Liberal Religious Youth
Liberal Religious Youth was an autonomous, North American youth organization affiliated with the Unitarian Universalist Association. LRY was unique as a church youth group in that it was governed by its members, who were between the ages of fourteen and nineteen years old, with adults serving only in an advisory capacity. Though partial funding and office space were provided by the UUA, primary funding was through an independent endowment, the investment of, controlled by the LRY board of directors. Continental LRY was run by an executive committee consisting of four or five full-time officers, elected to one-year positions by the board of directors. Executive committee members shared an apartment and office in Boston and, like the board of directors, were all under the age of twenty. Throughout the 1960s and most of the 1970s, the LRY office was in the UU headquarters at 25 Beacon street, Boston. In the late 1970s it was moved by the UUA to the basement of a smaller building behind the headquarters.
The LRY Executive Committee wrote program materials for youth groups and kept in touch with their international membership via their newspaper, "People Soup,", completely written and published by the youth staff. LRY was founded in 1954, before the official consolidation of the American Unitarian Association and the Universalist Church of America in 1961, has roots going back both to the Unitarian Young People's Religious Union, organized in 1896, the Universalist Young People's Christian Union, founded in 1898. In the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, LRYers were involved in the counterculture, civil rights and anti-war movements. At times these radical activities were sanctioned by their elders in the church, but at other times they were condemned. In the 1980s, these activities continued but, along with the rest of the country, the leadership of the Unitarian Universalist Association was becoming more conservative, relations between the leaders of LRY and the UUA became progressively more strained.
Because of ongoing conflict with Unitarian Universalist adult leadership, amid a great deal of controversy, LRY was disbanded in 1982. Within the Unitarian Universalist Association it was replaced in 1982 by a new youth program, Young Religious Unitarian Universalists. Many Unitarian Universalist congregations had a local LRY chapter, which had at least one meeting per month, with some groups meeting weekly; the "locals" were organized into regional federations, such as BSF, LAF, CMF, or the Iroquois Federation, the members of which elected officers to represent them on the continental board of directors. Many federations were organized into intermediate "regional committees" such as MiCon, NERC, MARC, etc. Regional committees and local groups hosted weekend conferences at UU churches or campgrounds, at which the members of locals got to know their fellow LRYers from other locals, or from other regions entirely. Many LRYers would travel great distances for particular conferences, hitchhiking was a popular mode of transportation.
Near the end of LRY, there was a growing population of LRYers who had no local group, only attended conferences. This was because some UU Churches refused to allow LRYers to have a local at their church anymore. Unitarian Universalist summer camps existed throughout the US and Canada, where campers formed lifelong friendships, many counselors were drawn from active LRY groups; these camps included Rowe in Massachusetts. Week-long summer conferences were held at many of these camps, non-UU camps were sometimes rented for events such as OPIK in Tar Hollow State Forest, the LRY Continental Conference, the location of which rotated throughout the US, Summer's End, which took place every Labor Day weekend in New England. Summer's End is now an autonomous conference. Carolyn Garcia – Merry Prankster and the wife of Jerry Garcia of The Grateful Dead. David Helvarg – noted environmentalist. Ray Kurzweil – author. Joyce Maynard – author. Joshua Prager – A physician leader in the field of neuromodulation.
Michael Ventura – author, screenwriter and founder of the LA weekly. Youth empowerment List of youth empowerment organizations The LRY Memorial Room The People Soup Archive—PDF scans of the LRY newspaper, 1973–1982
General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches
The General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches is the umbrella organisation for Unitarian, Free Christians and other liberal religious congregations in the United Kingdom and Ireland. It was formed in 1928, with denominational roots going back to the Great Ejection of 1662, its headquarters building is Essex Hall in central London, on the site of the first avowedly Unitarian chapel in England, set up in 1774. The GAUFCC brought together various traditions besides Unitarianism; these included English Presbyterianism, General Baptist, Liberal Christianity, Christian Universalism, Religious Humanism and Unitarian Universalism. Unitarians are now an open faith community celebrating diverse beliefs. Christopher Hill states that ideas such as anti-Trinitarianism, which scholars solemnly trace back to ancient times, were an integral part of “the lower-class heretical culture which burst into the open in the 16th century”; the cornerstones of this culture were anti-clericalism and a strong emphasis on biblical study, but there were specific heretical doctrines that had “an uncanny persistence”.
