UU’s must develop their own creed.

UUs must develop their own creed.

Rev. Nancy McDonald Ladd’s excellent sermon podcast titled “By Heart” brought up something that I feel severely limits the potency and functionality of UUism- RITUAL.

-specifically how memorization can enhance and strengthen an individual’s beliefs.

Nancy’s sermon described how, in times of desperation and need, people find comfort returning to ritual prayers that were drilled into them as children. Rituals like The Lord’s Prayer or the Apostles’ Creed allow us to touch the sacred, shared history of humanity and the divine. They bring us comfort in times of need and bring strength to continue on in the face of adversity.


The Seven Principles are excellent organizing statements, but you will not hear Christians reciting the 10 Commandments in moments of distress.

Call it what you want. We need an affirming statement, a thesis, an organizing call. We need a creed.

Without a creed, we are a religion more about what we are not, than what we are. Paragraphs and pamphlets cannot compete with the strength of a central affirming sentence. When we find ourselves attacked by nature or our fellow man, we must be able to recall a message of affirmation and strength, defining our goals, and restoring our spirit.

The catch: Unitarian Universalism is a creedless religion.

But that’s a little like saying the absolute: “There are no absolutes.”

In that spirit, our UU creed must be one that proclaims creedlessness and captures the spirit, diversity, and responsibility of the UU tradition. The creed is: we have no creed. We just have to pretty it up. I’ve compiled bits and phrases stolen various sermon podcasts. I hope that with some effort and the cooperation of my friends, this might one day be serviceable as such a creed. Please help.

Here are two versions I have created so far. I would love to hear your thoughts. Knowing what a passionate bunch UU’s can be, I do have one request in this creative venture.
Please do not tear down without building it back up- constructiveness in place of critique please. Anyone can swing a wrecking ball. It is very difficult to build it back up.

That said: Comment away!



I believe in a personal call to find the sacred, choose it for myself, and hold it in my heart.

I affirm this right in you as well.

I believe in the power of reverence, the joy of community, and the responsibility of freedom.

This is the creed of my heart, not that of my institution.





I believe in a call to find my sacred truth, to chose for myself, and hold in my heart.

And I believe in your right to act in kind.

Together we can share the joy of community, the power of reverence, and the responsibilities of freedom.

This is the creed of my heart, extended to you, and expressed through this institution.

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4 Responses to “UU’s must develop their own creed.”

  1. Nathan Says:

    What you have attempted is extremely difficult. One of the basic difficulties is that some UUs believe in a “higher power,” “the Universe,” etc., whereas others are rationalists who will not entertain such beliefs. We might need a separate creed for each group.

    I fully agree with you regarding the need for ritual. There has to be a sense of mystery or perhaps a sympathetic ritual the connects us with something beyond ourselves. Joseph Campbell was raised a Catholic, so he grew up in a world of images and rituals. The first time he visited a Protestant church he was struck by its paucity of ritual. To Campbell, the service had all the sacredness of a business meeting.

    When we are in pain we cry out for something or someone to come to our aid. Perhaps the best we as UUs can do is to consider the Buddhist belief that all conditions are temporary.

  2. Dubhlainn Says:

    I love what you have to say but I am having trouble with what you mean int he first sentence… are you saying we have too much ritual or not enough? The rest of your post I agree with 100%.

    Nathan – I think part of the problem with UUism today is that it is so fragmented. I desire a time when we do not need to divide everything into seperate little sections to make it palatable to the group.

    Finally, also in reply to Nathan, I am leary in using the language “the best we as UUs can do” truth is we can do better, we have to do better. IMO

  3. Shelby Meyerhoff Says:

    Some congregations already have such a statement, and it can be recited each week in worship as part of the ritual. In my UU church we say:

    In covenant with one another
    and all we hold sacred
    We answer the call of love —

    Welcoming all people
    into the celebration of life
    Searching for truth and meaning
    And striving for justice and compassion —

    To nourish and serve each other,
    our community and world.

  4. Aaron Sawyer Says:

    I think that’s good for a church, but a creed should be more personal.
    “I believe in God the father almighty…”
    It has to touch that personal nature, not a group covenant.

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