Who We Are & What We Believe

“Love is the spirit of this Fellowship and Service is its Law” is the basic philosophy of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Yellow Springs (UUFYS).  Our primary aspirations are “To dwell together in peace, to seek the truth in Love and to help one another.”

The Seven Principles We Affirm:

  1. The inherent worth and dignity of every person;
  2. Justice, equality and compassion in human relations;
  3. Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;
  4. A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;
  5. The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large;
  6. The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;
  7. Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.

Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Yellow Springs (UUFYS)

The UUFYS focuses on exploring issues related to personal liberty, group freedoms, ethics and justice.  We emphasize human knowledge, and rational thought and personal experience over religious creeds or dogma.  We share our joys and losses, stories and songs.  We work to build community and develop personal connections within our Fellowship, locally and globally. 

We are called a “fellowship” rather than a “church” because we do not have a paid minister.  Instead we are lay-led, with governance by an elected Executive Board. All programs and activities are planned and led by volunteers, with an occasional visiting minister for Sunday services.

Members are encouraged to present Sunday programs on a topic they choose. Services regularly feature a social justice topic of interest, e.g., prison reform, environmental issues, education, etc.  Sunday morning programs are offered year-round from 10:30 to 11:45 a.m., followed by snacks and conversation. On the first Sunday of each month, there is a potluck meal after the service.

Liberal religious education and spiritual exploration for adults is offered through small groups; some meet Sunday mornings before services, others meet in the evening. 

The Fellowship can perform marriage or union ceremonies, and provide information about simple burial or cremation through the Funeral Consumers Alliance.

The UUFYS welcomes and celebrates diversity. Individuals of all races, ethnic origins, religious philosophies and gender/sexual orientations are embraced and supported.  We welcome you – your whole self with all your truths and doubts, worries and hopes.

The UUFYS Meetinghouse is located two miles south of Yellow Springs at 2884 US Route 68 in Goes Station. The Meetinghouse is handicap accessible.

Submit questions through our Contact Us page to obtain more information about UUFYS and our activities.

What Unitarian Universalists Believe

UUs do not hold to a formal creed and come from a wide variety of spiritual paths.  We are attracted by freedom from doctrine as well as by an open-minded, open-hearted approach to spirituality and community.  We believe in the importance of individual conscience, liberty and dignity for all, hope and knowledge, and a desire to make a difference for the good.  Humanists, agnostics, atheists, pagans, Buddhists, Christians, Jews and members of other faiths are welcome.

Most UUs feel strongly that it is essential to live our beliefs, not just talk about them. As a result, activism on social justice issues is an important part of our lives. Since 1825, UUs have been in the forefront of battles against slavery, and for women’s rights, prison and justice reform, peace and human rights, economic justice and many other issues. These beliefs are embodied in our only written doctrine, called the Seven Principles (listed above).

We also share a “living tradition” of wisdom and spirituality, drawn from many sources. These include science, poetry, scripture and personal experience. Click here for Sources of Our Living Tradition that our congregation affirms and promotes: (https://www.uua.org/beliefs/what-we-believe/sources)

 Unitarianism means belief in one God, not a Trinity. It includes the belief that Jesus was not a god, but a very wise man whose teachings are applicable today. This was the official doctrine of the Christian church from about 315 A.D. to 325 A.D., when the Council of Nicaea reversed that doctrine.

Universalism is the belief that we will be reconciled to the loving source of all that is.  That we are not born with original sin which requires us to be saved from damnation by belief in God. Instead, we are born with all the attributes needed to live a godly life.

These beliefs have surfaced throughout the centuries, in Europe, America, and elsewhere. Current Unitarian Universalist beliefs arose in opposition to the strict Calvinist doctrine of the Puritans in New England, e.g., that humans are depraved sinners and only a few “elect” will be saved. Enlightenment thought and emerging Biblical scholarship clarified many aspects of Christian doctrine as well as claiming the right to choose one’s faith and to worship without government interference.

Free thinkers like William Ellery Channing, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Theodore Parker and many others moved away from traditional doctrine and emphasized the right to seek a personal God, inspired by nature. They were labeled “Unitarians” and isolated by the conservative Protestant leadership. By 1825 the free thinkers formed the American Unitarian Association and their beliefs spread westward as our nation developed. In 1961 this group merged with the Universalist denomination to form the present Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) which is headquartered in Boston.

