Part One: Congregational Polity in Theory and Practice

The five sections of Part One speak to five basic dimensions of congregational polity: theological, historical, comparative, constitutional, and cultural.

  1. Placing congregational polity in theological perspective clarifies the basic meaning and value of congregationalism as an expression of our spiritual vision.
  2. Understanding the history through which this form of governance has come down to us illuminates present institutional commitments and forms.
  3. Describing congregational governance as practiced by other religious bodies provides useful comparisons with our practices.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.