Who We Are
- Hours & Location
- Contact Us
- Our History
- Our Building
- Contact a Church Group
- Rental Information
- About Unitarian Universalism
- The 8 Principles
- Learn more about the 8th Principle
Sunday Services occur In-Person and Online at 10:00 a.m., and a link to the live service is sent out via email on Sundays at 9:00 a.m.
The live service video can also be found on Sundays at the top of the Homepage of the website, as well as our Vimeo page. Find out about other in-person and virtual events coming up on our Eventbrite profile.
Keep up with what’s happening at First Universalist!
First Universalist Church of Denver
4101 E. Hampden Ave.
Denver, CO 80222
We are located on the Northeast intersection of S. Colorado and E. Hampden Ave. with access to our parking lot on Ash St. Our main entrance is located off the parking lot on the east side of the building.
Phone: (303) 759-2770
We want to hear from you.
Click the button below to learn more about our staff team and find their direct contact details.
Need Pastoral Care?
Share a confidential message anytime with our Care Leaders at email@example.com. Click the button below to learn more about our staff team and find their direct contact details.
Our Vision: Building for the Future
The re-creation of the First Universalist Church of Denver expresses the congregation’s values of inclusiveness, environmental responsibility and community. The goal of the church renovation project was to design a building that would invite people to experience joy, awe, reverence, inspiration, and connection through abundant light, beautiful color, and vibrant sound with a feeling of spaciousness, and connection to the natural world.
Through its distinctive architecture, the building speaks to the world of who we are and supports the work we do: love as covenant, wisdom for life and compassion in action. It welcomes newcomers, encourages radical hospitality, invites participation and engagement through diverse and innovative programs, connects people within and across the generations, and reaches out to create diverse communities within our walls and beyond. It supports our invitation for people to gather with us, grow with us, and serve with us.
The building is a functional, clean, safe, user-friendly space for our community. It incorporates sustainable building practices in use of energy, building materials, and ongoing maintenance. Its flexible design anticipates change, growth, multiple purposes, and continuing renewal.
The design of the building reflects our concern for the environment, connection with our surroundings, love of life, our deliberate commitment to learning and reinvention, and our need for quiet reflection. The building and the process of its creation opened a path for new growth and is a catalyst for creating new connections with the broader community in line with our mission to offer community for connection, renewal, and transformation.
The Heart of a Building
Members of our community have formed many groups for spiritual and stimulation, and we also just like to be together as friends. We work for justice in many areas, with opportunities for ongoing education, service, and advocacy.
Want help deepening your connection to First Universalist Church of Denver?
Contact our Church Office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Welcome to First Universalist
Our beautiful and environmentally responsible facility has a room for every occasion. Whether you are planning a wedding, workshop, conference, or other event, consider holding it at First Universalist.
For details and a price quote, contact email@example.com.
Event and Program Request Form – For Virtual / Zoom Events, Too!
To request a room for a church event or meeting, first, check the calendar above to see what is has already been scheduled for the day(s) you would like to hold your event. Please complete the answers and you will receive a confirmation email within 1-2 business days. For assistance, call the church office at 303.759.2770 ext. 10.
If you want help promoting your event, please reach out to Kailey Capuano, Communications Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Click here for the New Program / Event Process
“We are people of all ages, people of many backgrounds, and people of many beliefs. We are brave, curious and compassionate thinkers and doers. We create spirituality and community beyond boundaries, working for more justice and more love in our own lives and in the world.
Unitarian Universalism affirms and promotes Eight Principles, grounded in the humanistic teachings of the world’s religions. Our spirituality is unbounded, drawing from scripture and science, nature and philosophy, personal experience and ancient tradition as described in our Six Sources.”
Sources of Unitarian Universalism
Our six sources are a quintessential feature of Unitarian Universalism, creating a “religious pluralism that enriches and ennobles our faith.” They take seriously the fact that our religious sensibilities differ. We are invited to embrace those sources that speak to our soul, using them as touchstones to nurture us and inform our actions, using them to deepen our understanding and expand our vision, using them to lead lives of integrity and authenticity.
Our First Source: Direct Experience
- Religion begins with experience, not with words. It is through our direct experience of life, 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. Through our experience, enduring and nurturing connections are created, ones that uphold us through this journey that we call life. We are not isolated beings. Rather, we are both made of the stuff of stars and connected through time and space with all that exists.
