Who We Are as a Denomination
The Unitarian Church of Staten Island is a member of the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations. Unitarian Universalism is the result of the merger of two separate denominations: Unitarianism and Universalism.
Originally, all Unitarians were Christians who did not believe in the Holy Trinity. Instead, they believed in the unity, or single aspect, of God.
Unitarianism emerged in America in the early 19th century, stressing the importance of rational thinking, of each person's direct relationship with God, and of the humanity of Jesus. By 1825, Unitarian ministers had formed a denomination called the American Unitarian Association. Members actively supported issues such as education reform, prison reform, moderation in temperance, ministry to the poor, and the abolition of slavery.
American Unitarianism went through many changes over the next 150 years, from the introduction of transcendentalist thought in the mid-1800s and humanist thought in the early 1930s. These contributed to the evolution of American Unitarianism into a more broad and flexible faith.
Unitarians have been very influential throughout American history, especially in politics and literature. Some famous Unitarians include John Adams, John Quincy Adams, Louisa May Alcott, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Paul Revere, William Howard Taft, and Frank Lloyd Wright.
As a theological doctrine, Universalism was a direct response to the Calvinist concept of predestination, that only the elected are chosen by God for salvation. Universalists held that all human beings will eventually be saved. Because of its loving and inclusive doctrine, Universalism quickly became popular in America, and the Universalist Church of America was formed in 1793.
Universalists were best known for supporting education and non-sectarian schools, but they also involved themselves in social issues including the separation of church and state, prison reform, capital punishment, the abolition of slavery, and women's rights.
After growing increasingly theologically and ethically close, the Unitarian and Universalist denominations consolidated in 1961 to form the new religion of Unitarian Universalism. Although Unitarian Universalism no longer solely holds traditional Unitarian or Universalist beliefs, it does draw directly on its heritage for much of its inspiration and grounding.
The Seven Principles of Unitarian Universalism
To learn about our Unitarian Universalist Principles click here:. http://www.uua.org/beliefs/principles/index.shtml
Who We Are as a Church
Sunday services at the Unitarian Church of Staten Island begin with musical selections at 10:45 a.m. Each week's service has a different theme, drawn from a variety of spiritual traditions and with topics that often embrace issues of social justice. The service expands on theme with music, the sermon and the choice of readings.
Newcomers are greeted as they enter through our library and are invited to sign our guest book and to join us for coffee hour in the Fellowship Hall, following the service.
Children begin most Sundays in the Sanctuary, where they participate with parents or caregivers for the first 15 minutes of the service. There they join in the music, opening readings and rituals, after which they are "sung out" to their individual classrooms with their teachers. See the Children & Youth page for a full description of services offered for the younger members of the congregation.
Childcare is provided for the littlest ones.
The church is a historic building, where members of the Staten Island Unitarian Universalist community have gathered together since 1895. The beautiful Rose Window was rescued from the demolition of the earlier church building and occupies a prominent position under the arched wooden roof of the chancel.
The service usually concludes by noon. Afterwards, one of our favorite social events takes place: coffee hour, featuring Fair Trade coffee, tea, light refreshments, and lots of lively conversation. This social time is a great way to meet church members. Feel free to ask questions about what's it's like to be a member or go to our Membership Page.
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