The history of Unitarianism and Universalism has been marked by periods of international engagement, and withdrawal. Congregational polity interpreted as the independence of congregations has contributed to the insularity of our movement. The report describes some of this history, and recommends a more sustained effort toward international religious bodies.

  1. "In 1900, the American Unitarian Association . . . became a founding member of an interfaith organization that was named the International Council of Unitarian and Other Religious Thinkers and Workers (now known as the . . . IARF). Its goal was nothing less than 'the federation of nations, the brotherhood of mankind, and the peace of the world.'"
  2. C. Leon Hopper: "I believe that the Partner Church Council [linking American and Eastern European congregations] is unique among Unitarian Universalist (UU) organizations in that it is grounded on individual church connections and activities. It is church to church, truly grass roots."
  3. "How has congregational polity affected internationalism in the Unitarian Universalist Association? In general, the President has made decisions. . . . When congregational input has been weak, administrative authority has been stronger and more autonomous."


  • How important is it for UU congregations to build structures that will facilitate the engagement of congregations with liberal religious bodies internationally?
  • What would a structure look like that would connect our congregations internationally?