The Unitarian and Universalist religious traditions were originally Judaeo Christian faiths which trace their origins back to such thinkers as Origen and Arius, both from 200 AD. These heretics (the word, “heresy” comes from the Greek, “to choose”) did not adhere to the concepts of the divinity of Jesus or of the Trinity.
These ideas resurfaced in Europe in the 1500’s at the time of the Reformation, and the Unitarian Church was formed. In Canada and the United States, Unitarianism arose out of an eighteenth-century protest against Calvinism and state churches. Unitarianism has long been characterized for valuing the use of reason in discerning beliefs of faith, for tolerance of other religious views and the freedom to practice ones religion, and for peaceful ways over aggression or war.
Universalism holds as its central tenet that humans are born in grace, not sin, and believes in the eventual salvation of all souls.
Both traditions have historically been strong advocates and responded with courage in the great movements for freedom and equality, including the abolition of slavery, the emancipation of women, the Civil Rights movement, LGBTQ rights and the fight for marriage equality, advocating for prison, education, health and social reform, and responding to environmental issues.
The first Canadian Unitarian services were held in Montreal in 1832. Universalism was brought to Canada in the early 1800’s, appearing first in the Halifax area. The two denominations merged in 1961, forming the Unitarian Universalist Association in the United States and the Canadian Unitarian Council in Canada
Unitarian Universalism has evolved considerably, particularly in North America, where it now welcomes people of diverse theological and philosophical identities who are committed to Unitarian Universalist Principles and values.
The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Kamloops was founded in 1994 by a small group of dedicated individuals who wanted to open the region to liberal religious values and establish an active Unitarian Universalist presence.