Unitarianism

Jessica Currie

Unitarian Beliefs

Unitarians believe that the truth of the world has not been entirely found yet. No religion is completely correct. Diversity and equality within genders is supported. Religious Freedom is promoted as well as rational thought opposed to external authority. Religious principles are formed through conscience, thinking, and life experiences. inspiration is reached by portraying humanity as one. conflicts between religion and science doesn't change their beliefs. Everything is unified through a single reality. Humans aren't born with original sin, everyone has potential to do good, and evil things are resulted from human actions. Humans don't need God's intervention to grant them salvation. God is not believed by every Unitarian, but most do believe in God. The idea of the doctrine of the Trinity is rejected, God is seen as one being. Jesus in Unitarianism is simply just a man, not God.
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Origins

Unitarianism began out of the Protestant Reformation in the 1560s, starting in Poland and Transylvania. Unitarian ideas arrived into England in the mid 1600s and the first Unitarian Congregation existed in 1774 in Essex founded by Theophilus Lindsey. Unitarian beliefs were brought into America with the Universalist Church of America was founded in 1793 and the American Unitarian Association was founded in 1825. The American Unitarians focused on more humanist ideas than anywhere else in the world. Unitarians of America encompasses liberal Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Humanists, and neo pagans. The American Unitarianism movement did not result off of influence from Europe but from the Great Awakening in the 1740s and the Calvinist ideas that contained it. A turning point in the Religion was in 1819 when William Channing gave a sermon on Unitarian Christianity. In this sermon he brought up the foundations of the religion. He discussed ideas such as the unity of God, the important of reason in the bible, the importance of human nature in discovering religious truth, and the rejection of original sin and the Trinity. These ideas became core beliefs for many in the Unitarian religion. In 20 years, Unitarianism was influenced by Transcendentalist ideas. Now over 225,000 people in America are part of the Unitarianism religion.
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Practices

Religious services are held on Sundays which includes a sermon given by a minister or a lay leader, singing of hymns, sharing of joys and concerns, and a prayer meditation/silence. Unitarians have their own hymnals and songbooks with Christian, Native American, and Buddhist influences.

Special ceremonies are given for child dedication, coming of age, marriage, and death. People usually give out their own belief statement in the coming of age ceremony. Communion in practiced in the form of Flower and Water Communion which are practiced once a year.

  • In Flower Communion, each member brings a flower to the service, place it in a vase, then the minister consecrates the flowers and each member takes a new flower upon leaving. This resembles that no two flowers are alike as no two humans. By exchanging flowers, we show that we are willing to search for the truth together, disregarding that all might divide us. This is held in the spring time.
  • In Water Communion, everyone brings in the waters they have collected all from different places, close or far away in the world, and add their amounts into a bowl and the person describes where the water came from. This represents the comingled lives of the congregation. The water is saved for the next year, showing the connection of lives over the years. Water Communion is held in the fall.

Leaders of Unitarianism

Martin Cellarius (1499-1564) was the first person to rejected the idea of the trinity notation of 3 persons in one god. In Unitarianism, it is widely believed that God is one being. This movement started in 1527 by Martin Cellarius in his work De Operibus Dei. The roots of Unitarianism and a major belief in Unitarianism can be linked to Martin Cellarius.


Theophilus Lindsey (1723-1808) founded the first Unitarian church in England in 1774. The non-Anglican churches in England were persecuted for awhile. Men have been executed for not believing the Trinity, which Theophilus Lindsey also rejects. Later on Unitarians in Britain would advocate for social reform including anti-slavery in Britain. Without Theophilus Lindsey's efforts to create the first Unitarian Church in England, advocating for anti-slavery could have been different.


Robert Spears (1825-1899) was an Unitarian minister in Britain. He drew in large numbers of people into the Unitarian faith. He had republished works of many Unitarians like William Channing's and created many cheap editions that gave people easier access to Unitarianism. Unitarianism needed a strong voice and Robert Spears was the person who could provide that. In 1876 he founded Christian Life, supported many congregations in Britain, founded pioneering organizations and in 1886, he founded Channing House School in Highgate for people of the religion. He was also a supporter of women's rights and held the first public meeting in Britain that focused on the women's right to vote in 1868.

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