Who We Are as a Church
The Unitarian Church of Staten Island, dating from 1852, is the only Unitarian Universalist congregation intentionally founded by Transcendentalist Abolitionists, including nationally recognized political and intellectual leaders. (The History of Our Church) We have met in our current building since 1895. Sunday services begin with music at 10:45 a.m., ending at noon. Sermons, music, and readings draw from world religions, current events and the arts, with consistent themes of social justice and equality.
Newcomers are greeted and invited to sign our guest book. Coffee hour in the Fellowship Hall follows services, featuring Fair Trade coffee, tea, light refreshments, and conversation.
Children of all ages are most welcome. Most Sundays children begin services with their parents or caregivers, share in a story for all ages, then depart for classes or child care. (Religious Education)
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.
American Unitarianism went through many changes, 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. (Unitarian History)
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. (Universalist History)
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. (Unitarian Universalist History)
The Seven Principles of Unitarian Universalism
To learn about our Unitarian Universalist Principles click here: Our Unitarian Universalist Principles
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