In addition to anti-Trinitarianism, there was a rejection of predestination and an embrace of millenarianism and hermeticism. Such ideas became "commonplace to 17th century Baptists, Diggers, Seekers, … early Quakers and other radical groupings which took part in the free-for-all discussions of the English Revolution". After the restoration of the Stuart monarchy and the resulting Act of Uniformity 1662, around 2,000 ministers left the established Church of England. Following the Act of Toleration 1689, many of these ministers preached in'non-conforming' congregations; the modern Unitarian denomination’s origins lay within this group of respectable Protestants who were reluctant to become Dissenters, the English Presbyterians. However, by the late 18th century, the influx of General Baptist congregations to the denomination established a direct lineage to this radical milieu although by now, much of the ‘heretical culture’ baggage had been jettisoned; until the passing of the Unitarian Relief Act in 1813 it was a criminal offence to deny the doctrine of the Trinity.
By 1825 a new body, the British and Foreign Unitarian Association, itself an amalgamation of three previous societies, was set up to co-ordinate denominational activities. However, there was a setback in 1837 when "the Presbyterian / Unitarian members were forced to withdraw from the General Body of Protestant Ministers which, for over a century, had represented the joint interests of the old established nonconformist groups in and around London". Around this time Presbyterian / Unitarian opinion was once again divided about how far the denomination should be associated with the label'Unitarian'. James Martineau, a Presbyterian minister based in Liverpool, pleaded for a'warmer' religion than the'critical and untrusting' Unitarianism of his day. In 1881 he helped to found the National Conference of Unitarian, Liberal Christian, Free Christian and other Non-Subscribing or Kindred Congregations – "a triumph, one might say, of Victorian verbosity, but the length of the name reflected the breadth of Martineau's vision".
Thus, from 1881 to the establishment of the GAUFCC, the denomination consisted of “two overlapping circles, one labelled ‘Unitarian’ and eager for organisation and propaganda, the other rejecting labels and treasuring comprehensiveness. Each side had its own college, its own newspaper and its own hymn book”. By 1928 these two "overlapping circles" had been reconciled in the same organisation: the GAUFCC. Over time the organisation has come to embrace philosophical diversity. "At one extreme are the'Free Christians'. The congregations of GAUFCC contain members. Indeed, Unitarians are able to embrace and gain insights from the great world religions, philosophies and modern sciences; because the Unitarian Church does not follow one set of rules, most Protestant denominations and Catholic dioceses do not recognise the baptisms or marriages it performs. The official name is used on formal occasions, but in general use the organisation refers to itself and its members as Unitarian; the General Assembly counts about 180 churches as members, including: Billingshurst Unitarian Chapel, 1754, West Sussex Brighton Unitarian Church, 1820, built by Amon Henry Wilds Bury Unitarian Church, in Bury, Lancashire Chowbent Chapel, in Atherton, Greater Manchester Cross Street Chapel, Manchester Cambridge Memorial Church, Cambridgeshire Dean Row Chapel, Cheshire Essex Church, the first Unitarian church in England, moved in 1880s from central London to Kensington Fulwood Old Chapel, in Sheffield Gellionnen Chapel, near Swansea Kendal Unitarian Chapel, Cumbria Mill Hill Chapel, on Leeds City Square Newington Green Unitarian Church, North London Nottage General Baptist & Unitarian Church near Porthcawl Octagon Chapel, Norwich Rivington Unitarian Chapel, in Lancashire Rosslyn Hill Unitarian Chapel, North London.
Vrijzinnige Geloofsgemeenschap NPB
The Vrijzinnige Geloofsgemeenschap NPB is a Christian denomination in the Netherlands, a member of the Dutch Raad van Kerken and the International Association for Religious Freedom. NPB stands for Nederlandse Protestanten Bond; the NPB has the structure of an association and consists of sixty independent local communities that call themselves by the neutral word afdeling. The Dutch Protestant Association NBP was established in 1870 by Cornelis Willem Opzoomer, Cornelis Tiele and others, it came as a reaction of liberal Protestants to the Confessionele vereniging created in 1864 and Orthodox Protestantism. From the NBP came the Centrale Commissie voor het Vrijzinnig Protestantisme that established the VPRO and was involved in the Leidse Bijbelvertaling, used by Dutch liberal Protestants for decades to follow. There can be significant differences between local communities constituting the association; some are based upon religious humanism, some upon Christian Universalism and some upon liberal Christianity.
