Here we can bring our whole self: our full identity, our questioning mind, our expansive heart.
Together, we create a force more powerful than one person or one belief system. As Unitarian Universalists, we do not have to check our personal background and beliefs at the door: we join together on a journey that honors everywhere we’ve been before.
Unitarian Universalists believe more than one thing. We think for ourselves, and reflect together, about important questions
Unitarian Universalist congregations affirm and promote seven Principles, which we hold as strong values and moral guides. We live out these Principles within a “living tradition” of wisdom and spirituality, drawn from sources as diverse as science, poetry, scripture, and personal experience.
As Rev. Barbara Wells ten Hove explains, “The Principles are not dogma or doctrine, butrather a guide for those of us who choose to join and participate in Unitarian Universalist religious communities.”
1st Principle: The inherent worth and dignity of every person;
2nd Principle: Justice,equity and compassion in human relations;
3rd Principle: Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;
4th Principle: A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;
5th Principle: The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large;
6th Principle: The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;
7th Principle: Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.
The seven Principles and six Sources of the Unitarian Universalist Association grew out of the grassroots of our communities, were affirmed democratically, and are part of who we are. Read them as they are written in our UUA Bylaws.
Unitarian Universalism offers diverse and meaningful ways of connecting with the sacred. Whether we're sitting in Zen Buddhist meditation, listening for truth with Christian lectiodivina, praying to the spirit of life, or chanting in a circle at winter solstice, our spirituality is unbounded. Our stories and practices draws from our six sources of inspiration.
We may find joy by keeping a gratitude journal, peace by reflecting in meditation, hope by joining hands in a circle of prayer, connection while marching for justice, wisdom from hiking in the forest. As people of many beliefs, we are each encouraged to embrace and practice forms of spirituality that resonate with our hearts and minds.
Our communities are homes for people with a diversity of spiritual practices. Through our worshipservices and programs, we offer people the opportunity to learn more and go deeper. Find us near you to discover opportunities to deepen your spiritual practice.
Unitarian Universalism in Queens
The Unitarian Church of Flushing
Unitarianism has a long history in Flushing and Queens. Several efforts were made to establish a Unitarian congregation here as early as the late 1800's. Finally, a small group began meeting regularly in Flushing in 1905 (first at the Lend-a-Hand Club and later at the Masonic Temple). They incorporated the Church in 1908 and after setting up their regular programsandworship, began the work of collecting a building fund. This progressed with help from the American Unitarian Association and contributions from many other Unitarian congregations, as well as the Woman's Alliance.
Building a church began with the purchase of a lot on the corner of Central Avenue and Ash Street in Flushing — now known as 149th Street and Ash Avenue. The cornerstone was laid May 31,1914 with all appropriate ceremonies and on October 23 of that year, the first Service was held in the Sunday school room. By the fall of 1915 enough money was raised by members of the Congregation, either as loans or gifts, to complete the upper part of the church building and the Church was dedicated on Sunday, December 10, 1916, with what has been described as "a very impressive service."
One of the founding members of the congregation is now known well beyond the borders of Flushing: Lewis Howard Latimer (September 4, 1848 - December 11, 1928). His name and memory remain honored in the congregation and a special portrait hangs in the sanctuary, dedicated in 2003. Latimer, a descendant of slaves, was an inventor who collaborated with Thomas Edison on the development of the filament for the electric light. He was a member of the congregation until his death in 1928 and his family has continued its relationship with the church until this day.
The congregation became firmly established as, under the leadership of several different ministers, it grew in membershipandprogramming..
The congregation has been served by fourteen different ministers from 1905 through to the present, each bringing gifts and challenges to the membership
The Hollis Unitarian Church
We have to go back to 1922. It was a moment in time when the world appeared to return to a state of normalcy. Men wore black or gray suits, white shirts, black ties and gray trench coats. Women were to be seen but not heard. In May of thissameyear an official Unitarian institution was formed in Hollis. It was named “A Unitarian School of Religion and Preaching Services.” Its membership included 7 adults and 5 children
In the autumnof1922 Mary Lawrance was sent to this tiny congregation by Denominational Headquarters, which paid her salary. She was employed to take charge of an experiment known as the “Jamaica Movement.” By the end of the first year this tiny group grew to 30 children in the school along with 18 women registered in the Women‚s Alliance, a Unitarian group. In April 1924 the Denominational Headquarters decided to terminate the “Jamaica Experiment.” Led by Mary Lawrance, the congregation refused to disband.
