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Unitarian Universalist Church of Concord: Freedom in Faith

By Elisha Neubauer

It's no secret that Unitarian Universalism is a unique faith. They are a liberal faith, which means they operate with no specific religious creed or dogma. They welcome all backgrounds, ethnic groups, and belief systems; following a general set of seven principles throughout their daily lives.

According to Lea Smith, the Congregational Administrator of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Concord, Unitarian Universalists share a commitment to a "free and responsible search for truth and meaning." "This means we welcome people of all backgrounds and ethical belief systems to think and explore together," she explains. "We draw inspiration from liberal Christianity, Eastern religions and philosophies, indigenous peoples, humanist teachings, and more."

The UU Church of Concord has been operating in the area since April of 1827, albeit not in the same location. The first three church buildings were built in 1829 on land gifted to the congregation by Colonel William Kent. Unfortunately, tragedy struck and the buildings burnt to the ground while being fitted for gas illumination in 1854.

The congregation rose again, rebuilding in the same location, only to face misfortune yet again in 1889 in the form of another fire. They repaired the damaged areas, and continued operating in the revamped building. The current location was constructed in 1960 and has been in use ever since.

Since then, the congregation has continued to grow; adding new members consistently. "Our congregation includes 280 adult members, plus over 60 children and 100 adult friends, each with their own diverse backgrounds and beliefs," Smith states. "We are active in social justice issues locally, especially with Concord's refugees and in alleviating homelessness."

The church also strives to celebrate the planet, focusing on increasing their environmental sustainability. In addition, they offer an open-door policy. "We are a Welcoming Congregation to those who identify as LGBT+," says Smith. "We offer faith development classes for adults and children, opportunities to form rich connections and friendships, and a place to explore your own personal values and beliefs in a safe, supportive community."

The one major belief shared by all Unitarian Universalists is to follow the Seven Principles, which are exclusive to their faith. While these ethical guidelines are similar to several shared by other denominations, as a whole, they are completely unique to the UU faith. "The Seven Principles, like all things UU, were developed democratically with input from individual UU congregations across the nation," Smith details. "They are a set of ethical guidelines that UUs agree to live by as we share fellowship and spiritual growth as individuals and as a congregation."

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About The Author

Elisha Neubauer is a freelance editor, ghostwriter, book reviewer, and author. She is...

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