Flaming Chalice Symbol of Unitarian Universalism

A flame within a chalice (a cup with a stem and foot) is a primary symbol of the Unitarian Universalist faith tradition.

Hans Deutsch, an Austrian artist, first brought together the chalice and the flame as a Unitarian symbol during his work with the Unitarian Service Committee during World War II. To Deutsch, the image had connotations of sacrifice and love. Unitarian Universalists today have many different interpretations of the flaming chalice, including the light of reason, the warmth of community, and the flame of hope. 

Learn more about UU history and current UU thought and concerns in the UU World magazine.

The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Yellow Springs (UUFYS) is actively committed to creating beloved community. Beloved community, popularized in the 1960s by the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., is a vision of a just, equitable society in which all people share in the earth’s bounty. 

Beloved community involves 

    • Working toward a society in which poverty, hunger and homelessness will not be
      tolerated because human decency will not allow it. 

    • Racism and all forms of discrimination, bigotry and prejudice will be replaced by an
      inclusive sisterhood and brotherhood. 

    • Love and trust will triumph over fear and hatred. 
    • Peace with justice will prevail over war and military conflict. 

In beloved community, our interdependent relationships are based on love, mutual respect, and care.  We at UUFYS hold justice, equity, and compassion as core values.  We aspire to conduct ourselves with civility, to live our principles, and to seek justice within our community and in the broader world.

Famous Unitarian Universalists

Olympia Brown (January 5, 1835 – October 23, 1926) attended Antioch College and was a Universalist minister.  She was the first female UU minister and the first female to be ordained with the consent of a national, mainstream religion.

William Ellery Channing (April 7, 1780 – October 2, 1842) was the foremost Unitarian preacher in the United States in the early 1800s.  Rather than viewing God as a punishing parent to be dreaded, he preferred a gentle, loving relationship with God.  He believed in human goodness, rejected the Trinity, and believed that theological ideas should be subjected to reason.  He was active in efforts to eliminate slavery, drunkenness, poverty and war.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (May 25, 1803 – April 27, 1882) was an American essayist, lecturer, philosopher, abolitionist, poet and Unitarian minister.  He led the transcendentalist movement of the mid-19th century. He was a champion of individualism and the divine in nature.  He believed that Jesus was a great man but was not God, and that all things are connected to God and therefore all are holy. 

Robert Lee Fulghum (June 4, 1937) is an American author and UU minister.  He wrote All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten (1988). 

Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. (March 8, 1841 – March 6, 1935) was an American jurist and legal scholar; he served on the Supreme Court from 1902 – 1932.  He is one of the most widely cited Supreme Court justices and most influential judges in history.

Viola Liuzzo (April 11, 1925 – March 25, 1965) was an American civil rights activist. She participated in the Selma to Montgomery, Alabama marches, helping with coordination and logistics.  She died at age 39, shot by Ku Klux Klan members while driving back from a trip shuttling fellow activists to the Montgomery airport.

Theodore Parker (August 24, 1810 – May 10, 1860) was a transcendentalist, theologian and Unitarian minister.  He wrestled with the factuality of Old Testament miracles, prophecies, miraculous births and the like, and eventually rejected such teachings.  He believed that God should be experienced personally and that religious beliefs should be centered on individual experience.  Parker was involved in many movements for social justice, especially abolitionism.  His writings later inspired speeches by Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King, Jr.

Peter Seeger (May 3, 1919 – January 27, 2014) was an American folk singer and social activist.

Clyde William Tombaugh (February 4, 1906 – January 17, 1997) was an American astronomer who discovered Pluto in 1930.  He also discovered many asteroids and is a member of the International Space Hall of Fame.

Frank Lloyd Wright (June 8, 1867 – April 9, 1959) was an architect who designed more than 1,000 structures over his 70 year career. He played a key role in the architectural movements of the twentieth century, influencing architects worldwide. Wright believed in creating architectural designs in harmony with humanity and the environment.

For more information about noted UUs, click here for famous UUs or see Wikipedia’s “List of Unitarians, Universalists, and Unitarian Universalists.”