A unique element of Unitarian Universalism (UU) is viewing democracy not only as a political value, but as a religious value, as well.
Their fifth of their seven core principles is “The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large.”
In other words, although UUs value making individual ethical decisions, they recognize that none of them operates alone—politically or religiously.
They want to participate in making the policies that affect their lives, both in their Fellowship and in their secular community.
Therefore, each congregation is essentially autonomous. Within a congregation, decisions are made via a democratic process—and, whenever possible, by consensus.
The Sedona Unitarian Universalist Fellowship operates as a spiritual, covenantal community. Therefore, rather than gathering to believe alike, their unity lies more in a shared promise, as one UU teacher put it, “to love alike.”
Granted, this approach doesn’t always run smoothly. Some quip that a few congregants “can’t see the forest for the me’s,” or that others “are a legend in their own mind.”
But SUUFers regularly reweave their fabric through “what they do together, not what they believe together,” and their integration process is always democratic, not autocratic.
[SUUF Member Paul Friedman continues to provide weekly articles for publication in the Red Rock News. This article – or a variation thereof – appeared in the Feb 10, 2023 issue]