Unitarian Universalism: What’s in a name?

Excerpts from “What Unitarians and Universalists Believe” by Rev. Charles EddisAntique analog clock

The word “Unitarian” comes from a distinguishing belief its founders held four centuries ago in the unity of God, in contrast to the Christian belief in the Trinity, God in three persons.

The word “Universalist” comes from a belief in universal salvation: the belief that Jesus achieved what he set out to do in dying on the cross, thereby saving the human race from perdition. All souls were ultimately saved, whatever their beliefs or morals. Universalists became popularly known as “the no hell church.”

Establishing roots in the United States in the 19th century, many early Universalists agreed with Unitarians on the undivided oneness of deity. In the 20th century their church became much broader, many Universalists focussing on the universal insights and values of all religions.

UUs in North America: The UUA and the CUC

In 1961, the American Unitarian Association and the Universalist Church of America merged to form the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA). The Canadian Unitarian Council (CUC) formed the same year as a national group under the continental framework of the UUA. Over time, the relationship between the two organizations evolved, leading to the independence of the CUC in 2002.

The following addresses were offered by Canadian UU Ministers at a time of great transition: the CUC’s growth from UUA affiliate into full-fledged national association of congregations.

Celebrating the Living Tradition of our Canadian Unitarian Movement