuals and member congregations, we are bound together by our affirmation of our 7 principles:

We, the member congregations of the Canadian Unitarian Council, covenant to 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 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.

Further Reading:

The Canadian Unitarian Council (CUC)

CUC-Classic-Logo-300px

The CUC is the national organization for Unitarians, Unitarian Universalists, and Universalist Unitarians in Canada. The CUC is made up of member congregations to which it is accountable. It is a voice for our vibrant, liberal faith community, within the interfaith community in Canada, and within the international UU community. The CUC, through its small but dedicated staff, provides support for UUs and congregations across the country, fostering growth and outreach, particularly in the areas of lifespan religious education, spiritual growth, and social responsibility.

The CUC board of trustees is elected by delegates from member congregations at the Annual General Meeting, hosted by a Canadian congregation each year.

 Further Reading:

Frequently Asked Questions for Newcomers

What do UUs believe?

What do UUs believe?

We often have a hard time answering this question because UUs are not bound by a common religious belief. Instead, UUs covenant to uphold our shared principles. Our principles demonstrate that UUs believe in respect, equality, justice, peace, the democratic process, and living in harmony and sustainability with the earth. To read more about our religious perspective visit our Principles and Sources page. To get a sense of our Sunday services you may also be interested in our collection of Selected Sermons by Canadian UU ministers.


Can I have a UU minister officiate at my wedding?

Can I have a UU minister officiate at my wedding?

As well as professional UU ministers in Canada, the CUC supports a Lay Chaplaincy program that empowers lay leaders from congregations to perform rites of passage ceremonies, such as weddings, funeral or memorial services, and child dedications. These lay chaplains are registered in the province in which they work and are trained to work with you to craft a meaningful and personalized ceremony. To read more about the services lay chaplains provide visit our Rites of Passage page.


What does the flaming chalice mean?

What does the flaming chalice mean?

The flaming chalice is the religious symbol for Unitarian Universalism. In most UU congregations, we practice the shared tradition of lighting the flame of the chalice at the beginning of each worship service, uniting us in worship, and symbolizing the spirit of our work.

The image of a flame within a chalice was originally designed in 1941 by Hans Deutsch who was working with the Unitarian Service Committee (USC), attempting to assist Eastern Europeans escape Nazi persecution. The symbol was designed to give dignity and importance to the unknown USC, while also symbolizing the spirit of service. To read more about the history of the flaming chalice, visit the Unitarian Universalist Association Website.


Do Unitarian Congregations Welcome LGBTQ People?

Do Unitarian Congregations Welcome LGBTQ People?

Yes! Unitarian Universalist congregations extend a warm welcome to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) individuals, families, and communities. As a denomination, we also support same-sex marriage. We believe that love, friendship, support and commitment are the touchstones of every marriage. Our religion was one of the first in the world to ordain women and openly gay and lesbian ministers. For more information you can read about our Welcoming Congregations program.


How do I become a Unitarian?

How do I become a Unitarian?

Each UU congregation has its own path to membership. This Sunday may be your first or your five hundredth visit to one of our congregations. Either way, you are welcome! By sharing our UU values, you may already consider yourself a Unitarian. To read more about this idea, check out this essay by Rev. Dr. Phillip Hewett.


Is there a UU congregation in my town?

Is there a UU congregation in my town?

There are 50 member congregations and emerging groups in Canada, spread across the country. To find the nearest congregation to you, visit our Congregations page.


For more information, email info@cuc.ca