All liberal-minded people may become members of the association regardless of membership in other Christian denominations, whether they are baptized or not or adhere to a certain creed. In liberal Protestantism the Bible is not seen as the Word of God in a literal sense, but rather as a document - a collection of meaningful stories - witnessing to the love of God, it is striven to connect faith with the insights of modern science and with rationality. Vrijzinnige Geloofsgemeenschap NPB NPB-kerk te Schiedam
Unitarian Christian Association
The Unitarian Christian Association is a small, though growing fellowship of Christians who feel an affinity with traditional Unitarianism and Free Christianity. The association is based in the United Kingdom and is an affiliated society of the General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches, has formal links with the European Liberal Protestant Network; the UCA has fraternal relations with European groups such as the Assemblée Fraternelle des Chrétiens Unitariens and Congregazione Italiana Cristiana Unitariana, along with North American groups such as the Unitarian Universalist Christian Fellowship and American Unitarian Conference. As such, the UCA should be considered to be part of three Christian subcultures—the distinct traditions of Unitarianism and Free Christianity, the broader'umbrella movement' of liberal Christianity; the Unitarian Christian Association, as its name suggests, exists to preserve and celebrate Unitarian Christianity. In short, the Unitarian Christian tradition is founded on a theological position that dissents from the doctrine of the Trinity instead affirming the unity of God and placing emphasis on the humanity of Jesus.
This strict monotheism is arguably more akin to Islamic and Jewish positions than the positions of larger Christian groups such as the Roman Catholic Church - and as a result, they may be regarded by some fellow Christians as'unorthodox' or'heretical'. In tandem with their aim to promote Unitarian Christian beliefs, the UCA maintains an ethos of theological open-mindedness and inclusivity shaped by its links with the Free Christian tradition; this is highlighted by the UCA's Foundational Declaration which states the following: "The Bible is central to our faith and Jesus is the Teacher and Master. We will search scripture for truth, interpreted by the authority of Conscience. All creeds and confessions restrict belief and the free Inquiry we need for Knowledge. By loving one another, we show ourselves to follow the example of the Jesus. In all things, in faith and deeds, we seek to follow the His Great Commandment that God is One and we should love God with all that we are, love neighbour as ourselves.
We know that how we act is much more important than what the words we say and that, in all times, the words of Jesus still show the way, more important than those uttered in days. Unity is found not by following and being obedient to His teachings; this we affirm." The UCA was formed in 1991 at the instigation of scholar and minister Lancelot Austin Garrard, as a response to theological revisionism within the General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches. The founders of the Unitarian Christian Association sought to uphold the original Unitarian Christian tradition of Francis David within the British Unitarian movement; the aims of the UCA were "to promote Unitarian Christian religion in the congregations of the General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches, to promote religious education within that tradition, to relieve need, hardship or distress of members of the Association, to undertake any other charitable purpose that may arise."They sought to achieve these aims through working together on explicitly Unitarian Christian publications such as The Herald, contributions to Hymns of Faith and Freedom, through the holding of explicitly Unitarian Christian meetings and services within churches affiliated with the General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches.
In its early years, the members of the UCA decided that they did not wish to apply for recognition as an official body affiliated to the General Assembly. But after the GA adopted new aims and objects which included "the upholding of the liberal Christian tradition," it was agreed that it would be appropriate to apply for recognition; the Unitarian Christian Association became an Affiliated Society in April 2002. Despite the clear friendship and warmth between Unitarian Christians and non-Christian Unitarians in the UK, there have been a series of debates within the Association and wider denomination - sometimes heated - over the future of Unitarian Christianity in the United Kingdom, the UCA's role in its preservation and continued development. In Spring 2006, a theological colloquium was held at Cambridge University by UCA members in order to discuss the future of Unitarianism and Free Christianity within Britain. Following this, UCA representatives met with representatives from the Assemblée Fraternelle des Chrétiens Unitariens and Congregazione Italiana Cristiano Unitariana to discuss the future of Unitarian Christianity on a wider international level.
