Quarterfinals! What is the most UU thing of all time?

Quarterfinals! What is the most UU thing of all time?

From sixteen Really UU Things, readers have narrowed it down to eight Truly UU Things. Which deserve to go on to the Final Four?

Kenny Wiley
Photo of a woman with flaming chalice earrings and tattoo

Some Truly UU Things make great jewelry and tattoos. (© Nancy Pierce)

© Nancy Pierce


It’s on to the quarterfinals of our March Madness tournament to crown the Most UU Thing of All Time! (Skip ahead to read about the contestants or to cast your vote.)

You narrowed the field from sixteen Really UU Things last week to eight Truly UU Things. “Spirit of Life” and Lighting the Chalice were especially dominant in round one, and, like the selection committees that released the men’s NCAA bracket Sunday and the women’s field on Monday, your UU World March Madness committee is thrilled about some of the upcoming match-ups. The Seven Principles vs. Lighting the Chalice? Women in Ministry vs. Youth Rallies/Cons? How does one even choose? I’d suggest a committee meeting, but after Congregational Polity’s big win, perhaps only voting at a regional assembly will do.

The online response to UU March Madness so far has been outstanding. It’s been great to hear your suggestions for future contestants—Chalica? OverUUsing “UU” in the Middle of Words? We’re here for it—and we’re taking note of ways we can make the technology of this project easier to use and more accessible in future iterations.

Vote in the quarterfinals before Thursday morning, March 17, when the semifinals will begin. And keep an eye on our Facebook page as we highlight each quarterfinal match-up and invite your commentary.

The final showdown starts Monday, March 21 (which is, totally coincidentally, my 28th birthday), at which time you, dear souls, get to choose The Most UU Thing of All Time. (I’m still betting some of my inherent worth and dignity on “Spirit of Life,” but Lighting the Chalice and Boston have me nervous.)

Bracket 1

(1) “Spirit of Life”

© Christopher L. Walton“No other song, no other prayer, no other piece of liturgy is so well known and loved in Unitarian Universalism as ‘Spirit of Life’ by Carolyn McDade.” —Kimberly French

(9) Boston

© Christopher L. WaltonNo other city squeezes so much UU history into so few square miles. And from 1886 until 2013, the headquarters of the American Unitarian Association (later the UUA) stood right next to the gold-domed State House. From Coming of Age trips to seminarian-led tours to hanging out at UUA headquarters, there’s plenty for any UU to do in Beantown.

Bracket 2

(4) Youth Cons/Rallies

© Melissa BishopThere’s something about singing “Gathered Here” at 1 a.m. in candlelight with 85 of your closest, sleep-deprived friends. And don’t forget Mafia, Silent Football, and circle worships!

(5) Women in Ministry

© Nancy PierceStudying UU history means reading a lot about Dead White Guys from the nineteenth century—but now in the twenty-first century, a majority of UU ministers are women!

Bracket 3

(2) LGBTQ Advocacy

© UUAOur support for marriage equality and LGBTQ lives has deep roots and gave us the “Standing on the Side of Love” rallying cry we use for public witness.

(7) Congregational Polity

sculpture of 17th-century signers of congregational covenantOtherwise known as “How We Do Things and Why We (Think We) Get to Complain about the UUA and/or Our Minister.” (Seriously, though.)

Bracket 7

(3) Seven Principles (Six Sources)

calligraphy of 'We the member congregations' by Margaret Shepherd (detail)They’re not a creed because they’re ethical commitments, not beliefs, and we could change them if we wanted to, which we don’t.

(6) Lighting the Chalice

© August MillerThe flaming chalice symbol used by the Unitarian Service Committee while rescuing refugees in World War II evolved into the ritual that starts UU gatherings large and small.

How to play: Log in to your Facebook account before you cast your vote in this contest. (One ballot per person!) When you click "Start Voting" below, you'll see two images in each round, from the list above. Make your selection to go on to the next round. Enter your name after the last round and click "Enter" to record your vote.