Our Second Source: Deeds of Prophetic Women & Men
- 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. In every age they arise, some known to history and revered as exemplars—people for us to emulate in word, deed, and spirit. The vast majority of these prophetic women and men, however, became anonymous with the passage of time, but their legacy of courage endures. They used the life they were given doing the work that they believed would help bend the moral arc of the universe toward justice. Unitarian Universalist minister Tom Owen-Towle has characterized Unitarian Universalists as “free-thinking mystics with hands,” a term that captures three essential characteristics of our religious tradition: freedom of belief, a spiritual grounding, and deeds in service of justice. When future generations speak of prophetic women and men, may they also be speaking about us.
Our Third Source: Wisdom from the World’s Religions
- It is the wisdom of our religious tradition to seek wisdom far and wide, rather than assuming that we already possess it or that it is the province of some peoples, some cultures, some religions, and not others. The wisdom we find from the world’s religions inspires us in our ethical and spiritual life.
Our Fourth Source: Jewish & Christian Teachings
- Love is a gift to our religious tradition from both Judaism and Christianity. When Ferenc Dávid, one of our founders who lived in the 16th century said, “We do not need to think alike, to love alike,” he was recalling the words of Jesus who demanded a radical and transforming love as both the basis for human relationship and the gateway to relationship with the divine. With those simple, but profound words, Dávid said we will gather as religious communities based on love, not intellectual propositions; on covenant, not creed; on orthopraxy or right practice, not orthodoxy or right belief. Because we have tended to embrace the religion of Jesus, rather than the religion about Jesus, we share a religious affinity with Judaism that is as strong as our historical association with Christianity. We have taken the foundation of love from both traditions and used it to build Unitarian Universalism. Because of this, we have always been standing on the side of love.
Our Fifth Source: Humanist Teachings
- Humanist teachings counsel us to heed the guidance of reason and the results of science, and warn us against idolatries of the mind and spirit. The constructive work of reason and science involves synthesis, seeking order out of chaos. At the deepest level, this is the search for unity. And this often results in surprise and paradox. Danish physicist Neils Bohr captured this when he said, “The opposite of a correct statement is a false statement. But the opposite of a profound truth may well be another profound truth.”
Our Sixth Source: Earth-based Spirituality
- Spiritual teachings of earth-centered traditions celebrate the sacred circle of life and instruct us to live in harmony with the rhythms of nature. Creation did not end on the sixth day as the story in Genesis would have us believe. It is a continuous process and we have become co-creators with nature. Our appropriate role is not to dominate the earth, but to use our technology to allow us to live human lives with dignity and meaning within the earth’s ecological means. The first step in changing our relationship with the earth is to awaken in us and in all humanity a reverence for the earth. May this reverence lead us to honor the earth. May it deepen into something so profound that the earth becomes sacred to us. May this deep reverence transform our actions, so that our very living becomes a touch that caresses the earth.
Our Seventh Source: Unitarian Universalism
- Our seventh source is our own religious tradition with its theology of one light, Unitarianism, and many windows, Universalism, offers promise to the world. This includes the promise of hope, healing, and transformation.
What’s next for congregations after they adopt the 8th?
Watch congregations on this Youtube video describe some of the steps they took after they adopted the 8th Principle (video starts at 53:00).
FAQ: THE 8TH PRINCIPLE
What is the language of the 8th Principle?
“We, the member congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Association, covenant to affirm and promote: journeying toward spiritual wholeness by working to build a diverse multicultural Beloved Community by our actions that accountably dismantle racism and other oppressions in ourselves and our institutions.”
Why are we doing this now?
The 8th Principle is being studied by the UUA and joins the work of UU congregations across the country to uplift and affirm our Association’s commitment to racial justice, equity, multiculturalism, and building beloved community. By passing it now, we become a part of over 155 congregations encouraging the whole Association to put racial justice at the center of our commitments – both theologically and structurally. It’s a movement to extend the commitment of the whole faith tradition. Adopting the 8th Principle would be an important additional signal to individuals and communities of color that our congregation is committed to anti-racist work.
I would like more background on the UUA development of the 8th Principle. Where can I find it?
The 8th Principle was originally drafted by Paula Cole Jones (All Souls Church, Unitarian in Washington, DC) and Bruce Pollack-Johnson (the UU Church of the Restoration in Philadelphia). They and a group of allies began working on this in 2013 and in 2017 recommended its adoption by the UUA which set up a commission to consider it.
See the UUA website for more information on the origin of the 8th Principle as well as on other topics: Why Now? Why the UUA? Why single out Racism? What is Beloved Community? What does it mean to be accountable?
Have other congregations already supported this resolution?
