Upholding of the liberal Christian tradition - the United Church of Christ and the Unitarian Universalist Association hold 'intentional' meetings

As most readers of this blog will know as a minister on the roll of the General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches I'm committed to upholding the GA's object in its entirety:

To promote a free and inquiring religion through the worship of God and the celebration of life; the service of humanity and respect for all creation; and the upholding of the liberal Christian tradition.

It is, as many of you will also know, the last clause which so often gets excised in many contemporary Unitarian circles in the UK as an embarrassment to be deleted and forgotten at the soonest opportunity. Anyway, given my passion for the upholding of the liberal Christian tradition the following press release of intentional talks between the United Church of Christ (UCC) and the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) in the USA comes as a pleasant and intriguing surprise. Click on the link below to read this press release:

UCC, UUA members break ground with first 'intentional' meeting

Over the past twelve years as minister to the Memorial Church (Unitarian) Cambridge  I have had some close and fruitful connections with UCC ministers and, at the moment, we have one of their ministerial students, Ryan Sirmons, on a light-touch placement with us whilst he studies at Westminster College, Cambridge. It was he who alerted me to this article and this makes it a doubly pleasant piece of news to share with you all.

Any other news and views from folk on this will be gratefully received. Just post a comment.


Unknown said…
Since I had become aware of UCC, I had viewed them as kindred spirits to us. We should be talking.
Matt said…
I have read into the United Church of Christ and the Disciples of Christ (Christian Church) in the US - and would imagine these would be the kind of churches I would be looking into joining, speaking as a theologically-liberal Christian. I don't know if there is a direct equivalent in the UK though? It's quite interesting that they are pretty much totally US-centred.
Anonymous said…
Please, where is the word 'CAUTE' comes from? I just found it for the first time but I cannot find any meaning for it (through several dictionaries). Thanks a lot.
Greetings El Olvidos,

Caute is latin for 'caution' and it was Spinoza's motto. It can be taken to mean a number of things but one common understanding in this context is that it is a reminder to take care about how you talk about your ideas in public.
RyS said…
Matt (indeed, all!)-

There is no UCC in the UK - which make me studying in the UK as a UCC ordinand a tad unusual. However, our closest cousins are both the liberal Christian Unitarians and some of the United Reformed Churches. Westminster College, Cambridge, is a URC training college. This UUA-UCC intentional talks are exciting. I'm not sure it equates to 'merger', but it does suggest that we both recognise the need for unity amongst liberal (Christian) religious people, and I think we will see some exciting results arising from this!
Yewtree said…
I would be very sad if this meant that Pagan and pantheist Unitarians and UUs were squeezed out of the concept of what it means to be UU / Unitarian, but I think religious liberals of all kinds should get together to explore common ground.
Dear Yewtree,

As you know I'm hugely open and sympathetic to the positions you mention and which I know you uphold. In the kind of world I want to live these positions have a venerable and honourable place in the shape and make-up of the whole of civil society. But the fact remains that the object of the GA states that it and, therefore, its member congregations and ministers on its roll should be upholding the liberal Christian tradition as one of their primary tasks. If the GA, or a member congregation or a minister can't do this then there are some real questions to be asked on all sides. Of course, within the 'movement' the question will be avoided as it always has been and as a group of churches we'll continue to fade away to nothing without ever having the kind of honest conversation that we need to.

Naturally, I hope the patient (Unitarian and Free Christianity) will survive and flourish again but the greatest tragedy of all would be for us to die without ever having had the most important conversations we needed to.

I've seen too many families fail to have that kind of conversation to think about this with anything but the most profound sadness.
Yewtree said…
Dear Andrew

I agree that upholding the liberal Christian tradition is a valid part of the GA object.

I do wonder sometimes why mystical and heretical forms of Christianity don't have more of an honoured place in our thinking.
Yewtree said…
Did you see my series of blogposts on whether Unitarianism is Christian or not? I'd be interested in your comments...

The empty path

Is Unitarianism Christian?

Roots hold me close, wings set me free

Golden heresies
Dear Yewtree,

Thanks for the links - I read the second of your posts but will re-read them all, yes, if I feel I can add something useful I'll post a comment.

Hope all is well.

Yewtree said…
Yes thanks, I'm alright. And you?
Anonymous said…
Greetings Andrew,

I wrote you on 11 february about the meaning of 'caute'. Thanks a lot for your kind answer. It was really helpful, and it gave me a motive for reflecting.