About Unitarian Universalism
Unitarian Universalism creates change in ourselves, and in the world.
Seven days a week, UUs live their faith by doing. Whether in community with others or as individuals, we know that active, tangible expressions of love, justice, and peace are what make a difference.
Unitarian Universalist congregations are committed to seven Principles that include the value of each person, the need for justice and compassion, and the freedom and responsibility to determine our own beliefs. Our congregations promote these principles through regular worship, learning and personal growth, shared connection and care, social justice and service, celebration of life’s transitions, and much more.
Our faith tradition is diverse and inclusive. We grew from the union of two radical Christian groups: the Universalists, who organized in 1793, and the Unitarians, who organized in 1825.
They joined to become the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) in 1961. Both groups trace their roots in North America to the early Massachusetts settlers and the Framers of the Constitution. Across the globe, our legacy reaches back centuries to liberal religious pioneers in England, Poland, and Transylvania. Today, Unitarian Universalists include people of many beliefs who share UU values of peace, love, and understanding.
The Wider UU World
Each of the 1,000+ congregations in the United States, Canada, and overseas are democratic in polity and operation; that is, they govern themselves. We unite in the Unitarian Universalist Association to collaborate in work that goes beyond individual congregations.
Each congregation is associated with one of the UUA’s four Regions. BUF is a member of the Pacific Western Region.
Annually, General Assemblies for the UUA as a whole, and for each Region, are held to worship together, connect with fellow UU’s, learn best practices, and democratically decide on policies for the association.
Our Symbol: The Flaming Chalice
A flame within a chalice (a cup with a stem and foot) is a primary symbol of the Unitarian Universalist tradition. This symbol originated with the work of the Unitarian Service Committee to aid those who were fleeing from fascist nations during World War II.
To Unitarian Universalists today the flaming chalice is a symbol of hope, the sacred, the quest for truth, the warmth of community, the light of reason, and more.
We light a flaming chalice in worship to create a reverent space for reflection, prayer, and meditation.