What’s in a Name? – Some VIUF History

“We are braver and wiser because they existed, those strong women and strong men. We are who we are because they were who they were. It’s wise to know who you came from, who called your name.”  –Maya Angelou

Beginning with our religious forebears and continuing in UU’s today is a passion for independence of thought and the right to question conventional ideas and the determination to be able to meet together in democratically organized groups that respect the independent beliefs of every member.

Recently I asked why we are still named “The Vashon Island Unitarian Fellowship” although the Unitarian and Universalist denominations merged in 1961.

With that merger Universalists brought the concept of universal love and universal salvation to us. The loving, nurturing mission of Universalism was just what the intellectual, crusading Unitarians needed.

Among UU’s there is no such thing as a simple question or a simple solution. That’s because among us every person matters and every idea is respected.

Since my question about adding “Universalist” to our Fellowship name, lots of other questions have arisen among us that deserve our consideration:

  • What about an entirely different name?
  • Do we still want to be called a “Fellowship” or something else?
  • How many of us know much about Unitarian Universalism?
  • Would we like to know more about each other and our hopes for the future of our beloved community?
We have been considering having a vote at our upcoming annual meeting this May on whether to change our name to the Vashon Island Unitarian Universalist Fellowship.

I’m beginning to think that changing the name of our little UU outpost on Vashon Island is not a simple matter. I now realize it’s a matter that has meaning for each of us. One idea is to make a plan for a series of get-togethers over the next few months, involving learning about UUism and each other before deciding on a new name for our now “Fellowship”. What is your opinion?

Judith Whitney

Name Change Project
Stay tuned to What’s in a Name? every week in the newsletter for more thoughts about name change project. This week Rev. Kari Kopnik will talk about the Unitarian Universalist merger in 1961. On April 16 Vashon historian Bruce Haulman will talk about the significance of names. After that service we will have a meeting for everyone to discuss whether to change our name and what it should be.

More about the work of the Name Change Task Force can be found here. 

What’s in a Name: Values, Purpose, and Vision