Friday 27th October 2017 at 5pm
As a nod to the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther nailing his theses to the church door in 1517, a nail which went a long way to kickstarting the Reformation, members of the Dublin Unitarian Church (in period costume) will nail the churches’ modern Unitarian theses to their own door on Friday 27th October at 5pm. Others will observe and quite possibly heckle !! Some, for the fun of it,, will be dressed in costume appropriate to 1517. You are invited to join in, dressed however you wish.
It is also 200 years since the Unitarian Act, an act of parliament, gave freedom to Unitarians in ireland to practise their religion without hindrance. This was four years after the same act had been passed in England, Scotland and Wales.
“Rather than try to re-enact the more significant Act of Parliament, we are bringing Martin Luther back to life for a few minutes, and giving him the job of nailing an up to date document to our door,” said Dr. Martin Pulbrook, who has devoted his life to researching Unitarianism and early Christianity.
This document, which represents modern Unitarian beliefs in the twenty-first century, was compiled by the Reverend Bill Darlison, Minister Emeritus of the Unitarian Church. It lists ten beliefs held by members, including that all human beings have the right to pursue the ‘big questions’ of existence, to constantly revise and refine their views and are free to come to their own conclusions about religion and other matters. Unitarians believe that human life is sacred, that each human being is unique and precious, and has something valuable to offer.
“The list has evolved over the years,” said Reverend Bridget Spain, the present minister. “I’m sure most people will find that they agree with many or all of its points. But, for the purposes of the re-enactment, we may arrange for some ‘hecklers’ to visit us from the year 1517!”
Unitarians are not called upon to believe in statements of metaphysical speculation. We have no creed.
1) We believe that all human beings have the right to pursue the big questions of existence, and that these questions are best approached in a supportive and understanding community free from dogmatic assumptions, inherited prejudices, indoctrination, or coercion. Each person should be free to come to his or her own conclusions about religion as about other matters.
2) We believe in constantly revising and refining our views and opinions in matters of faith. Faith is a living thing which may evolve with experience and reflection.
3) We believe that human life is sacred; that each human being is unique and precious, and has something valuable to offer.
4) We believe that differences between people based on gender, sexual orientation or gender identity are to be celebrated and valued, and that we are all entirely equal. These differences should never be a reason to exclude a person from membership or bar them from ministry.
5) We believe that we have a responsibility to care for the weak, the vulnerable, and the dispossessed in our own society, and throughout the world.
6) We believe that community is important and that human beings don’t live fully or creatively in isolation. We need each other. We need to share our joys and sorrows, and we need to share and celebrate our sacred moments together.
7) We believe in democracy. That spiritual communities should be run by and on behalf of their members, and that authority to preach and to minister should be conferred by the community, not by any external agency.
8) We believe in respecting all religious traditions, because despite often failing to live up to their highest ideals, they have given the world inspiring ideas, nurtured great minds, and fostered noble acts.
9) We believe that all religious scriptures are human products and that they must be interpreted with care and compassion, recognising that words on a page can never take precedence over reason, kindness, and respect for all.
10) We believe that the earth is fragile and precious, and it and every living thing upon it must be treated with reverence and respect.
It is these 12 “theses” which we will be nailing to our door. All interested parties are invited to attend and enjoy the fun.