UU History

Unitarian Universalism is a liberal religious tradition that was formed from the merger of two different religions: Unitarianism and Universalism. Both began in Europe hundreds of years ago. In America, the Universalist Church of America was founded in 1793, and the American Unitarian Association in 1825. On June 14, 1960, these denominations merged to form a new religion, Unitarian Universalism through the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA).

Both religions have long histories and have contributed important theological concepts that remain central to Unitarian Universalism. Originally, all Unitarians were Christians who didn't believe in the Holy Trinity of God (Father, Son, and Holy Ghost), but in the unity, or single aspect, of God. Later, Unitarian beliefs stressed the importance of rational thinking, a direct relationship with God, and the humanity of Jesus. Universalism emerged as a Christian denomination with a central belief in universal salvation; that is, that all people will eventually be reconciled with God.

Since the merger of the two denominations in 1960, Unitarian Universalism has nurtured its Unitarian and Universalist heritages to provide a strong voice for social justice and liberal religion.

List of Past Ministers

List of Past Moderators

Happy Anniversary!

Our congregation is 200 years young, and we didn't want to only celebrate for a day, a week, a month, or even a year (clap clap clap clap!)... so here's the plan:
A three year celebration and renewal period for this justice seeking congregation highlighted by:

2020 Unfortunately, this year's events were postponed due to the pandemic. Ongoing work on the updating of the History Book

2021 Unfortunately, this year's events, too, were postponed. Ongoing work on the updating of the History Book

April 30 - the Installation ceremony of our Minister followed by a fabulous Texas-themed reception on the lawn.
October 7-9 - the Pennsylvania Universalist Convention meets at Restoration: a three-day hybrid event attended by representatives from all six of the historically Universalist churches in the state.

May 19-21 - and, to celebrate the culmination of our 200th...

“Telling Our Stories… 200 Years of Universalist History”

Unitarian Universalists of Mt. Airy
6900 Stenton Ave. Philadelphia, PA 19150
Featuring Rev. Dr. Bill Sinkford and Dr. Dan McKanan
Saturday Night Concert with Reggie Harris

The 2023 Universalist Convocation will meet in Philadelphia, PA from May 19 - 21, 2023, at our congregation, Unitarian Universalists of Mount Airy. Organized in 1820, we are the last historically Universalist Church remaining in Philadelphia. For most of our history, we were known as the Church of the Restoration, and we are debuting our new name to the Convocation this year. We are located in the Northwest section of Philadelphia, called Mt. Airy, though our congregation has existed at several locations before building our current home in the late 1930s.

When this building was completed, the tradespeople who built the church were so grateful to have steady work in the Depression that they contributed a lovely stained glass window featuring their likenesses... alongside another famous 1930s era pop culture character. We also boast a Universalist History Window that is beautiful to behold. The windows, iron finishings, pews, and lights made by skilled labor that created our spiritual home look forward to welcoming you to our community.

Please check the Universalist Convocation website for information and registration for the upcoming weekend gathering.

Throughout, we will have other events and opportunities to live our our goals of embracing all souls and restoring wholeness, from a concert series, a sermon series, a connection with Restoration Tulsa UU on racial justice efforts there and here, family-centered activities and scavenger hunts, and a "thank you dinner" for the neighborhood.

This list is not finalized, nor is it exhaustive. It's the beginning of a time of opportunity and joy for us. We are people of resilience, and part of resilience is learning with and from our history and letting it dance is into our future. May it be so. Amen!

— McKinley


Above are State and City Officials who presented 200 Year citations to our church.
Left to right: Greg Windle, Comms Director for Councilmember Helen Gym, Councilmember Helen Gym, State Sen. Art Haywood, Rev. Naomi Washington-Leapheart, Director for Faith-Based and Interfaith Affairs, Mayor of Philadelphia's Office, Patricia Infante, Central East Region UUA Staff.
Also in attendance but not not picture: State Rep. Chris Rabb

Back to Top of Page