How to Convert to Unitarian Universalism

Unitarian Universalism is a small but established religion that does not give its members set answers about what to believe. Its members work for a better world and enjoy a wide diversity of opinions . Many people come to Unitarian Universalism because they want a religion for themselves or their children that doesn't scare or patronize them, while still providing community and a chance each week to look at the "big picture" of life or engage with pressing social issues. In the UK the Church is known as the Unitarian Church and some congregations use the full title of the denomination "Unitarian and Free Christian Church".Styles of worship and theology can vary significantly between congregations, so investigate a few if you don't feel comfortable in the first one you visit.The BBC has a good overview of Unitarianism on its web pages.


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    Know that you are not alone. Many people are Unitarian Universalists. You may have heard of "Unitarian" but not "Universalist." They used to be two separate religions but merged into one denomination in the early 1960s. Thomas Jefferson was a Unitarian (which later became Unitarian Universalism) and there are many more examples of famous reformers who came from one side or the other of the faith.
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    Understand that Unitarian Universalism is a non dogmatic religion without a creed that you must accept. In this religion, you are free to explore, refine, and change your religious beliefs. If you don't believe that others are similarly allowed to explore and express their own beliefs, you will probably find yourself uncomfortable in a UU congregation. "The worth and dignity of every person" is a common theme among UUs, who tend to support liberal causes. Although it is entirely possible to be a religious liberal and a political conservative, it can be a challenge to be a UU because the members generally hold very liberal views on such issues as economic fairness, gay rights, immigration reform, etc. Political conservatives may need to insist on their right to hold their own views and remind other UUs what it means to accept diversity.
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    Find a church in your area. This could be done by using Google Maps or visiting the website of the Unitarian Universalist Association ( There are many UU churches around the world. Most congregations will accept you and are used to people visiting just to learn about their religion.
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    Ask questions. UUs love questions and the questioning spirit! That's why most of them came to this faith. After your first service, you will most likely have many questions. If the congregation has a minister, she or he will be glad to talk with you or make an appointment. If not, find someone to talk with at the social hour. They say, however, that "if you've seen one UU service, you've seen one UU service." Services can vary widely from week to week, even within one congregation, so find out the upcoming service topics, pick a few interesting ones, and attend more than once.
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    Sign the membership book. Once you decide that you want to make a commitment to the congregation, find out from the minister or one of your new UU acquaintances what you would need to do to become a member. There may be an orientation class to attend, or it may be as simple as signing your name to a membership book.


  • If you have "baggage" from bad experiences in other religions, such as your childhood religion, you may need to work to resolve those old feelings so that you can move forward in a positive way with your new religious community.
  • Get involved right away! Your own initiative makes the difference in feeling connected to the congregation. Join an interest group, volunteer to help serve coffee during social hour, or find a committee on which you would like to serve. Financial support is also expected but the amount is left to the individual to decide. As you become more involved, you will usually want to pledge more towards the congregation's mission, activities, and operating expenses. After all, you'll want the doors to be open for the next seeker such as yourself!


  • This is not an "anything goes" religion. You will not feel comfortable if, for instance, you denigrate other people or just want an audience for your favorite cause.
  • If you are homophobic, racist, sexist, ageist, or intolerant of any other broad classes of people, expect your views to be challenged. Unitarian Universalism was one of the first denominations to ordain gays and lesbians and to sanctify the relationships of same-sex couples in religious ceremonies. The denomination was also early to ordain women, and women ministerial school graduates currently outnumber men.
  • If you are uncomfortable with hearing views that are different from your own, and/or cannot discuss views without blatantly attacking anyone who disagrees, you probably won't be comfortable in a UU congregation.
  • Some Unitarian Universalists are hesitant to refer to their group as a "church." Many grew up unchurched, or in synagogues or other houses of worship, and bristle at the idea of going to "church." This will vary from place to place, so be sensitive to the conventions of your particular group.
  • In your enthusiasm for your new religion, be tactful with others. Some people may be interested, but others who already have a religious affiliation may not be interested in yours. Go ahead and share if someone appears interested, but don't try to convert others in a heavy-handed or insensitive way.
  • Deliberately disruptive or disrespectful behavior will not be condoned. You'll find a lot of acceptance and interest if you're sincere. But if you're just here to cause trouble, this will not be a good religious home for you.
  • You may have to drive a distance to attend a physical congregation. UU congregations are often easily up to 100 miles (160 km) apart (even more in some states) If distance is an issue, see if you can carpool with someone from the congregation who lives near you. Another option is the Church Of The Larger Fellowship (, an online congregation.

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