Daniel Burke of RNS describes the Unitarian-Universalist Church as a “creedless church” and wonders if this “virtually unprecedented experiment” of advancing a religion without doctrine can survive another 50 years.
For 50 years the UUA has conducted a virtually unprecedented experiment: advancing a religion without doctrine, hoping that welcoming communities and shared political causes, not creeds, will draw people to their pews.
Leaders say its no-religious-questions-asked style positions the UUA to capitalize on liberalizing trends in American religion.
But as the UUA turns 50 this year, some members argue that a “midlife” identity crisis is hampering outreach and hindering growth. In trying to be all things to everyone, they say, the association risks becoming nothing to anybody.
The UUA does promote seven largely secular principles that emphasize human dignity and justice.
Membership in the UUA dipped in 2011 for the third consecutive year, to 162,800, a loss of about 1,400 members. The number of congregations fell by two, to 1,046.
The UUA was formed in 1961 by the merger of two small, historic groups: Unitarians, who believe in one God, rather than Christianity’s traditional Trinity; and Universalists, who hold that God’s salvation extends to all, regardless of race, creed or religion.