The religion as it stands today actually began in 1961, with the merging of the Unitarian and Universalist churches into the Unitarian Universalist Association, or UUA. The UUA was created as a group of like-minded individuals, dedicated to the search for individual religion, truth, and meaning. In the late 1980's, the UUA drafted and approved Article II of their Bylaws, titled "Principles and Purposes" and commonly called the Unitarian Universalist Covenant, a sort of statement of faith that defines the ideals of the religion as a whole. Chapters are called churches, societies, fellowships, or congregations, as each chapter chooses.

Services are generally held on Sunday mornings, although some chapters (most notably campus groups) hold their meetings on other days and times. In practice, Unitarian Universalism is a melding of many religious traditions; this melding of traditions tends to create an environment for such jokes as "If you ask four UU's what they believe, you'll get five answers," and "What do UU's believe in? Recycling." Actually, this last joke is very much the truth; Unitarian Universalists tend to support social action and other humanitarian efforts, either with money or volunteer labor, or both. Unitarian Universalists also believe in a free expression of ideas and in democracy, leading to the joke, "What do UU's believe in? Committees."

Unitarian-Universalism is a uniquely American flavour of Unitarianism - it is simply Unitarianism in Canada, where the number of Universalist churches at the time of merging was very small, and in central europe, the birthplace of Unitarianism, and the rest of the world, separate from the UU merger that North America experienced, it remains Unitarianism. Still, the UUA, the north american (for now - the CUC, Canadian Unitarian Council, seeks to take on in Canada what has in the past been done by the UUA) Unitarian Universalist Association, exerts great influence on and support for the Unitarian movement worldwide.

The distinction between UU and Unitarian is mostly academic - modern unitarian/UU churches don't adhere to ANY set creed, including that of what have traditionally been known as unitarianism (the belief in the one-ness of god, the rejection of the trinity) or universalism (the belief that all beings will go to heaven, in a god of universal love). So the distinction is more one of American vs. international unitarian churches, because the name only indicates the traditional past of the movement rather than any break in doctrine.

'cause we don't really have much in the way of doctrine.

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