As of March 1, 2022 over 155 UU congregations throughout the U.S. have voted to support the resolution. This surpasses the minimum 15 congregations needed to move it forward to the General Assembly. But, as with any proposal, the more support, the more likely the adoption. You can hear about the experiences of four congregations (Philadelphia, Honolulu, Annapolis, Summit, NJ) with the 8th Principle in this video (1:29).
What is the process of changing or adding to the UUA principles? Has it been done before?
The UU Principles were designed to be a living document, not a fixed creed. As such, the UUA Bylaws provide a process for reviewing the principles at least every 15 years and for adopting a new principle between those reviews (Article XV, Sections C-15.1 and C-15.2). After the formation of the Unitarian Universalist Association in 1961, there were originally 6 principles. The 7th principle was adopted in 1985. Proposals are considered and voted upon during a multi-year process, with plenty of time for review and discussion. Here are two links that explain the process. The first is to a 2006 article about the process for reviewing the Principles and the second is to the Bylaws.
Why do we need another principle to focus attention on anti-racism? Don’t the current 7 Principles already commit us to this work?
The 8th Principle was initiated by people of color and their allies in Unitarian Universalism because the first seven principles (codified in the 1980s) do not explicitly address anti-racism. As one of the authors said: “After working with congregations on these issues for over 15 years, I realized that a person can believe they are being a ‘good UU’ and following the 7 Principles without thinking about or dealing with racism and other oppressions at the systemic level.”
- If the 7 Principles are all that is needed, then why do BIPOC express statements like those listed below? Why do they sometimes say that they do not feel welcome?
- If adopting the 8th Principle makes BIPOC feel more seen and heard, why wouldn’t we choose to adopt it?
When we are trying to change culturally entrenched attitudes and generations of habit and history, making our commitments direct and explicit is enormously helpful. The 8th Principle asks us to act, to go beyond beliefs and vision to practice/action. It asks us to hold ourselves accountable and to fulfill the potential of our existing principles.
I would like to hear what Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) and other groups are saying about the 8th Principle. Where can I find that information?
Here are some statements from BIPOC Unitarian Universalists:
- With the 8th Principle, I am more likely to invite other BIPOC to my congregation.
- As a POC I want to be in a congregation open to and interested in combatting racism and white supremacy; otherwise, the UU 7 principles do not ring true to me.
- The 8th Principle is about action; the other 7 principles are about beliefs and vision, not action.
- Adopting the 8th Principle will give us a framework to examine everything we do internally and spiritually for ourselves, and to talk about racism and other issues explicitly. It will give BIPOC and people affected by other oppressions permission to call it out.
- Youth and young adults looking for a congregation will expect something like the 8th Principle.
- Adopting the 8th Principle is a tangible expression of love. Shows that we care about BIPOC.
And here are some videos/websites:
- The 8th Principle Matters to Members of the BIPOC Community (video 1:18)
- The 8th Principle Matters to UU Youth
- The 8th Principle Matters to Religious Educators (video 1:23)
Can we change the wording?
No, we cannot. At this early stage, congregations need to adopt the proposed resolution as it is written. The wording of the 8th principle will be debated substantially on the floor of the UUA General Assembly. By voting to approve it now, with the wording as presented, we’re ensuring that when it comes to the floor of GA, it’s not mired in myriad drafts and inter-group conflicts about which wording which congregations have adopted. We would like a fighting chance for the UUA to spend time discussing both the substance of the Principle and the implications it brings. Thus, if each congregation has adopted separate language, we would be creating a kind of chaos when we really need a structured conversation. Give the UUA a chance. Have one shared language.
In addition, the current wording was written by African American leadership and allies in the UUA and endorsed by Black Lives of UU(BLUU) and DRUMM (Diverse Revolutionary UU Multicultural Ministries). While it is phrased differently from the more vision-focused language of the other 7 principles, it was specifically worded to express the need for accountable action because the implicit language of dignity, respect, equity, and inclusion in the current seven principles has not resulted in sustained and significant change toward anti-racism in the UUA or its congregations.
Why is the focus on racism? What about ‘other oppressions’?
In the U.S., racism stands out. Our country’s history is deeply rooted in racism, beginning with slavery, where people were treated as property who could be inherited because of the color of their skin. Further, the two worst crises in the UUA were both related to race.
The UUA and individual congregations have been making progress on other oppressions such as discrimination against women, LGBTQIA+ individuals, and persons who are differently abled, with a growing number of members, leaders, and staff from these communities. But there is a strong and widespread feeling that not enough is being done on the issue of race.
