Unitarian Universalism

History of Unitarian-Universalism

Fast Facts: History of Unitarian-Universalism
Overview Formal merger of Unitarians and Universalists in 1961, USA.
Date Founded 1961
Place Founded Boston, Massachusetts
Current Adherents 800,000

The doctrine of universalism has appeared occasionally in Christian theology since the early church. Origen of Alexandria (c.185-c.254) and Gregory of Nyssa (c.335 – after 394) are among its more famous exponents, although both spoke more in terms of hope and possibility than assured doctrine. In 1793, Universalism became a separate Christian denomination in the United States, which was eventually called the Universalist Church of America (UCA).

The doctrine of unitarianism (i.e. rejection of the Trinity) has also appeared occasionally in history, but it has been formally considered heresy since the Council of Nicea in 325. Unitarian churches were formed in the 16th century in Romania and Poland, and in 1553 Michael Servetus was famously burned at the stake for his unitarian views by John Calvin. In the United States, a Unitarian movement arose among Congregational churches in New England in the late 1700s, causing a major dispute with in the denomination. The American Unitarian Association (AUA) was founded as a separate denomination in 1825.

Over the years, both the UCA and AUA evolved into liberal, inclusive religions that shared much in common. In 1961, the American Unitarian Association was consolidated with the Universalist Church of America, forming the Unitarian Universalist Association.

Unitarian Universalists have historically been closely involved with civil rights and social justice movements. John Haynes Holmes, a UU minister, was among the founders of both the NAACP and the ACLU, chairing the latter for a time. Approximately 20% of Unitarian Universalist ministers marched with Martin Luther King, Jr., from Selma, Alabama, to Montgomery. UU ministers have been performing same-sex unions since at least the late 1960s.{1}

In 1995 the UUA helped establish the International Council of Unitarians and Universalists (ICUU).


  1. "Unitarian Universalism: Politics" - Wikipedia (accessed August 2006)

Article Info

Title History of Unitarian-Universalism
Last UpdatedJanuary 28, 2021
URL religionfacts.com/unitarian-universalism/history
Short URLrlft.co/1427
MLA Citation “History of Unitarian-Universalism.” ReligionFacts.com. 28 Jan. 2021. Web. Accessed 28 Oct. 2021. <religionfacts.com/unitarian-universalism/history>