We welcome you to our First Unitarian Church. We would like to give you some information about ourselves that we hope you will find helpful, especially for those who are not familiar with Unitarian Universalism. Our historic church building here in Hobart has served as Unitarian Church continuously since it was built in 1876. This congregation was founded in 1874 for the concern of providing religious education to young people. Today we are a member congregation of the Unitarian Universalist Association.
The first question that may come to mind is, "What is it that Unitarian Universalists believe?" Well, we are a faith tradition or religion that helps individuals to develop their own personal faith. We draw from many different religious and philosophical sources in the belief that none of these have an exclusive lock on the truth, yet most have something to tell us from which we can learn and gain wisdom. From Christianity, we value the teachings of Jesus, from Buddhism we learn practices which connect us to our own reality; from Pagan traditions we experience our relationship to the earth and our natural cycles; from the great philosophers and humanists we embrace the need for rational thinking and that religion should not ask us to check our brains at the church door. We find to be critical the social justice concerns that have been raised by religious leaders from ancient times until now including those found in the Judaic, Christian, and Islamic scriptures. We are aware of the ancient wisdom of the eastern and the Greek sages. We also carefully listen to and evaluate the prophets of today.
Therefore, you might wonder, "How did the Unitarian Universalist Church come about?" We trace our roots back to those in the history of religions in the world who thought that the role of true religion was to inspire humankind to live better lives in the here and now. They thought that this inspiration could not be found in the literal words of human explanations of religious experiences. They believed that their personal wellbeing relied on their own experience of inspiration and that they could choose their own understanding of the meaning of their lives. In time, many of these people were called heretics. The word heretic itself originally had the meaning of choice. Today we say we are a liberal religion meaning that we do not subscribe to dogmas or creeds; instead, we subscribe to seeking what is noble and highly uplifting in our lives and living that out. Our history in the United States is found in two strands. The Unitarian Church evolved out of liberal Congregational churches and the Universalist Church came from liberal, mostly Baptist churches both in the early nineteenth century. The two merged in 1961. As a liberal church, we continue some characteristics of our predecessors. We are a free church, which means that all authority over church administration is in our own congregation only, and we do this democratically. As members of the Unitarian-Universalist Association, we support the seven principles, which is prominently displayed on the starting page of our website. To view them, click here. Being liberal, these principles have changed in the past and will continue to change in the future as the need arises.
"What are the people like in this church?" Seeking and living one's own individual faith is noble and uplifting; it is also hard. Therefore, the members in this church support it with time, talent, and money because we know that community is essential in this kind of faith life. These things are what define our members. Otherwise, we welcome those of all religious backgrounds, races, and ethnicities, sexual orientations, economic situations, and any other human differences you might think of. We also insist that none of these differences should limit a member's full and equal participations in our church life.
If you wish to visit us, you are invited to come to one of our Sunday services. Our service starts at 11:00AM. If you arrive before 10:45AM, you can come in the entrance to the fellowship hall which is in the back of the church where the parking lot is. You may also park across the tracks in the bank parking lot and come in the front door of the church. If one of us does not greet you right away, let someone know that you are a first time visitor, and we will be glad to meet and help you. If you come around 10:00AM, you could sit in on one of our adult religious education meetings. If you will be bringing any child under 3 years old, we have a childcare room. Please allow time before the service to register your child, and for us to give you a name badge in case you are needed during the service. If you have older children, please review the information on the Religious Education pages.
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