Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Stanislaus County
What We Believe
|Though we cannot think alike, may we not love alike?||John Wesley|
Rev. Joe Cherry
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A liberal religious voice in the Central Valley since 1953.
Our detractors call us "The church that doesn't believe in anything." That is not true. We believe in many things. Our first belief is in the inherent worth and dignity of every person. It gets a little complicated after that, because some of us believe in God and some of us don't. Here is a whole page devoted to our beliefs, with links for further reading. You can scroll down, or click to:
Principles and Purposes
The Principles and Purposes of the Unitarian-Universalist Association (Our national organization) were adopted as bylaws by the 1984, 1985 and 1995 General assemblies.We, the member congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Association, covenant to affirm and promote:
The living tradition which we share draws from many sources:
The Heart of Our ReligionWhat is the heart of our religion?
To liberate beauty,
To do justice,
To keep doing justice in good times and in bad,
To carry forward the vision, sustained by hope and faith, the faith that rises up again and again, whispering to us that life is a blessing and what we do matters.
Rev. Laura Horton-Ludwig, in her sermon Deeds, not Creeds.
Alternate view of the Principles and Purposes
[Disclaimer: Ted Pack wrote this. He is a lay webmaster, not a minister. It is not a statement of belief by the UUF of SC.]
The Unitarians formally organized in the United States in 1825. As the name implies, they didn't believe in the Holy Trinity. The Universalists formally organized in 1793. As the name implies, they didn't believe in salvation by grace for just a few people; they believed in Universal salvation. Time passed. About 1841 Theodore Parker, a Unitarian minister, gave a famous sermon. He said that the things Jesus of Nazareth taught (Love one another, don't cast the first stone, words of hatred than come out of your mouth defile you more than any forbidden food you put into it . . .) made sense, even if Jesus wasn't the only begotten Son of God. This caused a stir in theological circles. Christianity is based on prophets and its savior. We, by contrast, are a non-prophet organization.
More time passed. We got more liberal. In 1961 the Unitarians merged with the Universalists to form the Unitarian-Universalist Association. The Unitarians got first billing because there were more of them, even though the Universalists were older.
At one point after the merge, the membership application for the UUA read "No statement of creed or belief, including this one, shall be a condition for membership." As a result, we got the reputation of being "The church that doesn't believe in anything." We believe in a lot of things, but we are not unanimous about them, the way the Catholics are about the Apostolic Creed. On any given issue we may be split 50-50, 90-10, or 35-35-25-05.
In the early 1980's, tired of being known as the church that didn't believe in anything, the UUA appointed a committee to come up with a statement of beliefs. They created the list of Principles and Purposes (above), plus the list of sources. If you read carefully, you can tell it was written in the early 1980's, by a committee.Some of our specific beliefs and practices, in no particular order:
What I believe, in 30 words or less.
We asked our members to answer either "What do you believe?" or "What drew you to our fellowship?" in 30 words or less. We used the 30-word limit to make it a challenge, and because we knew most web visitors would not wade through long paragraphs. Here is what they wrote:
For more along these lines, we had a service which asked everyone to answer the question What Does Being a Unitarian Universalist mean to You? It is in our Guest Sermon section.
We have three eloquent statements of belief for you, by
One of the best ways to see what we believe is to see what we do. Here in Stanislaus County, our members helped start the local chapters of NOW, Friends Outside, and the Sierra Club, for instance. Out of 135 members, we have eight returned Peace Corps Volunteers. We have veterans of the Marine Corps, too. We asked all of our members to list a few things they did that reflect the teachings of our church. Only a few did. Their responses are on the Members Page.
If you'd like to see what UU's have done over the years and across
If you have more questions after you read this, you can read UU Nashua's 100 Questions. It's from the booklet, "100 Questions that Non-members ask about Unitarian Universalism" by John Sias. It concentrates on the Theist and Humanist sides of UUism. Some people find it conservative. UU's come in many flavors. We have Buddhists and Wiccans as well as Christians and Jews.
If you'd like an outside opinion, Ontario Consultants on Religious
Tolerance has simple, non-judgmental descriptions of 63 different
religious faiths. In their words, "We describe dozens of faith groups as
accurately as we can, from Asatru to Christianity to Zoroastrianism."
2172 Kiernan Avenue
Modesto, California See a map
We have no mail service on Kiernan;
PO Box 1000
Salida, CA 95368
We are a liberal church and the only UU congregation in Stanislaus county. We serve Ceres, Denair, Escalon, Hickman, Hughson, Keyes, Manteca, Modesto, Oakdale, Patterson, Ripon, Riverbank, Salida, Turlock and Waterford. We welcome Agnostics, Atheists, Buddhists, Christians, Deists, Free-thinkers, Humanists, Jews, Pagans, Theists, Wiccans, and those who seek their own spiritual path. We welcome people without regard to race, physical ability, ethnicity or sexual orientation.