Black Metal Universalism

My attention was drawn yesterday to a site called Black Metal Universalism, the only obvious purpose of which is the sale of t-shirts emblazoned with “All Souls” in a design that is a bit too daring for this 45-year-old to wear non-ironically.

So is it “our Universalism” or not? There are certainly independent Universalists, but most (any?) aren’t so culturally edgy and the success of the Universalist Christian t-shirts at the UU Christian Fellowship table at General Assembly suggests this comes from within “the family”.

I looked up the domain registration. The site was registered the day before yesterday, but no name! Naughty, naughty.

But all is forgiven. I approve of this kind of material culture; it helps reinforce a sense of belonging without depending on real estate….

A follow-up to the Winchester Profession fellowship idea

There are (for me anyway) two truisms for this blog.

  1. The less time I put into a blog post, the more likely I’m going to get disproportionately large interest.
  2. The more time I put into a blog post, the more likely I will never finish it.

My recent title-only blog post about a Winchester Profession-based fellowship is proof of the first truism. I jotted out the thought — in the form of the title — and scheduled it yet unwritten to post on the Winchester Profession’s anniversary. I had the full intent to actually write something but my blogging dried up, and with it my attention to the schedule.

But, with respect to the second truism, I won’t labor the thought too much now. Some scattered idea, which will have to do for now.

  1. The Winchester Profession is at the same time a sufficient, liberal, foundational and historical way to encompass a variety of expressions of Universalism.
  2. An online search shows it still resonates with people.
  3. A fellowship or some other free-standing entity organized on a non-geographic basis and dependent on some distributed mode of communication can provide a way to “go deeper” in this tradition, without threatening or agitating those who feel no affection for it.
  4. Deeper consideration will more likely suggest more practical and useful actionable steps than drawing up a list out of nothing.
  5. A fellowship, however, need only to be as engaged and organized as its members need, thus can weather times of relative inactivity (should they come) better than, say, a church.

Deconstructing the Messiah church order of service: the text

So, before I break this apart, I want to show you an old order of service from the defunct Church of the Messiah (Universalist) in Philadelphia. (I wrote about Messiah Home, it’s former retirement home here.)

Thanks to friend and Unitarian Universalist minister Hank Peirce for photo of the original text.

Church of the Messiah order of service


Broad St. and Montgomery Avenue
Philadelphia 22, Pa.


Organ Prelude

The congregation will stand for the


From all that dwell below the skies

Let the Creator’s praise arise,

Let the Redeemer’s name be sung,

Through every land, by every tongue.

The congregation will be seated for the

Invocation to be followed by

The Lord’s Prayer


Responsive selection

Soprano Solo


Prayer Organ Response







Moments of Silence

Organ Postlude

Churches: merged, disaffiliated and dead

As I wrote yesterday, one of the UUA backends has — if you know how to look — references to churches that are “not constituent[s]” though I suppose they must have all been thus at one time.

Since the larger list includes Canadian congregations (not listed here) that departed around Canadian Unitarian Council autonomy in 2003, this list has to be at least that old.

Which is also to reinforce that not all of these are dead. I see at least one Universalist church (Rockwell, Windsor) that has come and gone over the years. So also I can image a couple of community or federated churches doing fine outside the UUA.

But the rural and small-town Universalist churches and the marginally placed Unitarian fellowships are surely gone. Two were intentionally African-American-focused starts. (T.H.E., Atlanta and Sojourner Truth, Washington, D.C., which was long gome before I moved to D.C. in 2000.) The hardest to see is Epiphany, Fenton: the hoped-for firstfruits of a new age of Christian church planting. Others surely feel the same way about Panthea Pagan, Hoffman Estates. I’ll miss Muttontown’s sheep banner at General Assembly.

But many more are simply mergers. I recall the two in Flushing, Queens continue as one. Two in Minnesota. Saugus recently merged with First Parish, Malden. Oregon City’s merger even has a note online. Perhaps, too, the references to Dayton, San Diego and San Antonio?

Comments (and clarifications) welcome.

