Beliefs & Values
The Unitarian Society of Santa Barbara was founded in 1872 as a beacon of progressive religion in Santa Barbara.
Today, we are a thriving community of all ages that engages the mind, heart and spirit. We strive to live with integrity, nurture wonder, and inspire action.
We gather as online on Sunday for worship services, and we connect afterward during our social hour with a cup of coffee, tea, and good conversation. But we are not just a Sunday-morning community! We have regular events all throughout the week, so take a look at our calendar of events. We work for justice in the world with many outreach and volunteer opportunities, and we have smaller groups that meet where people can form deep connections with one another. We have classes for children as well as adults, and our campus is used by many groups in the wider community.
If you are seeking a religion that speaks to your mind as well as your heart, a spiritual community with doors wide open to the world, you are welcome here.
Community. Courage. Love. Diversity. Generosity. Joy.
These are the cornerstones of our congregation.
What Is Unitarian Universalism?
- Although our historical roots are in the Christian and Jewish traditions, we have become a faith that welcomes insights from many sources, including world religions and philosophies as well as the arts and sciences.
- Unitarian Universalism is a liberal religion — that is, a religion that keeps an open mind to the religious questions people have struggled with in all times and places.
- We believe that personal experience, conscience, and reason should be the final authorities in religion, and that in the end, religious authority is not found in a book or person, but within ourselves.
- We are a “non-creedal” religion: we do not ask anyone to subscribe to a creed or statement of faith.
- However, we do strongly affirm and promote seven ethical statements that constitute our Unitarian Universalist Principles (see below).
Unitarian Universalism references: Unitarian Universalist Origins: Our Historic Faith By Mark W. Harris
Seven Principles and Purposes
Unitarian Universalist Association Principles and Purposes
We, the member congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Association, covenant to affirm and promote
- The inherent worth and dignity of every person;
- Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;
- Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;
- A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;
- The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large;
- The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;
- Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part,
- Dismantling racism and other oppressions in ourselves and our institutions.
The 8th Principle was approved by our congregation in 2022. You can learn more about it here.
The living tradition which we share draws from many sources:
- Direct experience of that transcending mystery and wonder, affirmed in all cultures, which moves us to a renewal of the spirit and an openness to the forces which create and uphold life;
- Words and deeds of prophetic women and men which challenge us to confront powers and structures of evil with justice, compassion, and the transforming power of love;
- Wisdom from the world’s religions which inspires us in our ethical and spiritual life;
- Jewish and Christian teachings which call us to respond to God’s love by loving our neighbors as ourselves;
- Humanist teachings which counsel us to heed the guidance of reason and the results of science, and warn us against idolatries of the mind and spirit.
- Spiritual teachings of earth-centered traditions which celebrate the sacred circle of life and instruct us to live in harmony with the rhythms of nature.
Grateful for the religious pluralism which enriches and ennobles our faith, we are inspired to deepen our understanding and expand our vision. As free congregations we enter into this covenant, promising to one another our mutual trust and support.