History of “The Independent Christian Church”
Now named the Gloucester Unitarian Universalist Church, we are proud to claim the distinction of being the first Universalist church in America. Brought to Gloucester from England by John Murray, Universalism is founded on the belief that God wills the salvation of all, emphasizing the inherent goodness of human beings.
With Murray as leader, several members of the First Parish Church separated from that body on January 1, 1779 and formed The Independent Church of Christ. The church received its charter in 1785; in 1786 Gloucester Universalists fought for, and won, freedom from taxation for the support of the First Parish Church. The ruling in their favor by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court provided a precedent for the separation of church and state. The cornerstone for the current building was laid in 1805.
In 1961 the Universalist Church of America and the American Unitarian Association merged to create the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA), and the Independent Christian Church voted to be part of this union and became known as the Independent Christian Church, Unitarian Universalist. In 2015 we voted to change our name officially to the Gloucester Unitarian Universalist Church.
Our Mission Statement:
As a Unitarian Universalist congregation, we gather in a spirit of joy to celebrate community and the gifts of each individual. We seek to be guided by love, welcoming those of every race, ethnicity, creed, class, age, gender, physical or mental ability, and sexual identity. We honor freedom of thought. We seek spiritual guidance and inspiration. We support spiritual inquiry. We strive to put our ideas into our deeds and to work for justice and peace.
In 2004, the congregation was awarded official recognition as a Welcoming Congregation of the Unitarian Universalist Association, meaning that we affirm the full inclusion of people of all sexual orientations and gender identities.