InNovember1924 this emerging group formally organized and changed its‚ name from the Liberal Community Church to the Hollis Unitarian Church with 29 members. From 1925 to 1926 Mary Lawrance’s father William L. Lawrance served as minister. During the ministry of Kenneth C. Walker (1926-1930) in 1928 the Denominational Headquarters purchased a large house at 89-25 190th street in Hollis..
The property located at 190th street was affectionately known as The Meetinghouse. For 33 years it was home to the Hollis Unitarian Church, although, over the last 5 years of its tenure it functioned as a Sunday School and hosted the Coffee Hour. The Hollis Theater on Jamaica Avenue served as the house of worship for Sunday Services during this same 5 year time period. In1958 HUC initiated plans and started afund raising campaign for a new building. At this moment in time the Hollis congregation boasted an adult membership of 150 „Patrons‰ and 80 children.
The time in the life of HUC from 1960 to1976 was a periodmarkedwith struggle between form and matter. In 1960 the Hollis Unitarian Church was full of promise. The membership numbers were high. It was all systems go. HUC had a new building on Hillside Avenue at a central point in Queens. It came equipped with a full time minister, RE classes were full at all age levels, and the Sunday worship service was conducted according to form. The sanctuary was abundantly filled with natural sun light thanks to the massive windows at the front and the skylights that were located between the flat roof and the two sides of the building. The room was always filled with beautiful green plants and on every Sunday fresh flowers were provided at the service hour. HUC had an organist-choir director and a wonderful set of voices. The family structure was alive and well. The UU presence in Hollis, New York appeared to be growing,
By 1976 HUC membership fell to 50 pledging units. The children‚s RE program numbered no more than 10. Thanks to a faithful, steadfast few the Hollis Unitarian Church continued to meet the needs of its UU community. Several community outreach activities, which included the Thrift Boutique, the Hollis Creative Pre-School Center and the semi-annual auctions were what kept the church doors open. Over theensuingyears these activities brought many people into the building but few felt the need or desire to join this tiny group. Kate Lehman was the last minister to serve Hollis for a prolonged period of time from 1980 to 1988. She was hired on a part time basis but in reality she gave HUC full time service.
Over the many years of what started out as the „ Jamaica Experiment‰ the Hollis Unitarian Church, later changed to Congregation, served as a platform for manyofthe more notable ministers in the UU directory. To name just a few: Dale DeWitt, Vincent Silliman, Ralph Bailey, Allen Wells, John and Betsy Skeirik, Richard Neff and Donald and Aniko Harrington.
HUC had no shortage of talented people. It was home to artists, educators, writers, singers, comedians,thinkers,speakers and craftsmen. Many children grew up within HUC walls to become model citizens. When we count the years from 1922 to 2005, eighty-three years, it seems like a long time, but in the larger picture of time it is really just a brief moment. HUC closed the doors and sold the building in September 2005. There are still a hand full of members from the Hollis congregation who have joined the newly formed Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Queens.
To provide our diverse congregation,
and the larger Queens community,
with an energetic, spiritual home
that combines our artistic, environmental
and social values
with our joyous message of
love and compassion
We accept one another and encourage spiritual growth in our congregation.
As Unitarian Universalist we accept that spiritual growth is a life, long journey, and process.
We come to gather to support each other in this journey. Sermons adult religious education and personal spiritual practices provide the foundation for a life of reflection and spiritual exploration.
The stages of life provide new opportunities to develop our personal beliefs
Unitarian Universalism has two principal currents and two methodologies that exist sometimes smoothly, sometimes not so smoothly which are derived ultimately from the two traditions that formed the Association. The first is Unitarianism, which has historically been concerned with reason and ethics. The slogan for this current has been “salvation by character.” The second is Universalism, which has been concerned with healing, and for which the slogan has been “God is love.” Or, “Love over creed.”
from How to Be Spiritual But Not Religious in a Way That Actually Helps
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Here find a house of welcoming, Here find vision and hope ,Here be received as you truly are Unique and beautiful ,Your journey acknowledged , Your love honored,
Let us rejoice together
Words by Unitarian Unversalist minister Rev Brugnola
Leadership Retreat August 2015
space provided by Unitarian Universalist at Shelter Rock