“‘Not a Constituent Congregation'”,City,State
Guadalajara Unit. Univ. Fellowship,Guadalajara,Jalisco
Seward UUs,Seward,Alaska
Coronado UU Church,Coronado,California
UU Fellowship of the Mendocino Coast,Mendocino,California
U. U. Fellowship Southern Marin,Mill Valley,California
Aliso Creek Church,Mission Viejo,California
U U Fellowship of the Ojai Valley,Ojai,California
Channing Society of Orange County,Orange County,California
The Chalice Unit. Univ. Church,Poway,California
U. U. Inland North County Fellowship,San Diego,California
Unit. Univ. Fellowship of Friends,San Diego,California
All Souls Unitarian Church,San Juan Capo,California
UU Fellowship of Leisure World,Seal Beach,California
UU Fellowship of Aspen,Aspen,Colorado
Darien-New Canaan Unit. Society,New Canaan,Connecticut
UU Fellowship of the Farmington Valley,Simsbury,Connecticut
Sojourner Truth Congregation of UUs,Washington,D.C.
U. U. Fellowship of South Dade,Homestead,Florida
Eastside UU Church,Miami,Florida
Thurman Hamer Ellington UU Fellowship & Ministry,Atlanta,Georgia
Rockwell Universalist Church,Winder,Georgia
Glenview Unitarian Fellowship,Glenview,Illinois
“Panthea Pagan Fellowship, UUA”,Hoffman Estates,Illinois
Universalist Church,Waltonville,Illinois
Sauk Trail Unit. Univ. Fellowship,Crown Point,Indiana
UUs of Northern Kentucky,Lawrenceburg,Indiana
UU Fellowship Johnson County,Prairie Village,Kansas
UU Church of Hopkinsville,Hopkinsville,Kentucky
Unitarian Universalist Fellowship,Ruston,Louisiana
First Universalist Society,Brownfield,Maine
Seneca Valley U. U. Fellowship,Gaithersburg,Maryland
First Federated Church,Beverly,Massachusetts
First Parish Unitarian Church,East Bridgewater,Massachusetts
UUs of Lowell,Lowell,Massachusetts
First Parish UU Church in Saugus,Saugus,Massachusetts
U U Fellowship Northern Berkshire,N Adams,Massachusetts
Church of the United Community,Roxbury,Massachusetts
First Unitarian Church,Stoneham,Massachusetts
First Unitarian Church,Ware,Massachusetts
U. U. Fellowship of Saginaw,Bridgeport,Michigan
First Universalist Church,Concord,Michigan
Epiphany Community Church UU,Fenton,Michigan
First Unitarian Church,Virginia,Minnesota
Burruss Memorial Universalist Church,Ellisville,Mississippi
Universalist Church of Westbrook,Concord,New Hampshire
Community Church,Dublin,New Hampshire
Dorothea Dix U. U. Community,Groveville,New Jersey
U U Gloucester County Congregation,Turnersville,New Jersey
Unit. Univ. Fellowship of Burlington County,Willingboro,New Jersey
First Universalist Church,Dexter,New York
Hollis UU Congregation,Flushing,New York
Unitarian Universalist Church of Flushing,Flushing,New York
Universalist Church of the Messiah,Fort Plain,New York
First Universalist Church,Henderson,New York
Unitarian Universalist Church,Lockport,New York
Muttontown UU Fellowship,Muttontown,New York
First Univ. Church Schuyler Lake,Schuyler Lake,New York
U. U. Fellowship of Fayetteville,Fayetteville,North Carolina
First Unitarian Church,Dayton,Ohio
Miami Valley Unitarian Fellowship,Dayton,Ohio
U. U. Society Western Reserve,Kirtland,Ohio
Community UU Congregation,Tulsa,Oklahoma
Unit. Univ. Community of Cottage Grove,Cottage Grove,Oregon
Valley Community U. U. Fellowship,Newberg,Oregon
Atkinson Memorial Church (merged),Oregon City,Oregon
Boones Ferry U. U. Congregation,Oregon City,Oregon
Unitarian Fellowship of Bucks County,Fountainville,Pennsylvania
Venango Unit. Univ. Fellowship,Franklin,Pennsylvania
First Universalist Church,Woonsocket,Rhode Island
Brookings Unit. Univ. Fellowship,Brookings,South Dakota
First U U Fellowship Hunt County,Greenville,Texas
Community UU Church,San Antonio,Texas
Unitarian Universalist Fellowship,San Antonio,Texas
The Old Brick Church,East Montpelier,Vermont
Jenkins Unit. Univ. Fellowship,Chesterfield,Virginia
Lewis Clark Unitarian Fellowship,Clarkston,Washington
UU Congregation of Grays Harbor,Hoquiam,Washington
Fork Ridge Universalist Church,Moundsville,West Virginia
UU Fellowship,Buenos Aires,
Tokyo Unitarian Fellowship,Tokyo 106-0032,

First Free Church of Takoma

There was a time — and perhaps that time continues, but it’s hiding if so — when some leading “free” (itself often shorthand for free-thought, ethical-basis, or “post-Christian”) churches were not in Unitarian or Universalist fellowships. Proudly independent they were. Think Fountain Street Church, but peppered over the land.

And I found another example while looking through old hymnals, this time Out West: the Free Church of Tacoma, Washington. Long gone — the current Tacoma Unitarian Universalist  Congregation dates to 1944 — it leaves behind a journal (Google Books) and that hymnal. (Hymn list)

Blogs about universal restoration, from "Bible students"

Greetings: I’m looking for blogs written by or for independent theological universalists of the “UR” (universal restoration) or “Bible students” variety. I’ve noticed a strong tendency towards conferences there, and a conspicuous use of the Concordant version.

I’m trying to better understand the fellowship (or fellowships). Links in the comments would be helpful. Forthcoming conferences, too, if you have details, and I’ll also add them if and when I find any. Thanks.

My bit for Trinity Sunday

I’ve seen more Unitarians, Universalists and Unitarian Universalists make comment — positive, thoughtful or inquisitive comments — about the doctrine of the Trinity in the last few days than I’ve seen in my twenty-five years as a (Unitarian) Universalist. (Parenthetical, because I do believe in the Trinity now, but it’s not the sort of thing I lead with.)

So these references are more than today’s observation of Trinity Sunday, but I’m at a loss to say what that cause is.

The least I can do is add in a strange and — until the age of Google Books — little seen South Carolina work. So little seen that I couldn’t even get a copy when I was working on my (unfinished) thesis on Southern Universalism in 1992-3. But now you can read…

The Evangelists manual; or A guide to Trinitarian Universalists: Containing articles explanatory of the doctrines, tenets and faith of the Associates of the Primitive, Apostolic Church of the Trinitarian Universalists, in the city of Charleston. : To which is prefixed five introductory sections. And the eighteen articles of the Church, concluded with thirteen propositions, and an appeal to the Christian world. : With a copious index. (1829)

Historical note: Paul Dean was their minister for a few months. They dubbed him bishop, to the cocked eyebrows of the Universalists up north.

Another Christian Universalist blogs

Please also follow Christian Universalist minister David Spatz at his new blog Christian Universalist Fellowship.

He was ordained last year under the auspices of the Christian Universalist Association — the most robust, I think, of a constellation of small Universalist groups distinct from the Unitarian Universalist Association. He also sits on its board. (So perhaps the “Independent Universalist” moniker isn’t right, but will do until I come up with something better.)

And — heavens! — he lives in Maryland, less than an hour or so from me.