Canadian Unitarian Council Vision Statement
As Canadian Unitarian Universalists, we envision a world in which our interdependence calls us to love and justice.
As Canadian Unitarian Universalists:
Seven principles guide our choices,
Six sources nourish our spirits,
Five aspirations help us grow.
Principles – Seven Principles Guide Our Choices
As Unitarian Universalists we are guided to live by our seven Principles. We 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 inter-dependent web of all existence of which we are a part.
Sources – Six Sources Nourish Our Spirits
As free congregations we enter into this covenant, promising to one another our mutual trust and support.
The living tradition we share draws from many sources:
- Direct experience of that transcending mystery and wonder, affirmed in all cultures, which moves us to a renewal of spirit and an openness to the forces which create and uphold life.
- Words and deeds of prophetic women and men which challenge us to confront powers and structures of evil with justice, compassion and the transcending power of love.
- Wisdom from the world’s religions which inspires us in our ethical and spiritual life.
- Jewish and Christian teachings which call us to respond to God’s love by loving our neighbours as ourselves.
- Humanist teachings which counsel us to heed the guidance of reason and the results of science, and warn us against idolatries of the mind and spirit.
- Spiritual teaching of Earth-centered traditions which celebrate the sacred circle of life and instruct us to live in harmony with rhythms of nature.
Aspirations – Five Aspirations Help Us Grow
As Canadian Unitarian Universalists, we aspire to be:
- Deeply Connected
We strive to foster healthy relationships amongst and within UU communities, with the broader world and all life.
- Radically Inclusive
We strive to create hospitable, diverse, multi-generational communities.
- Actively Engaged
We strive to work joyfully for a just and compassionate society, experimenting with new forms of community.
- Theologically Alive
We seek to be ever-evolving in our understanding, open to new knowledge.
- Spiritually Grounded
We seek to transform through personal spiritual experiences and shared ritual.
Grateful for the religious pluralism which enriches and ennobles our faith, we are inspired to deepen our understanding and expand our vision.
Brief Reflections on the Seven Unitarian Universalist Principles
by Rev. Debra Faulk
Preamble: These seven principles were crafted by a committee with input invited from the entire continental membership. The wording went through a multi-year process before final acceptance in 1985. They are currently under review in both Canada and the United States for we truly recognize the dynamic nature of religious community which requires constant evaluation and re-affirmation. These principles are not a creed. They are meant to be guiding statements, that when posed to ourselves as questions, can clarify our ethical stand in the world.
The 1st Unitarian Universalist principle states that “We affirm and promote the inherent worth and dignity of every person.”
Simple and perhaps obvious at first reading – enacting it can be a challenge. What of the person we perceive committing injustice or undermining the dignity of another, do we affirm their inherent worth? Would doing so equate to supporting their actions? Acceptance of a person’s potential is not acceptance of abusive behaviour.
This principle is a demand to justice. As a guiding principle, it calls us to action, to work for issues of equality and anti-oppression – social, economic or political. It requires that we honour individual choice, ever aware of the influence of the individual on the wider society. It requires that we recognize our own inherent worth as well.
The 2nd Unitarian Universalist principle states that “We affirm and promote justice, equity and compassion in human relations.”
To be a justice seeking person requires a core of self-acceptance, a sense of personal dignity that translates into the recognition of the worth and dignity in everyone else. It has been said that justice is love at a distance. This love causes internal unrest in the face of inequity. Compassion literally means “to suffer with”. Living out of the capacity for compassion involves the willingness to witness pain in the world, be with it and not paralyzed by it. The call to justice and equity means to take an ethical stand in the face of injustice with compassion.
The 3rd Unitarian Universalist principle states that “We affirm and promote acceptance of one another and encouragement of spiritual growth in our congregations.”
The spiritual dimension of an individual or a community is vital and changing. At its best, it deepens and grows. With the acceptance of this aspect of growth we express our willingness to explore new ideas, to expand our perceptions and to suspend judgment – this is challenging and meaningful work.
The 4th Unitarian Universalist principle states that “We affirm and promote a free and responsible search for truth and meaning.”
In this statement is found the essence of our liberal faith tradition. We are each responsible for engaging in the quest to deepen our understanding of what is meaningful and true to us personally as well as communally. This is a dynamic and lifelong process, enhanced by having like-valued people to accompany us on the journey.
The 5th Unitarian Universalist principle states that “We affirm and promote the right of conscience and the use of democratic process within our congregations and the society at large.”
The 5th Unitarian Universalist principle offers a succinct expression of the importance of the individual in the context of community. The demand is to search one’s own conscience and then to contribute to the community. Participation, engagement and action are our responsibility if we strive to enact justice in the world.
The 6th Unitarian Universalist principle states that “We affirm and promote the goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all.”
It has been said that for peace to exist it must begin within the heart of each person. Peace is more than an absence of war; it is the presences of justice, equity for all persons. In community, we find support to be agents of this kind of transformation in the world.
The 7th Unitarian Universalist principle states that “We affirm and promote respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.”
The recognition of our place as merely a strand in the web of life invites us to be planetary stewards. As individuals and congregations, we reflect on how we can live as sustainably as possible and then put it into action.