The five sections of Part One speak to five basic dimensions of congregational polity: theological, historical, comparative, constitutional, and cultural.
- Placing congregational polity in theological perspective clarifies the basic meaning and value of congregationalism as an expression of our spiritual vision.
- Understanding the history through which this form of governance has come down to us illuminates present institutional commitments and forms.
- Describing congregational governance as practiced by other religious bodies provides useful comparisons with our practices.
- Analyzing relevant provisions of the Unitarian Universalist Association Bylaws reveals both common understandings and tensions in the relationships between the Association and its constituent congregations.
- Examining how our colloquial understandings of congregational polity enter into the spiritual and cultural ethos of contemporary Unitarian Universalism profoundly affects our sense of identity and shared purpose.