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Universalists are often asked where they stand. The only true answer to give to this question is that we do not stand at all, we move. — Lewis Beals Fisher, late 19th-century Universalist theologian

The workshop offers a brief overview of Unitarian Universalist history, focusing on ideas and people more than on institutional and denominational structures. Participants interact with one another as they engage with the material, working in small groups to identify famous Unitarians, Universalists, and Unitarian Universalists. They learn stories from our Unitarian Universalist tradition and from your congregation's history.

Before leading this workshop, review Accessibility Guidelines for Workshop Presenters found in the program Introduction and make any preparations needed to accommodate your group.

If you have only an hour for the workshop, omit Activity 2 and shorten Activity 3 by five minutes.


This workshop will:

  • Introduce some well known Unitarian Universalists
  • Present a broad sweep of Unitarian Universalist history in North America
  • Introduce the history of the congregation
  • Link Unitarian Universalist history with the history of your congregation
  • Provide resources for more detailed study of the origins and development of Unitarian Universalism.

Learning Objectives

Participants will:

  • Recognize a few Unitarian, Universalist, and Unitarian Universalist historical figures
  • Understand Unitarian Universalist roots in and breaks from orthodox Christianity
  • Note theological shifts in Unitarian, Universalist, and Unitarian Universalist perspectives through time
  • Hear a story about your congregation's history.

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