From this meeting the Avignon Manifesto - a joint declaration of intent - was created and published for their members to individually ratify. The document affirmed their distinct identity as Unitarian Christians whilst signalling their intent to remain within the wider Unitarian and Free Christian traditions. In Ireland, a similar body is called the Non-subscribing Presbyterian Church of Ireland; the NSPCI use to be affiliated with the UCA. Non-subscribing Presbyterian Church of Ireland Christian Unitarianism Liberal Christians Unitarian Christian Association
Meadville Lombard Theological School
The Meadville Lombard Theological School is a Unitarian Universalist seminary in Chicago, Illinois. Meadville Lombard is a result of a merger in the 1930s between two institutions, a Unitarian seminary and a Universalist seminary. Meadville Theological School was founded in 1844 in Pennsylvania. Most of the original funding came from Harm Jan Huidekoper, a recent convert to Christian Unitarianism and a wealthy businessman, from the Independent Congregational Church. Meadville Theological School moved to Chicago and became affiliated with the University of Chicago in 1926, it began construction on its permanent building in 1929, located across the street from First Unitarian Church of Chicago and designed by the same architect. Lombard College was a Universalist institution in Galesburg, founded in 1853. From the 1880s to 1913 it was the seat of the Ryder School of Divinity; when the college closed in 1930, the Lombard charter was transferred to Meadville Theological School in Chicago. Bringing with it Lombard's privilege of a tax exemption, "one of only three in Illinois granting full tax-exempt status in perpetuity for all college-owned property."
The combined institution became Meadville Lombard Theological School. In the decade of the 2000s, the school implemented cost-cutting measures as its endowment declined in value from $18 million to $12 million, funding from the Unitarian Universalist Association was reduced. In 2005 Meadville Lombard made public their decision to hold merger talks with the other Unitarian Universalist seminary in the United States, Starr King School for the Ministry, but in July 2006 it was decided that a merger would not be in the best interest of the seminaries. In June 2010, Meadville Lombard and Andover Newton Theological School in Newton, affiliated with the American Baptist Churches USA and the United Church of Christ, announced plans to create a "new university-style institution" based at Andover Newton's campus with an interfaith model for theological education. Meadville Lombard would have become the Unitarian Universalist college in the new theological university; the two schools, Meadville Lombard and Andover Newton, announced they were seeking additional partners for the proposed institution.
They announced their intention to form the new university as a legal entity by June 15, 2011, but the two institutions withdrew from the plan in April 2011, citing issues related to governance and finances. In 2011, the seminary's Hyde Park buildings were sold and the school relocated to the Spertus Institute building in Chicago's downtown Loop. Meadville Lombard Theological School is one of two Unitarian Universalist seminaries and offers the following graduate degree programs: Master of Divinity, Master of Arts in Religion, the Master of Arts in Leadership Studies; the seminary's historic 16,000 sq. ft. Collegiate Gothic style building was erected in 1933 on 5701 S. Woodlawn Avenue, across from First Unitarian Church of Chicago and near the campus of the University of Chicago in Hyde Park. In 2011 the University of Chicago purchased the building and hired Kliment Halsband Architects to turn it into a home for the Neubauer Family Collegium for Culture and Society. Meadville Lombard is now located in the South Loop neighborhood of Chicago, sharing space with the Spertus Institute of Jewish Learning and Leadership.
The Rev. Jenkin Lloyd Jones, peace advocate, founder of All Souls Unitarian Church in Chicago. Wolf, late Senior Minister of All Souls Unitarian Church of Tulsa, Oklahoma; the Rev. James Luther Adams, former Professor of Ethics and Theology The Rev. William F. Schulz, affiliated faculty The Rev. Dr. William Sinkford, affiliated faculty Official website
In monotheistic thought, God is conceived of as the supreme being, creator deity, principal object of faith. The conceptions of God, as described by theologians include the attributes of omniscience, omnipresence, as having an eternal and necessary existence. Depending on one's kind of theism, these attributes are used either in way of analogy, or in a literal sense as distinct properties. God is most held to be incorporeal. Incorporeality and corporeality of God are related to conceptions of transcendence and immanence of God, with positions of synthesis such as the "immanent transcendence". Psychoanalyst Carl Jung equated religious ideas of God with transcendental aspects of consciousness in his interpretation; some religions describe God without reference to gender, while others or their translations use sex-specific terminology. Judaism attributes only a grammatical gender to God, using terms such as "Him" or "Father" for convenience. God has been conceived as either impersonal. In theism, God is the creator and sustainer of the universe, while in deism, God is the creator, but not the sustainer, of the universe.
