Toward a New Community of Autonomous Congregations

There are some 75 recommendations in the report, all aimed at a new vision of congregational polity one based on the interdependence of our community of autonomous congregations. To achieve a shared vision will require looking at our theology and history, as well as devising specific cooperative relationships.

  1. "Congregational polity brings out the best and the worst in Unitarian Universalism. It brings out the best when it reminds us that power is ultimately in the hands of the membership, the people who are gathered in a local community. . . . [But it] brings out the worst in us. . . when it invites us to look inward rather than outward, to go it alone rather than welcome the wisdom, aid, or examples of other congregations."
  2. "Ministry—professional and lay—needs to be understood as a function of the religious community, thus closely linked to forms of governance and accountability."
  3. "We believe that these recommendations are consistent with winds of change that are already blowing among us. We want this report to raise consciousness of basic institutional and spiritual concerns and to help us address practical issues that need decision and action."


  • What can you do in your congregation to foster an understanding of congregational polity?
  • What cooperative relationships with other congregations can be developed to increase your congregation's effectiveness?