Voices of A Liberal Faith (high resolution)

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Speaker 1: People often
say that we’ve always been Unitarian
Universalist, but we just didn’t know what to call it. Speaker 2: We were a
mixed marriage, Jewish and Congregationalist. And we just tried Unitarianism
and we came for our children and we stayed for ourselves. Speaker 3: I grew up in
Texas to a Muslim community. And so a lot of
the community life was centered around the mosque. I feel like with
Unitarian Universalism, I’m able to get that really
strong and important, I think, feeling of building
beloved community. Speaker 4: Everyone
here knows who I am. They know who the woman
I’ve been in a relationship with 15 years is. They appreciate that
relationship and they respect it. And I’m encouraged
to come and be me. And that is the first place
I’ve ever been able to be me. Speaker 5: I invite
you to join me in appreciating the unspeakable
beauty of what happens here week after week. [SINGING] Speaker 6: So when
people ask me, what is Unitarian Universalism? I like to pull out the first
principle of the inherent worth and dignity of every person. Speaker 7: We have a
spectrum theologically that runs from
Christianity and Judaism to atheism, agnosticism. Speaker 8: We’re not the
kind of church that says, if you don’t believe in our
God, you’re going to hell. Speaker 9: People who come
out of a variety of faiths can come together here, knowing
that their particular way of understanding
truth and meaning will be appreciated
and accepted. Speaker 10: This is a
place where you’re welcome, where you’re invited
into a fuller relationship with yourself,
with the spirit of life, with other people, to
build a better world and to build a better you. Speaker 11: You walk in the door
and it’s like, hi, who are you? Come in. And immediately, you
feel that you have inherent worth as a person. Speaker 12: It’s just
the most amazing thing to be nourished, body
and soul, by a community. Speaker 13: People
in my generation, they’ll say they’re spiritual
but they’re not religious. They don’t like
organized religion. In the UU church, I
mean, yeah it’s a church, but it’s non-creed-oriented. It’s open. It’s welcoming. Speaker 11: I can
bring my atheist mother here and my Catholic ex-husband,
my modern Orthodox-trained Jewish children. And we’re just all loved. Speaker 7: This liberal
religious tradition has a very distinctive
message, and it is attracting people that
haven’t been hearing it elsewhere. Speaker 2: It was liberating. It was freeing. It was challenging–
all those things that I was looking for
in a religious place and a religious community. Speaker 14: Once you
start to have children, it’s nice to have someone
else trying to teach them similar moral values. It’s really nice to
have it reinforced by a community in which
you feel comfortable and you feel like these values
are truly shared and important. Speaker 15: My oldest
is now in third grade, so she’s starting to get into
more of the conversations about social justice, about
neighboring faiths, about what other people believe,
about starting to identify what is important
to her and what is her beacon. Speaker 8: We
believe in community outreach and helping
us become better by helping the community. Speaker 16: In
Unitarian Universalism, we have a responsibility,
which is to provide people the opportunity to do the work
that it takes to figure out what their beliefs are. Speaker 17: We also
want them to have respect for the interdependent
web of all existence. So that will be a part of
our religious education. We want them to have
respect for themselves and for their bodies. So we do do comprehensive
sexuality education with children, which
we feel is a part of their spiritual growth. Speaker 18: Gives you
a whole perspective of how other people think
and how other people feel. And I think it just
makes you a nicer person. Speaker 19: The
trend more recently is for us to name our religious
education, lifespan, faith development. Because we recognize
that it’s a process that occurs throughout our lives,
regardless of our agent stage. Speaker 20: One of the things
that people don’t understand about our movement is
that it does really have a very rich
historical past, not only roots that go
back to the beginning of the Reformation in Europe,
and a very rich history in the United States
and colonial America. Speaker 21: I think what I
want folks in our congregations to know is that if
there’s a candidate for the great American
faith, it is us. Take a look at who signed the
Declaration of Independence, and you see our names there. Three of the first six American
presidents were Unitarian. And I’m pretty proud of the
country that we helped build. Speaker 22: This faith, the more
I learn about it and discover, is ingrained in the values that
the American Constitution is put together with. It’s about acceptance
and tolerance and liberty and freedom to believe. I think it’s inherent
in who we are as citizens of this country. Speaker 20: Most of the
idea of Universalism, although it had some
roots in England, is really indigenous
to our own country. Very simple, plain folks,
mostly farmers and tradespeople, who really did believe that a
loving God wouldn’t damn people to hell. Unitarians, although they also
believed in a benevolent God, put more stress on
what William Ellery Channing called character. He called it salvation
by character. He said, what matters
isn’t what you believe. It’s how you live your life. And Ralph Waldo Emerson and
all those other luminaries from the 19th century in the
Unitarian side of our movement made that kind of assertion. Speaker 21: For
both the Unitarians and the Universalists,
people in the church had a moral obligation
to reform society. And so it wasn’t simply
about getting your soul right with God. It really had very much to do
with helping your society live up to its highest principles. So by the mid-20th century, the
Unitarians and Universalists saw that had more
and more in common. And in 1961, they formed
the Unitarian Universalist Association and brought their
two traditions together. [SINGING] Speaker 7: Our philosophy is,
be out into the world six days a week and then come
in here and tell us how that informs your faith. Speaker 22: We are
about trying to improve the conditions in which a lot of
people live and make the world and our community a
much better place. Speaker 21: The
Unitarian Universalists sent more ministers to
Selma to join Martin Luther King in the civil rights march
than any other denomination. Speaker 23: That’s
one of the things I love about my church is that
activism and social justice are part of the principles, but
then they are really lived out. Speaker 3: Fighting
classism, sexism, homophobia, working on
environmental justice, really kind of creating the
world we want to create. Speaker 21: I think
that there are folks who are coming to
us right now in larger and larger numbers because
they’re looking for faiths that really respect
the earth and have a stake in the
environmental movement. And that’s always been
one of our values. Speaker 24: Our
elected leaders will be able to hear us if we
can speak from our hearts. Speaker 25: We’re really
trying to move forward as a congregation
or as a community. And so it’s really exciting
to be a part of something that is very progressive and
that is engaged and active. Speaker 26: This church,
from its inception, has been interested
in changing the world. Speaker 7: I don’t have a
minute to hate, she cried. I’ll pursue justice for
the rest of my life. May we go and do likewise. [SINGING] Speaker 10: If you
want a tradition, a religious tradition, that
respects you and challenges you at the same time to be your
best self in everything you do in your life, then this
is a tradition for you. Speaker 27: us commit ourselves
to living out our theology. Let us celebrate being
part of a reasonable and a passionate faith, a faith
that requires us to engage deeply with moral questions. This work is difficult.
And the discoveries will be different
for each of us. But we must always
remember that it is through our most human
quality, the ability to love, that we can touch the divine. So may it be, and amen. [SINGING] [MUSIC PLAYING]

 

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