In pantheism, God is the universe itself. In atheism, there is an absence of belief in God. In agnosticism, the existence of God is deemed unknowable. God has been conceived as the source of all moral obligation, the "greatest conceivable existent". Many notable philosophers have developed arguments against the existence of God. Monotheists refer to their gods using names prescribed by their respective religions, with some of these names referring to certain cultural ideas about their god's identity and attributes. In the ancient Egyptian era of Atenism the earliest recorded monotheistic religion, this deity was called Aten, premised on being the one "true" Supreme Being and creator of the universe. In the Hebrew Bible and Judaism, Adonai, YHWH and other names are used as the names of God. Yahweh and Jehovah, possible vocalizations of YHWH, are used in Christianity. In the Christian doctrine of the Trinity, coexisting in three "persons", is called the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit. In Islam, the name Allah is used, while Muslims have a multitude of titular names for God.
In Hinduism, Brahman is considered a monistic concept of God. In Chinese religion, Shangdi is conceived as the progenitor of the universe, intrinsic to it and bringing order to it. Other religions have names for the concept, for instance, Baha in the Bahá'í Faith, Waheguru in Sikhism, Sang Hyang Widhi Wasa in Balinese Hinduism, Ahura Mazda in Zoroastrianism; the many different conceptions of God, competing claims as to God's characteristics and actions, have led to the development of ideas of omnitheism, pandeism, or a perennial philosophy, which postulates that there is one underlying theological truth, of which all religions express a partial understanding, as to which "the devout in the various great world religions are in fact worshipping that one God, but through different, overlapping concepts". The earliest written form of the Germanic word God comes from the 6th-century Christian Codex Argenteus; the English word itself is derived from the Proto-Germanic * ǥuđan. The reconstructed Proto-Indo-European form * ǵhu-tó-m was based on the root * ǵhau-, which meant either "to call" or "to invoke".
The Germanic words for God were neuter—applying to both genders—but during the process of the Christianization of the Germanic peoples from their indigenous Germanic paganism, the words became a masculine syntactic form. In the English language, capitalization is used for names by which a god is known, including'God'; the capitalized form of god is not used for multiple gods or when used to refer to the generic idea of a deity. The English word God and its counterparts in other languages are used for any and all conceptions and, in spite of significant differences between religions, the term remains an English translation common to all; the same holds for Hebrew El, but in Judaism, God is given a proper name, the tetragrammaton YHWH, in origin the name of an Edomite or Midianite deity, Yahweh. In many translations of the Bible, when the word LORD is in all capitals, it signifies that the word represents the tetragrammaton. Allāh is the Arabic term with no plural used by Muslims and Arabic speaking Christians and Jews meaning "The God", while "ʾilāh" is the term used for a deity or a god in general.
God may be given a proper name in monotheistic currents of Hinduism which emphasize the personal nature of God, with early references to his name as Krishna-Vasudeva in Bhagavata or Vishnu and Hari. Ahura Mazda is the name for God used in Zoroastrianism. "Mazda", or rather the Avestan stem-form Mazdā-, nominative Mazdå, reflects Proto-Iranian *Mazdāh. It is taken to be the proper name of the spirit, like its Sanskrit cognate medhā, means "intelligence" or "wisdom". Both the Avestan and Sanskrit words reflect Proto-Indo-Iranian *mazdhā-, from Proto-Indo-European mn̩sdʰeh1 meaning "placing one's mind", hence "wise". Waheguru is a term most used in Sikhism to refer to God, it means "Wonderful Teacher" in the Punjabi language. Vāhi means "wonderful" and guru is a term denoting "teacher". Waheguru is described by some as an experience of ecstasy, beyond all descriptions; the most common usage of the word "Waheguru" is in the greeting Sikhs use with each other: Baha, the "greates