The UCA was formed in 1991, largely at the instigation of scholar and minister Lancelot Austin Garrard (1904–1993),, as a response to theological revisionism within the General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches (GAUFCC).
The founders of the Unitarian Christian Association sought to uphold the original Unitarian Christian tradition of Francis David within the British Unitarian movement. The aims of the UCA were "to promote Unitarian Christian religion in the congregations of the General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches, to promote religious education within that tradition, to relieve need, hardship or distress of members of the Association, and to undertake any other charitable purpose that may arise."
They sought to achieve these aims through working together on explicitly Unitarian Christian publications such as The Herald (a journal published every quarter), contributions to Hymns of Faith and Freedom (a Unitarian hymn book), and through the holding of explicitly Unitarian Christian meetings, lectures and services within churches affiliated with the General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches.
In its early years, the members of the UCA decided that they did not wish to apply for recognition as an official body affiliated to the General Assembly. But after the GA adopted new aims and objects which specifically included "the upholding of the liberal Christian tradition," it was agreed that it would be appropriate to apply for recognition. The Unitarian Christian Association became an Affiliated Society in April 2002.
Despite the clear friendship and warmth between Unitarian Christians and non-Christian Unitarians in the UK, there have been a series a debates within the Association and wider denomination - sometimes heated - over the future of Unitarian Christianity in the United Kingdom, and the UCA's role in its preservation and continued development.
In Spring 2006, a theological colloquium was held at Cambridge University by UCA members in order to discuss the future of Unitarianism and Free Christianity within Britain. Following this, UCA representatives met with representatives from the Assemblée Fraternelle des Chrétiens Unitariens (AFCU) and Congregazione Italiana Cristiano Unitariana to discuss the future of Unitarian Christianity on a wider international level. From this meeting the Avignon Manifesto - a joint declaration of intent - was created and published for their members to individually ratify. The document affirmed their distinct identity as Unitarian Christians whilst signalling their intent to remain within the wider Unitarian and Free Christian traditions.
Not all ministers of the Non-subscribing Presbyterian Church of Ireland (NSPCI) are on a common roster with the ministers of the predominantly British General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches (GAUFCC). Not all NSPCI ministers see themselves as Unitarian.
Read more about this topic: Unitarian Christian Association
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