May 15

While we will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of our Unitarian Universalist Association at this year’s General Assembly in Charlotte in June, the true date of the consolidation of the Universalist Church of America and the American Unitarian Association falls on May 15, 1961, the anniversary of which will occur this coming Sunday, May 15, 2011. So let’s get the celebrations started now!

To help our congregations mark this important moment in our history, we would like to share the following possible Chalice Lightings or reflections for worship this Sunday.:


Fifty years ago this week, Universalism and Unitarianism in America combined to form the Unitarian Universalist Association. This “milestone moment,” as one leader of the time put it, envisioned a religious family of congregations and people dedicated to a faith that would be “history-making rather than history-bound.” Over the last fifty years Unitarian Universalists have indeed made religious history – at Selma, in courageous interfaith action for justice; in the Women and Religion movement; in pioneering efforts on behalf of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender rights; in environmental activism; and more. Therefore, “seeing that we are compassed round by so great a cloud of witnesses, the great of past and present and all the humble heroes who worked and sacrificed beside them, who, indeed, held up their hands and made strong their voices, let us now, in our own day, lay aside every weight of selfishness and fear and take up with faith and joy the urgent tasks to which this historic hour has summoned us. Let us together build the free and universal church of tomorrow.”

Based on the sermon given by the Rev. Dr. Donald Szantho Harrington at the
service in Symphony Hall, Boston, celebrating the formation of the UUA.


50th Anniversary Chalice Lighting words by Stefan Papa:

As two candles lit one flame fifty years ago, the chalice held two traditions with their histories, hopes, and dreams.

Our kindred fellowships have come together; united, we are stronger. With gifts from each tradition, we have developed our faith for today: an empowering, justice seeking and spiritually grounded faith, which blesses us and calls us to live with courage and love.

May this fire kindle within us, as it did for those who lit it fifty years ago, strength and hope, clarity and commitment, gratitude and faith in the future.


For more worship resources, to explore historical documents, or to share your own reflections about our Association and participate in our Oral History project, please visit us at .  Happy Anniversary, everyone!

Yours in Faith and Celebration,

The 50th Anniversary Task Force of the UUA

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UUA General Assembly

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