Principles

Religious Principles

1. God’s presence is made known in a myriad of ways. Religion should promote a free and responsible search for truth, meaning, communion and love.

2. Reason is a gift from God. Religion should embrace reason and its progeny, including the scientific enterprise which explores God’s creation.

3. Free will is a gift from God. Religion should assist in the effort to find a path that exercises that gift in a responsible, constructive and ethical manner.

4. Conscious of the complexity of creation, of the limits of human understanding and of humanity’s capacity for evil in the name of religion, we hold that humility, religious tolerance and freedom of conscience should be a central part of any religious experience.

5. Religious experience is most fulfilling in the context of a tradition. Our religious tradition is the Unitarian tradition, which emphasizes the importance of reason in religion, tolerance and the unity of God.

6. Revelation is ongoing. Religion should draw inspiration not only from its own tradition but from other religious traditions, philosophy and the arts. Although paying due regard for the hard lessons learned in the past and to the importance of religious tradition, religion should not be stagnant but should employ reason and religious experience to evolve in a constructive, enlightened and fulfilling way.

7. Conscious of the spiritual and material needs of our fellow men and women, the evil they may be subjected to and the tragedies they may endure, works of mercy and compassion should be a part of any religious experience.

 Governance Principles

1. All persons were created equal before God. The AUC shall not discriminate against anyone except on the basis of character, qualifications or merit.

2. The AUC believes that separation of church and state is an important principle. Thus the AUC will not engage in political, policy or lobbying activity and make no political, policy or lobbying declarations except in narrow instances where government is directly affecting religious practice.

3. Being an association of free churches, each member church shall have the right to call or ordain any person it so chooses to the ministry based on its own criteria. The duties and responsibilities of the clergy shall be determined by each member church. The AUC shall maintain a list of associated ordained clergy.

4. Ministers shall have the right to associate with the American Unitarian Conference by using the AUC name as part of his or her title or otherwise once called or ordained unless that right is specifically revoked by the Board of the AUC. The only grounds for revoking this right of association are actions or statements inconsistent with the statement of religious principles of the AUC or actions or statements inconsistent with the AUC governance principles.

5. A member congregation shall have the right to use the name of the American Unitarian Conference as part of its name or otherwise once chartered by the AUC unless that right is specifically revoked by the Board of the AUC. The only grounds for revoking this right of association are actions or statements inconsistent with the statement of religious principles of the AUC or actions or statements inconsistent with the AUC governance principles.

6. Whether or not a congregation employs clergy shall not affect the standing of a congregation within the AUC.