I take reader requests, and reader asked what the Universalists did to address the decline prior to World War Two. This squib of an article is what I plan to do.
- I’ll consider denomination theological and social adaptation, institutional plans and budgets. I’ll use reports, directories and where available newspapers and books.
- I’ll work from a hypothesis that the decline in denominational Universalism began in the 1920s and lead to a choice to either merge with another denomination or collapse. There were two contenders: the Unitarians and the Congregationalists. As we know, the Unitarians “won” overall, and some individual parishes joined the Congregationalists.
- I’ll look at the initiatives to encourage loyalty, minimize the parish losses and raise funds. I’ll try to identify what fell off the table.
- As I review period documents, I’ll point out and transcribe documents that illuminate the truth, and I’ll modify my hypothesis as needed.
This is a long-term project, and to be clear I don’t think there are parallels to the UUA today. (The money and ministerial supply couldn’t be more different.)