Get Rowell's article on British Universalism

I’ve been doing this Universalist thing for about fifteen years now, and Unitarianism before that. I’m pretty well versed on several of the major themes within Universalism — perhaps more so than most — but I’ve probably forgotten more than I’ve retained. (That’s OK: recognizing the finite capacity of human beings before the infinitude of God is a continuing theme in the work of Hosea Ballou.)

One of the items I had forgotten but rediscovered recently was an article that any serious student of Universalism should have handy for ready reference. Here’s the citation, go get it:

Rowell, Geoffrey. “The Origin and History of Universalist Societies in Britain, 1750-1850.” 22 Journal of Ecclesiastical History (January 1971): 35-56.

How he distinguishes the heritage of the Elhanan Winchester stream and the James Relly/John Murray stream of Universalism makes the article interesting and applicable for American Universalist; the author also admirably ties in older mystical strains. Consider it a companion piece to George H. Williams’s bicentennial (American Universalism; the fourth edition is in print thanks to Skinner House) essay.

The author was then the assistant chaplain of New College, Oxford. Nice. Given his credentials, I imagine this man is the same as the current (Church of England) Bishop of Gibraltar in Europe. I laughed when I connected the two facts. I have an inordinate interest in expatriate churches and have seen his smiling face (and crooked collar) a dozen times at the Diocese of Europe page.

Note: if he is the same one, he would have been about twenty-seven years old at the time. So if you’re old enough to be reading this, get cracking on your work.

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