Unitarian Universalism is a religious tradition that was formed from the merger of two different religions: Unitarianism and Universalism. Both began in Europe hundreds of years ago. In America, the Universalist Church of America was founded in 1793, and the American Unitarian Association in 1825. In 1961, these denominations merged to form a new religion, Unitarian Universalism, with each congregaton affiliated as a member of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA).
Both religions have long histories and have contributed important theological concepts that remain central to Unitarian Universalism. Originally, all Unitarians were Christians who didn't believe in the Holy Trinity of God (Father, Son, and Holy Ghost), but in the unity, or single aspect, of God. Later, Unitarian beliefs stressed the importance of rational thinking, a direct relationship with God, and the humanity of Jesus. Universalism emerged as a Christian denomination with a central belief in universal salvation; that is, that all people will eventually be reconciled with God.
Unitarian Universalists played a key role in the founding of the United States including such great statesmen as John and Abigail Adams, John Quincy Adams, Ethan Allen, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Horace Greeley, Thomas Paine and Paul Revere. Many artists and writers also sprang from this tradition, including Louise May Alcott, T.S. Elliot, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Herman Melville, Carl Sandburg, Henry David Thoreau and Frank Lloyd Wright. Unitarian Universalists participate in a great and accomplished tradition.
Since the merger of the two denominations in 1961, Unitarian Universalism has nurtured its Unitarian and Universalist heritages to provide a strong voice for social justice and liberal religion.