A number of noted people have considered themselves Unitarians, Universalists, and following the merger of these denominations in the United States and Canada in 1961, Unitarian Universalists. Additionally, there are persons who, because of their writings or reputation, are considered to have held Unitarian or Universalist beliefs. Individuals who held unitarian (nontrinitarian) beliefs but were not affiliated with Unitarian organizations are often referred to as "small 'u'" unitarians. The same principle can be applied to those who believed in universal salvation but were not members of Universalist organizations. This article, therefore, makes the distinction between capitalized "Unitarians" and "Universalists" and lowercase "unitarians" and "universalists".
The Unitarians and Universalists are groups that existed long before the creation of Unitarian Universalism.
Many historical Unitarians did not hold Universalist beliefs, and many historical Universalists did not hold Unitarian beliefs. But beginning in the Nineteenth century, and even earlier, the theologies of the two groups started becoming more similar.
Additionally, the merger did not eliminate divergent Unitarian and Universalist congregations, especially outside the US. Even in the US there are congregations which still keep only one of the two names "Unitarian" or "Universalist" (though with only a few exceptions, are all part of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA)); even those which maintain dual affiliation (e.g. Unitarian and Quaker). Transcendentalism was a movement that diverged from contemporary American Unitarianism but has been embraced by later Unitarians and Unitarian Universalists.
Also note that in Ireland and in Northern Ireland, Unitarian churches are officially called "Non-Subscribing Presbyterian", but are informally known as "Unitarian" and are affiliated with the Unitarian churches of the rest of the world.
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