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What We Believe

Mission Statement

We gather together to: Nurture the Spirit. Engage the Mind. Inspire Action.

Ends Statements

We, the people of First Church, build community where we:

  1. Value, develop, and celebrate the gifts that come from authentic connection across difference, emphasizing racial, ethnic, and generational difference.
  2. Recognize power differences and challenge injustice where it arises.
  3. Follow the leadership of people most affected by injustice, partnering to move the Milwaukee community toward justice.
  4. Generously give and receive support, connection, and care in times of joy and challenge.
  5. Promote Unitarian Universalism and our shared values in the world.
  6. Open ourselves to wonder, making ourselves vulnerable and available to find meaning, inspiration, and transformation.
  7. Create communal experiences celebrating our interconnectedness.
  8. Create accessible, courageous, and innovative welcome to people who might find a sense of belonging and a spiritual home with us.

These Ends Statements were developed by the Board of the First Unitarian Society of Milwaukee, based on input from church members, in Fall 2017.

Values

At the heart of First Church, we value:

  • Wonder
  • Authentic Connection
  • Love
  • Justice

What our Church Stands for

As Unitarian Universalists, we affirm the following beliefs:

  • The inherent worth and dignity of every person.
  • Justice, equity, and compassion in human relations.
  • Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations.
  • A free and responsible search for truth and meaning.
  • The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large.
  • The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all.
  • Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.

Unitarian Universalists promote these Seven Principles as strong values and moral guides. These are not dogma or doctrine, but a guide for those who choose to participate in Unitarian Universalist communities. The sources for these principles come from the world’s religions, from humanist teachings based on reason and science, and from other spiritual and ethical traditions.

A Conversation about UU Principles in the 21st Century

The Seven Principles are part of our Unitarian Universalist Living Tradition, often referred to as what our church stands for (above). In creating the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) bylaws, a covenant was formed that the member congregations would affirm and promote the Seven Principles.

At the 2017 General Assembly (GA), participants noted that the Seven Principles had not been updated regularly and they do not address our commitment to anti-racism, anti-oppression, and multiculturalism. A Study Commission was appointed to review the Principles and propose revisions through a lens of love in action.

That Commission must submit its proposal to the UU Board of Trustees in January 2022 so that the GA 2022 may vote on it. It will soon be time for our congregation to examine our values and determine whether they align with any proposed revisions, so our delegates to GA vote our values in this matter that would have lasting impact on our church community.

Please find a complete article from the First Church Future of the 7 Principles Team which discusses:

  1. What is it called?
  2. Why is it happening?
  3. Why is it happening now?
  4. What is the UUA doing to address it?
  5. How does it affect our church?
  6. Where can we learn more about it?
  7. Let’s talk about it!

Unitarian Universalist History

Unitarian Universalism is a liberal religious tradition. The Unitarian part traces back to Europe in the 1500s, with the belief in the unity of God rather than a trinity. Universalism originated with the belief in universal salvation, the idea that everyone will be saved and no one is eternally damned.

In 1961, Unitarians and Universalists merged into the Unitarian Universalist Association. Each of the 1,000-plus congregations around the world are democratic, govern themselves, and has its own unique character.

In the United States, prominent Unitarians and Universalists have included four U.S. presidents, many signers of the Declaration of Independence, and influential historical figures such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Susan B. Anthony, Henry David Thoreau, Louisa May Alcott, Clara Barton, Frank Lloyd Wright, Whitney M. Young, and Adlai Stevenson.

Unitarian Universalist Organizations

Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) represents the interests of more than 1,000 Unitarian Universalist congregations. It grew out of the 1961 consolidation of two religious denominations: the Universalists, organized in 1793, and the Unitarians, organized in 1825.

MidAmerica Region includes 194 congregations in North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Missouri, Kentucky, Michigan, western Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois.

UU World is the publication of the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations.

Winter Holiday Decorations, First Unitarian Society of Milwaukee