We begin with an overview of the issues raised by congregational polity—that is the self- governance of each congregation. What is the connection with the larger religious community when each congregation controls its own property and funds, calls its own leadership, and when each individual is responsible for his or her own religious beliefs?

  1. "...Our institutional ideals and practices have lagged far behind our spiritual vision. In particular, "congregational polity" has been used as a shibboleth against the fuller recognition of our interrelationships. ... The idea of congregational polity needs to be revised and, indeed, re-visioned among us."
  2. "There is an inherent tension between the concepts of community and autonomy, similar to the oft-expressed tension between responsibility and freedom. However community and autonomy do not exclude one another, but enhance one another, for the essential function of the congregation is to link the individual to a religious community.
  3. ". . . The future integrity and vitality of the Unitarian Universalist movement depends most directly upon deepening our sense of mutual accountability."


  • How do you perceive the balance in your congregation between individualism and community?
  • How are individuals in your congregation accountable to each other?
  • Should we have any accountability between congregations?