For a tradition with old roots, we are also a young religious movement. This year marks the UUA’s golden anniversary—the fiftieth year since the consolidation of the American Unitarian Association and the Universalist Church of America into the new Unitarian Universalist Association. In fifty years, a new religious identity has emerged: “We’re UUs,” most of us now say. We have developed distinctive rites—the water ceremony and flower communion, for example—and symbols, such as the flaming chalice. We’re new enough that we remain unsure of our relationship to our parent traditions, sometimes proudly invoking them, sometimes treating them like irrelevant anachronisms. We’re still finding our way.
As religious liberals, we Unitarian Universalists don’t treat our institutions as divine. Far from it. But they belong to us and are the product not only of the Universalist and Unitarian leaders who shaped the UUA fifty years, but also of choices you and I make today.
In the essays that follow, longtime UU leaders look back on a few of the key moments in the UUA’s first fifty years. New UU leaders share some of their hopes for the future. The General Assembly in June will mark the Association’s golden anniversary with celebrations, worship services, lectures, and exhibits. Learn more at UUA.org/50th.
Key Moments in the UUA's First 50 Years, by Christopher L. Walton
A Good and Positive Venture, by O. Eugene Pickett
Doors Opened, by Carolyn S. Owen-Towle
The Unfulfilled Dream, by David E. Bumbaugh
The Life of the Spirit, by Denise T. Davidoff
Let Mission Drive Us, by Joanna Fontaine Crawford
With Diversity Comes Strength, by Barb Greve
Everything Changes, by Peter Morales