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 Sunday Services: 10:30 AM A Unitarian Universalist Congregation A Welcoming Congregation 
   

At a Unitarian Universalist service or meeting, you are likely to find members whose positions on faith may be derived from a variety of religious beliefs: Jewish, Christian, Buddhist, naturist, atheist, or agnostic. Members might tell you that they are religious humanists, liberal Christians, or world religionists.All these people, and others who label their beliefs still differently, are faithful Unitarian Universalists committed to the practice of free religion. We worship, sing, play, study, teach, and work for social justice together as congregations-all the while remaining strong in our individual convictions.

 

Who are Unitarian Universalists?

We are brave, curious, and compassionate thinkers and doers. We are diverse in faith, ethnicity, history and spirituality, but aligned in our desire to make a difference for the good. We have a track record of standing on the side of love, justice, and peace.  

We have radical roots and a history as self-motivated spiritual people: we think for ourselves and recognize that life experience influences our beliefs more than anything.

We need not think alike to love alike. We are people of many beliefs and backgrounds: people with a religious background, people with none, people who believe in a God, people who don’t, and people who let the mystery be.

We are Unitarian Universalist and Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Humanist, Jewish, Muslim, Pagan, Atheist, Agnostic, believers in God, and more.

On the forefront of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer inclusion for more than 40 years, we are people of all sexual orientations and other gender identities.

We seek to welcome you: your whole self, with all your truths and your doubts, your worries and your hopes. Join us on this extraordinary adventure of faith.

 

How did the movement come to have such a long name?

In North America, Unitarianism and Universalism developed separately. Universalist congregations began to be established in the 1770s. Other congregations, many established earlier, began to take the Unitarian name in the 1820s. Over the decades the two groups converged in their liberal emphasis and style, and in 1961 they merged to become the Unitarian Universalist Association.

 

What do UUs believe about God?

Some Unitarian Universalists are nontheists and do not find language about God useful. The faith of other Unitarian Universalists in God may be profound, though among these, too, talk of God may be restrained. Why?

The word God is much abused. Far too often, the word seems to refer to a kind of granddaddy in the sky or a super magician. To avoid confusion, many Unitarian Universalists are more apt to speak of "reverence for life" (in the words of Albert Schweitzer, a Unitarian), the spirit of love or truth, the holy, or the gracious. Many also prefer such language because it is inclusive; it is used with integrity by theist and nontheist members.

Whatever our theological persuasion, Unitarian Universalists generally agree that the fruits of religious belief matter more than beliefs about religion-even about God. So we usually speak more of the fruits: gratitude for blessings, worthy aspirations, the renewal of hope, and service on behalf of justice.

 

What about Jesus?

Classically, Unitarian Universalist Christians have understood Jesus as a savior because he was a God-filled human being, not a supernatural being. He was, and still is for many UUs, an exemplar, one who has shown the way of redemptive love, in whose spirit anyone may live generously and abundantly. Among us, Jesus' very human life and teaching have been understood as products of, and in line with, the great Jewish tradition of prophets and teachers. He neither broke with that tradition nor superseded it.

Many of us honor Jesus, and many of us honor other master teachers of past or present generations, like Moses or the Buddha. As a result, mixed-tradition families may find common ground in the UU fellowship without compromising other loyalties.

 

And about the Bible?

In most of our congregations, our children learn Bible stories as a part of their church school curricula. It is not unusual to find adult study groups in the churches, or in workshops at summer camps and conferences, focusing on the Bible. Allusions to biblical symbols and events are frequent in our sermons. In most of our congregations, the Bible is read as any other sacred text might be-from time to time, but not routinely.

We have especially cherished the prophetic books of the Bible. Amos, Hosea, Isaiah, and other prophets dared to speak critical words of love to the powerful, calling for justice for the oppressed. Many Unitarian and Universalist social reformers have been inspired by the biblical prophets. We hallow the names of Unitarian and Universalist prophets: Joseph Tuckerman, Dorothea Dix, Clara Barton, Theodore Parker, Susan B. Anthony, and many others.

