who we are

First Unitarian Society of Madison is comprised of people seeking a supportive environment with kindred spirits to accompany them on their spiritual and ethical journey. We come from many backgrounds. Some of us are refugees from the world of orthodox religion; others are looking for an alternative to the soulless consumerism that has become the dominant “religion” of our time; still others are parents, educators, or activists who have a vision of a better world. We agree there is no single, superior path but instead many possibilities. We have chosen to spend at least part of that journey together in community.

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what we believe

Unitarian Universalism has always taught that deeds matter more than creeds, and that the quality of our lives counts for more than the correctness of our beliefs.

Our Bond of Union, Mission Statement, and the Principles and Sources of our National Association guide us in spiritual exploration that we trust will lead to greater insight and to informed ethical action.

our continuing bond of union

We whose names are hereunto inscribed, desiring a religious organization in the spirit of Jesus of Nazareth, which shall make integrity of life its first aim and leave thought free, associate ourselves together as the First Unitarian Society of Madison and accept to its membership those of whatever theological opinion who wish to unite with us in the promotion of truth, righteousness, reverence and charity among all. (1879, amended & re-affirmed in 1980)

a contemporary mission statement

The First Unitarian Society is a community where curious seekers gather to explore spiritual, ethical and social issues in an accepting and nurturing environment. Unitarian Universalism supports the freedom of conscience of each individual as together we seek to be a force for good in the world. (circa 2003)

principles and sources

While our congregation is an independent and autonomous entity, we belong to and support the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA), which provides services and resources to more than 1,000 member societies. Our denomination’s Principles and Sources are the product of much reflection and grass-root discussion. They are periodically revisited and revised, most recently in the mid-1980s. These are not meant to be treated as “doctrine,” but rather as aspirational statements that we strive to live up to. (1984)

the seven principles

We affirm and promote:

1st Principle: The inherent worth and dignity of every person;

2nd Principle: Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;

3rd Principle: Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;

4th Principle: A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;

5th Principle: The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large;

6th Principle: The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;

7th Principle: Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.

the six sources

We draw from:

Direct experience of that transcending mystery and wonder, affirmed in all cultures, which moves us to a renewal of the spirit and an openness to the forces which create and uphold life;

Words and deeds of prophetic women and men which challenge us to confront powers and structures of evil with justice, compassion, and the transforming power of love;

Wisdom from the world’s religions which inspires us in our ethical and spiritual life;

Jewish and Christian teachings which call us to respond to God’s love by loving our neighbors as ourselves;

Humanist teachings which counsel us to heed the guidance of reason and the results of science, and warn us against idolatries of the mind and spirit;

Spiritual teachings of Earth-centered traditions which celebrate the sacred circle of life and instruct us to live in harmony with the rhythms of nature.