Up next

As my long-time readers have seen, I have written more here lately and hope to keep up the pace. Apart from historic connections between Unitarians and the Independent Sacramental movement I mentioned in my last update (that’ll be a longer piece), I’ll be writing next about:

  • Why Universalists gathered parishes and societies at all
  • Trying out short-format meditations tied to the Revised Common Lectionary
  • Why I don’t engage in apologetics
  • Notes about my eucharistic piety
  • What Universalist “convention churches” were
  • My tech-supported writing workflow
  • Clippings from the Universalist General Convention
  • Historic books I’ve started reading

Up next

Up next, in no particular order,

  • A versatile order for communion for prayer breakfasts
  • The continuing series about the Independent Sacramental Movement (ISM) and Universalism
  • ISM overlaps with the Unitarians from generations ago
  • Interesting finds from Universalist year books of the 1920s and 1930s: polity and public policy
  • My next sermon manuscript
  • Thoughts about shopping for church supplies

Next on the blog

After I wrap up this series on “The Gadfly Papers” I’ll turn to writing what I had intended this week: an exploration of the Independent Sacramental Movement.

What it is; what distinguishes its approach(es) to Christianity; the unexpected ways it overlaps with Unitarian Universalism; and what we have to learn and appreciate from them.

UniversalistChristian.net down for rebuilding

My UniversalistChristian.net site — one of the places I stash Universalist Christian documents — got infected and so rather trying to clean it, I have completely take it down.

I’m really long past giving my documents sites a collective scrub, so I plan on doing that, with other security updates besides. I’ll appreciate your patience.

Preparing an online version of “Ancient History of Universalism”

I’ve been writing a blog since 2003, and this is post #4,000. I saw this coming and thought it deserved a little something extra.

Earlier this week I was speaking with a friend and colleague about Universalism and Eastern Orthodoxy, and recalled to him Hosea Ballou II’s 1828 Ancient History of Universalism, which traced the doctrine from the period from the end of the writing of the New Testament to thhe Fifth Ecumenical Council, particularly in the East. Among other things, the work positions Universalism within the entirety of Christian history and not as an innovation then a scant two or three generations old. And given the role Hosea Ballou II played within the denomination, his influence would have been important in his lifetime. I thought to read it, and knowing from my early (1990s) transcription projects that the best way to read one of these old works — and retain any memory of it — is to edit it for web publication, and that’s what I am doing to celebrate post #4,000.

It’s not the first edition nor the second, but the 1872 edition, with added notes. I’m about half-way through, and will post it online as a web page and intend to create an epub edition, suitable for most book readers. (If you want a print reproduction copy of the first edition, get one here.)

And what value is it today? Among other things, to see how a leading and influential Universalist saw his faith and contrasted with others (allegory is silly; reason, good) and to have handy access to those texts (including biblical texts) that early Universalists used to support the faith. And perhaps past both of these, to enjoy a grand piece of period scholarship and to inspire new studies; I’ve since ordered a modern history of Origen to take me where HB2 couldn’t.

I’ll post afresh when and where the files go up.

What church is that in the header?

A friend asked if the church in the header was Universalist. Indeed it is, or was. That is Universalist Meeting House, Hingham, Massachusetts. The image, now in the public domain, was extracted and hosted a Flickr.

This is the original source, The History of the Town of Hingham, Massachusetts.

Phoebe Hanaford was one of its pastors. The church disbanded in 1929 — so many disbanded in that decade — and the building, which still stands, has been converted to a private house.  Its papers are in the Unitarian Universalist archive at Harvard-Andover Library.

New WordPress theme might be good for churches

There’s been a flood of new Bootstrap-y sites for churches made over the last couple of years, and I’m sure that’s the kind of thing that some other churches would want and cannot afford.

I’m looking at the new default business-minded WordPress theme — Twenty Seventeen — and it pushes some of the same buttons that those other sites push. Cutting edge design? Hardly? But it might what a church needs to refresh its look, and it has features that should make it easy to manage by non-pros.

For a week or so, I’ll have the default Twenty Seventeen theme up. (I’m not selling plants now.)

HymnsoftheSpirit.org is back

I had some site problems this last week. My old main blog, BoyintheBands.com, was badly hacked and in the process of hardening the other sites against attack, I ruined the WordPress install for my homage site to the 1937 “red hymnal” HymnsoftheSpirit.org.

I had to trash the old system and completely reinstalled it. Easy, but I misplaced the theme (no great loss) in the process. So the site is there, if plain.

Restored link to readings and propers page

About three years ago, I started a project where I compared the one-year lectionaries, with accompanying collects (prayers), of a nineteenth-century Universalist prayerbook and an English twentieth-century work that tried to restore liturgial worship to historic dissenter churches, project that reminds me of the work of James Martineau.

And here’s a direct link to that.

It is largely complete, but I realized that in moving the content from Boy in the Bands to this domain, I let the links to this and other liturgical resources vanish. I’ve fixed that, and this week will fill in the missing propers for the days after Christmas.

Moving the ministry to RevScottWells.com

From here on, the focus of my writing ministry will be at RevScottWells.com, and that is

  1. interpreting Universalist Christianity for today, particularly in practical and popular ways, and
  2. identifying and developing methods to operate churches and other ministries more efficiently and economically, including worship and leadership development,

plus short notices and news as appropriate.

An archive of my writing, to date, will be mirrored at BoyintheBands.com, which will continue with miscellaneous religion news, pop culture and opinion. UniversalistChristian.org will continue as a documents archive, and will grow slowly to support my work at RevScottWells.com.

The name “Boy in the bands” started as wordplay on the stage play and film The Boys in the Band, and the Geneva bands I wear when preaching. The play doesn’t match my experience as a gay man (and never has), I’m hardly a boy, and I only preach occasionally (though I do still wear bands) so even if the name ever made sence as a public persona, it doesn’t now.

Changing domains means a hit to readership, but in time that heals. That said, I’d appreciate you reading my blog here, and sharing the word.

Thanks.

Crossposted at BoyintheBands.com