We do not, however, hold the Bible-or any other account of human experience-to be either an infallible guide or the exclusive source of truth. Much biblical material is mythical or legendary. Not that it should be discarded for that reason! Rather, it should be treasured for what it is. We believe that we should read the Bible as we read other books (or the newspaper)-with imagination and a critical eye.

We also respect the sacred literature of other religions. Contemporary works of science, art, and social commentary are valued as well. We hold, in the words of an old liberal formulation, that "revelation is not sealed." Unitarian Universalists aspire to truth as wide as the world-we look to find truth anywhere, universally.

 

How do UUs understand salvation?

The English word salvation derives from the Latin salus, meaning health. Unitarian Universalists are as concerned with salvation, in the sense of spiritual health or wholeness, as any other religious people.

However, in many Western churches, salvation has come to be associated with a specific set of beliefs or a spiritual transformation of a very limited type.

Among Unitarian Universalists, instead of salvation you will hear of our yearning for, and our experience of, personal growth, increased wisdom, strength of character, and gifts of insight, understanding, inner and outer peace, courage, patience, and compassion. The ways in which these things come to, change, and heal us, are many indeed. We seek and celebrate them in our worship.

 

What ceremonies are observed, what holidays celebrated?

Our ceremonies-of marriage and starting a new family, naming or dedicating our children, and memorializing our dead-are phrased in simple, contemporary language. We observe these rites in community, not because they are required by some rule or dogma, but because in them we may voice our affection, hopes, and dedication.

Though practices vary in our congregations and change over time, UUs celebrate many of the great religious holidays with enthusiasm. Whether we gather to celebrate Christmas, Passover, or the Hindu holiday Divali, we do so in a universal context, recognizing and honoring religious observances and festivals as innate and needful in all human cultures.

 

Are Unitarian Universalists Christian?

Yes and no.

Yes, some Unitarian Universalists are Christian. Personal encounter with the spirit of Jesus as the christ richly informs their religious lives.

No, Unitarian Universalists are not Christian, if by Christian you mean those who think that acceptance of any creedal belief whatsoever is necessary for salvation. Unitarian Universalist Christians are considered heretics by those orthodox Christians who claim none but Christians are "saved." (Fortunately, not all the orthodox make that claim.)

Yes, Unitarian Universalists are Christian in the sense that both Unitarian and Universalist history are part of Christian history. Our core principles and practices were first articulated and established by liberal Christians.

Some Unitarian Universalists are not Christian. Although they may acknowledge the Christian history of faith, Christian stories and symbols are no longer primary for them. They draw their personal faith from many sources: nature, intuition, other cultures, science, civil liberation movements, and so on.

 

How is religious education conducted?

The program of religious education is determined, as are all other programs, by members of the local congregation. A wide range of courses are available through our Association. These are adapted by members as they choose. Courses appropriate for children may be offered in subjects as varied as interpersonal relations, ethical questions, the Bible, world religions, nature and ecology, heroes and heroines of social reform, Unitarian Universalist history, and holy days around the world. The same is true of adult religious education.

In most of our congregations, regular children's worship-often held during a portion of the adult service-is part of the program. We seek to teach our children to be responsible for their own thinking and to nurture their own impulses of reverence, morality, respect for others, and self-respect.

 

Do Unitarian Universalists practice what they preach?

Religious liberals put less emphasis on formal beliefs and more on practical living. Our interest is in deeds, not creeds. We appreciate the biblical text, "Be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only."

Our members have been active leaders in the struggles for racial equality, civil liberty, international peace, and equal rights for all people. We work as individuals, in congregational social action, and in other groupings, including such denominational efforts as the UUA's Faith in Action Department and the UU-UN Office. We also work with the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, which brings critically needed social change to many parts of the world.

 

Meditation Group meets every Sunday before services at 9:30 AM. All are welcome.

