The First Unitarian Congregation of Ottawa

Jul 19th, 2018 | By | Category: This Is Your Church

Turn off Richmond Road onto Cleary Avenue, and you will enter what we fondly refer to as ‘Cleary Village.’ The First Unitarian Congregation of Ottawa’s spiritual home is evident, with it’s soaring spire surrounded by well-tended meditation gardens.  Enter the main doors and you are welcomed into the sanctuary with its large expanse of windows overlooking nature, and tall ceilings of red cedar. On our 4.5 acre parcel of land that overlooks the Sir John A McDonald Parkway, we share our campus with Unitarian House (a retirement residence) and the River Parkway Childcare Centre.

The Ottawa Unitarian Association was formed in 1898. The first church was built at the corner of Elgin and Lewis Street, and the congregation moved to the current location in 1967.

About Unitarianism

Unitarian Universalism is a liberal religion that combines two religious movements: Unitarianism and Universalism. Unitarianism, which dates back to the 16th century, began as a religious movement that opposed the idea of Holy Trinity and believed in the oneness of God, free human will, and the loving benevolence of God. Universalism, which developed in North America in the 1800s, was a reaction against strict Calvinist doctrines of eternal punishment.  Universalists believed that dignity and worth is innate to all people regardless of sex, colour, race or class.  We also draw from the wisdom of world religions, Jewish, Christian and Humanist teachings, and the spiritual knowledge of earth-centred traditions.

Regardless of faith, you are welcome in a UU congregation. Many of our 300-plus members identify as Christian UU, Buddhist UU, Humanist UU and even Atheist UU. As ‘UUs’ we are empowered to seek our individual truths (there is no creed or dogma) and we are bound together by the seven principles and spiritual sources of our religious faith. These principles and sources form the background of our Sunday Worship, our community outreach, and our internal events and groups. The seven principles are:

• The inherent worth and dignity of every person.

• Justice, equity, and compassion in human relations.

• Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations.

• A free and responsible search for truth and meaning.

• The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregation and in society at large.

• The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all.

• Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.

We meet together on Sunday mornings for whole congregational worship, where our children have the best seats in the house, space to roam in our family lounge, and childcare workers to help our parents keep them engaged in the service. We explore all kinds of topics in our services together, share beautiful music, take time to reflect, and be called into action.

There are many ways for the whole family to connect and nurture their spiritual side throughout the week. Our congregation also creates community beyond Sunday mornings through the excellent music program led by our award-winning choir director, lifespan learning opportunities for all ages, and many social justice initiatives. In November we also hold the largest church bazaar in Ottawa.

We are located off Richmond Road, just west of Westboro. We offer plenty of parking, and bus route #11 stops at the top of Cleary Ave.

Please visit our website at for more information on our congregation.

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