Unitarian Universalists 'finally over being shy about who we are'


The Mirror

Saltwater Unitarian Universalist Church in Des Moines is part of a faith with a long history of religious tolerance and a welcoming nature regarding a variety of beliefs.

The Unitarians and the Universalists established churches in America during Colonial times, and the Universalist church demonstrated inclusion by having a freed slave among its first members. It was also the first church to ordain women into the ministry, starting with Olympia Brown in 1863.

“Our roots are really in the left wing of the Protestant reformation of Colonial times. Both Unitarianism and Universalism were organized in reaction against puritanical Calvinism,” said James Kubal-Komoto, reverend of Saltwater Unitarian Universalist Church. “The early Unitarians believed in the oneness of God and they believed strongly in the potential of human beings, especially in the potential of human beings to decide right from wrong by themselves. The early Universalists believed that all human beings, not just a few, have worth and dignity.”

In 1961, the two groups merged into one and became the Unitarian Universalists.

Famous Unitarians and Universalists made significant contributions to society: Susan B. Anthony and Julia Ward Howe in social reform; Thomas Jefferson, Paul Revere and Benjamin Franklin in politics; and Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin and Alexander Graham Bell in science.

The faith’s members “have always played a leading role in this country, and I believe they will will continue to do so,” said Kubal-Komoto.

He told of how he grew up less

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