Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Faith Like a River: A Program on Unitarian Universalist History for Adults


Religious reform can never be all at once, but gradually, step by step. If they offer something better, I will gladly learn. — Francis David

This workshop considers religious reform movements, as expressed in the interplay of theology and institutions. It considers how there movements fed into Unitarian Universalism and examines the role of reform in our own movement's history. Participants explore how our religious forebears have approached the sometimes conflicting goals of remaining true to their historical and theological bases and remaining relevant and vital for their members.

Before leading this workshop, review the Accessibility Guidelines for Workshop Presenters in the program Introduction. Make preparations to accommodate individuals who may be in the group.


This workshop will:

  • Present an overview of the history of reformation in Western Christianity and demonstrate how church reform shaped Unitarian Universalism
  • Share some stories of individuals, groups, and events that helped form the character of Unitarian Universalism
  • Highlight the interplay of theology and institution when religious movements change.

Learning Objectives

Participants will:

  • Learn how some external and internal church reform movements have shaped Unitarian Universalism
  • Explore the interplay of theology and institution when religious movements change
  • Consider some vehicles which have been, and could be, used to bring change within our denomination
  • Consider how reform movements can create both intentional and unintentional change.