Religious organizations like the UUA and First Universalist are no different than other social institutions like schools, businesses, criminal justice, and government that have structures, policies, practices, and norms reflecting the dominant white culture embedded in the United States since its founding. Many people of color and others marginalized by this culture simply do not feel welcomed or represented in any of these institutions. BIPOC in congregations that have adopted the 8th Principle report feeling more welcomed and a greater sense of hope. Younger members will expect to see an explicit commitment to anti-racism.
Won’t working within our Congregation and Association take us away from the important work of making changes in our larger society?
A Lao-tse quote says, “If there is to be peace in the world… there must be peace in the home… there must be peace in the heart.” So, if there is to be beloved community and social justice in the world, there must be beloved community and social justice in the congregational home and heart. As we work at First Universalist and in the UUA to develop a more inclusive culture, we cannot ignore our efforts in the larger community. We will be “practicing what we preach,” learning new tools and gaining valuable insights that we can all apply not only in our congregation but in the world at large.
Can you define Beloved Community?
The UUA provides this definition: “Beloved Community happens when people of diverse racial, ethnic, educational, class, gender, sexual orientation backgrounds/identities come together in an interdependent relationship of love, mutual respect, and care that seeks to realize justice within the community and in the broader world.”
Why is white culture singled out? I feel like I am being made to feel guilty.
We are putting the focus on us collectively, not on each of us as an individual. But the systems set up in this country that advantage white people continue today. As Rev. Nancy McDonald Ladd observed in a recent sermon, “We drink from wells we did not dig.” Much has happened in both the country and in our denomination in recent years that reveals the extent to which “white culture” is embedded in all social institutions, including our congregations. We need to begin to understand this and its impact today on BIPOC. We are asking each of us to do our own interior work to examine our own biases as well as society’s biases. We all have fears and resistance to change and many of us are uncomfortable with internal work, but we need to “walk our talk” and confront the systemic racism and inequity within our own structures.
If adopted, how will this impact our congregation – will we lose members?
We are all at different places on our personal journeys of learning about racism in our society. Our hope is that with respectful and honest discussion, without shame or blame of anyone, all congregants will continue to learn and grow and find a home at First Universalist Church of Denver. UU congregations have historically gained members, rather than lost them, when we have taken strong stands on justice issues. We are more likely to attract young people and people of color if we have taken a strong stand against racism.
What are some examples of the types of changes we will see at First Universalist if we adopt the 8th Principle?
There is no manual for this work, but there is guidance from the UUA and other congregations and institutions further along on this process, as well as resource materials developed by organizational consultants of color. For First U, it will be an on-going process of listening to, learning from, and following the leadership of those who have been more negatively impacted. We will work together to uncover and change internal barriers to equity and inclusion. We acknowledge that making these changes will not be fast, easy, or comfortable, but we believe that the outcomes will be creative, enriching, and reflective of our highest values. Making a congregational commitment to embrace this process in an organized and accountable way is the first step. Suggestions for moving forward are addressed in a UUA report “Widening the Circle of Concern.” At a gathering in Atlanta in 2017, UU leaders of color were asked to share their insights into how the Association could continue moving forward during another racially charged moment. https://www.uua.org/uuagovernance/committees/cic/widening.
Fortunately, we are not new to this process. We have already been making changes in this direction that many of us have enthusiastically embraced. For example, we have created more diversity in our pulpit sermons, readings, and music; challenging and engaging educational programs on antiracism and racial justice; and responsive and responsible social justice partnership and outreach. As we move forward, we might see changes such as: creation of a team to help guide our work and to hold us accountable for progress; a review of the impact of our current practices and structures to help us identify and prioritize which ones are most in need of change; and training for leaders, members, and staff to further understanding of how to develop attitudes, behaviors, structures, and policies that reflect an equitable and inclusive organization. We will determine these steps together.
Will there be conflict in this process?
Possibly. One of the common threads among congregations that have begun the process of consciously moving to multiculturalism is a willingness to take risks and to feel uncomfortable. They also report that a spirit of love is palpable in the congregations that commit to this soul work. See “Mistakes and Miracles: Congregations on the Road to Multiculturalism.” By Nancy Palmer Jones and Karin Lin. Skinner House Books, Boston, MA 2019, p. 32.
March 4, 2022
The FAQs were adapted for the River Road Unitarian Universalist Congregation (RRUUC) by members of the Educating4Change Pathway to Racial Justice, with permission, from FAQs developed by Unitarian Universalist Church West (UUCW), Brookfield, WI. April 2021.