 

SUNDAY, December 2, 10:30 AM – “Singing Thanks”

Musician and songwriter Laz Slomovits will join us this morning for a special service highlighting the themes of Gratitude and Celebration of the Winter Holidays. In song and words we will express our thanksgiving for life’s blessings and our joys for the season of lights and birth and community. Won’t you come and celebrate with us? New Hope members will hold their annual congregational meeting after this service. Come and have your say!

 

SUNDAY, December 9, 10:30 AM - “A Constant Struggle”

The Jewish holiday of Hanukkah reminds us of the importance of fighting for what we believe in, and celebrating our successes with humility and gratitude. As we light the menorah and remember the struggles of the Jewish people over the centuries, we can feel kinship with them as we try to solve our present day problems. Please join us for an enlightening discussion.

 

SUNDAY, December 16, 10:30 AM – “Thank You For The ???”

Three weeks ago we watched a TED Talk in which author AJ Jacobs thanked a thousand people who were involved in making his cup of coffee. Today we will thank those who provide a staple of our holiday celebrations. It is so easy, especially during these busy times, to give no thought of gratitude to those who labor behind the scenes to make our holidays merry and bright. Join us as we try to think “outside” the box.

 

SUNDAY, December 23, 10:30 AM – No service on this day.

Come tomorrow for Christmas Eve at 5:30 pm

 

MONDAY, December 24, 5:30 PM – “Christmas Eve”

New Hope will celebrate the joys of Christmas with songs, stories, and good will toward all. Please join us as we remember the reasons for the season and enjoy the love and compassion of our religious community. After the service we will share our holiday treats and our friendship.

 

 

New Hope’s Board of Trustees

Next meeting on Monday July 9 at 7:00pm at New Hope. All are welcome to attend!

 

Lunch Bunch

Our next Lunch Bunch is on Tuesday July 10 at 12:30pm at Carson's in Ann Arbor. Please RSVP to Casey.

 

Women of Hope

Our next meeting is in August -- stay tuned!

 

New Hope Book Club

Our next meeting is in August -- stay tuned!

 

Vista Maria Books

We collect paperback books appropriate for teenage readers every Sunday for the Vista Maria Reading Project.

 

Meditation

Quiet meditation with friends every Sunday at 9:30am before service. All are welcome to attend!

 

We collect PB&J every Sunday morning for Active Faith!

Social Justice Activities at New Hope include:

 

Welcoming Congregation

New Hope is a welcoming congregation and proudly flies our Rainbow Flag supporting LGBTQ rights.

 

Blessing Box

New Hope has built a Blessing Box in our church parking lot, which provides paper goods and cleaning products not paid for by food stamps.  People in the community are invited to take what they need and donate what they can.

 

Water Justice

New Hope supports water justice rights in Flint and Detroit with annual water collection drives and educational speakers.

 

Peanut Butter & Jelly

New Hope collects jars of PB&J, which are donated weekly to Active Faith Food Pantry in South Lyon for distribution to the community.

 

Humane Society Collection

New Hope sponsors an annual collection of pet food, treats and toys to support the needs of our 4 legged friends.  We do this in August around the time of our Animal Blessing Service.

 

Soles for Souls 

New Hope sponsors an annual used shoe drive which benefits people who need footwear.

 

Canned food Drive

New Hope collects canned food annually to benefitActive Faith Food Pantry.

 

Holiday Helpers at Vista Maria

Each Christmas New Hope providesstocking stuffers for the residents of Vista Maria Center in Dearborn.

With its historical roots in the Jewish and Christian traditions, 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 lies not in a book or person or institution, but in ourselves. We are a "non-creedal" religion: we do not ask anyone to ascribe to a creed.

 

Our congregations are self-governing. Authority and responsibility are vested in the membership of the congregation. Each Unitarian Universalist congregation is involved in many kinds of programs. Worship is held regularly, the insights of the past and the present are shared with those who will create the future, service to the community is undertaken, and friendships are made. A visitor to a UU congregation will very likely find events and activities such as church school, day-care centers, lectures and forums, support groups, poetry festivals, family events, adult education classes and study groups.

 

We've listed some sites that are recommended by our members: