Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Catskills, founded in 1958 We, the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Catskills, have a mission to: _ Provide a supportive place for spiritual, philosophical and intellectual development; _ Celebrate and affirm, through the democratic process, our commitments to social activism, cooperation, caring and love; _ Seek ways, for both individuals and the congregation as a whole, of providing service to the community; _ Invite and welcome persons in our geographic area to become part of our religious community. We covenant with each other to: _ Accept the responsibility to maintain a congregation in which to develop the best possible relationships, to love ourselves and others and to encourage our children to realize their potential; _ Provide a respectful place for people of diverse backgrounds, views, and religious beliefs and foster a sense of well being for everyone in our religious community; _ Respect, recognize and appreciate each and every individual's spiritual search and unique nature, and provide for alternatives to traditional forms of religious practice; _ Affirm our special responsibility, and that of our members to promote the full participation of persons in all of its activities and in the full range of human endeavor without regard to race, color, sex, disability, sexual orientation, age or national origin and without requiring adherence to any particular interpretation of religion or to any particular religious belief or creed. We are a community built on interdependence. Unitarian Universalism What’s It All About? Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Catskills 320 Sawkill Road, Kingston NY 12401 845 331-2884 www.uucckingston.org Sunday services at 9:30am and 11am Religious Education issue No. 2 What is Unitarian Universalism? What do Unitarian Universalists believe? Unitarian Universalism is an ethically based religion, which means it focuses upon how one lives in the world. Spiritual values such as love, understanding, compassion, justice, trust in life, in humanity and in the possibility of goodness inform and shape our ethical principles. Such a religion looks to character and ethics as holding the greatest importance in life. This is different in that many faiths are creedally based, which means that belief in a certain doctrine and creed is of uppermost importance. Unitarian Universalism has no one belief or doctrine that members must hold to. Indeed, Unitarian Universalists claim the freedom, the right and the responsibility to form their own faith structures and beliefs. This is not to say that Unitarian Universalists have no beliefs. Not at all. We have many ways of believing: some believe in God and/or Goddess, some look to Jesus, or Buddha, or Allah, or keep their Jewish tradition, or look for truth and meaning in the laws of science, or find inspiration in nature or in the lives of prophetic men and women, or in religions such as Hinduism or earth based spiritual traditions. Unitarian Universalism has a pluralistic world view. We accept and celebrate diversity of belief and in our communities we fashion ways for different people to co-exist in peace and harmony. What is most important to us is the way people express their beliefs in the ethical living of their lives. What are the ethical principles of Unitarian Universalism? Unitarian Universalists take as their ethical guidelines the Statement of Principles and Purposes, which was created in the mid-1980's and accepted by the General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association. They affirm and promote the following: *The inherent worth and dignity of every person *Justice, equity and compassion in human relations *Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth *A free and responsible search for truth and meaning *The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process *World community with peace, liberty and justice for all *Respect for the interdependence of all existence of which we are a part How do Unitarian Universalists worship? Unitarian Universalism began in the 1500's as a part of the Protestant Reformation. Although we are now an independent denomination, our Sunday service still follows a basically Protestant format. Not as liturgically formal as some, we come together in a ritual of chalice lighting, singing, meditation/silent prayer, children’s message and sermon. The congregation takes part in every service through the sharing of personal joys and sorrows and the lighting of candles. Service themes include a recognition that we do not all believe alike and, taking different points of view into consideration, we explore such topics as the meaning of life, the presence/absence of the divine, ethical approaches to important questions of the day, good and evil, and how to live in the world. We look to the teachings of Judaism and Christianity, as well as other world religions. We celebrate Christmas and Hanukkah, Passover and Easter. They are a part of our heritage and their messages are vital. We also have some unique traditions of our own, such as a Flower Communion and a Water Gathering service. We come together on Sunday mornings at 9:30 and 11am and our services are open to all. What do Unitarian Universalists teach children and youth? We have a full Religious Education program for young people ages 4-18, including a Youth Group for teenagers, based upon Unitarian Universalist curricula and taught by volunteers from the congregation. There is nursery care for children under four. We mark life passages with Welcome and Dedication ceremonies for children, a Coming of Age Program for 11-13 year olds, and a values-based sexuality curriculum, Our Whole Lives, which we offer for 7th-9th graders. We teach our children Unitarian Universalist values and approaches to life. We share our own faith with them and encourage them to form their own beliefs. We learn our history and traditions and we learn about other religions as well, believing that all religions have something worthwhile to teach us. We encourage parents to establish religious practices at home, as parents are the most important religious educators. The Religious Education program takes place on Sunday mornings and we welcome all children and youth. WE LOOK FORWARD TO SEEING YOU.
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