Easier to find images for reuse

The BoingBoing-noted launch of a Google image search feature makes finding images sorted by Create Commons license much easier.

Take, for example this search for images labled unitarian or universalist that are available for reuse and modification, but not in commercial applications.

Useful, too: found this nineteenth-century picture of old First Universalist, Minneapolis, which looks like the spitting image of (still) First Universalist, Providence. Who knew? Makes me wonder if there was a relationship or influence, like through its ministers or through Tufts. (One of Tufts’s presidents of the period was a former minister at Providence.)

Use your voice, less electricity to save mountains

Cranky Cindy wrote about mountaintop coal mining, and the environmental disaster is causes.

Universalist fun fact: the much-reported town deluged by coal ash, Harriman, Tennessee, was the site of the church extension project of the Young People’s Christian Union, a predecessor to Unitarian Universalist young adult ministries.

Not-so-fun fact: coal is not clean. It pollutes the air, and in mining districts it pollutes the water and soil.

And if you use grid electricity in the United States, you’re probably a part of the system that allows this to happen. That includes the power that runs my computer. So I try to use less, and learn more about mountaintop mining. Next comes the advocacy.

Last week, I attended the Nonprofit Technology Conference in San Francisco for work. One of the sessions I attended was about online mapping tools. One of the presenters was from iLoveMountains.org, which uses maps and video to make the connections between mountaintop mining and your electricity.

Learn those connections. Use less electricity. Advocate for cleaner technologies and mining communities.

Dubious Murray reference in proposed Priniciples and Purposes

Steve Caldwell (Liberal Faith Development) put the proposed bylaws amendment — a.k.a. the new Principles and Purposes — at his site. I don’t think they’re great and I don’t think they’re horrible, and it much better than the earlier draft. I know the revision study was long-mandated, but this seems to be an invented need, rather than a real one and there are plenty of real needs out there, vital new congregation organization among them. (Or we need independent actors to supplant the services the UUA isn’t providing.)

Still, I have one editorial concern: the paraphrase of Murray’s charge to the Americans they use to describe Universalist, the one which begins “give the people not hell, but hope and courage.” I have real doubts that it came from Murray — or that it’s even all that old — and while it makes for an OK devotional slogan, anything that ends up in so fundamental a document should be clear of confection or artificiality.

So I would rather it be proved to be authentic (indeed, that would make me quite happy) or a different description of Universalist should be offered in its place. I don’t expect this to happen, but then again I don’t think this document will capture the hearts and minds of Unitarian Universalists as earlier versions did. That said, I don’t think any version could.

On this day in 1788: Murray ordained

Or ordained for the second time, but as so much with early Universalism, the first was irregular enough to be legally suspect.

John Murray was the minister of the Independent Christian Church, Gloucester, Massachusetts; the record of the ordination follows after the jump, from Universalism in Gloucester, Mass. (1892, 191 ff.) A polity note: see the parallels between the institution of the parish and the proprietors and regular congregation. Oh, and the Shorter Catechism referenced is the Westminster Shorter Catechism!

Continue reading “On this day in 1788: Murray ordained”

"Manuals of Faith and Duty"

A small reference tool. Links to Google Books for a charming little set of “golden age of Universalism” doctrinal pocket-books. This is copied from the book notice for #10,  so the missing #7 and #8 shows they weren’t printed in order.  [Later. Found #7.] [Later. Fixed for #8.]

Manuals of Faith and Duty
Edited by Rev. J. S. Cantwell, D.D.

A series of short books in exposition of prominent teachings of the Universalist Church, and moral and religious obligations of believers. They are prepared by writers selected for their ability to present in brief compass an instructive and helpful Manual on the subject undertaken. The volumes are affirmative and constructive in statement, avoiding controversy, while specifically unfolding doctrines.

The Manuals of Faith and Duty are sold at 25 cents each. Uniform in size, style, and price.

I. The Fatherhood of God. By Rev. John Coleman Adams, D.D., Brooklyn, N.Y.
II. Jesus The Christ. By S. Crane. D.D., Earlville, Ill.
III. Revelation. By Isaac Morgan Atwood, D.D., President of the Theological School, Canon, N.Y.
IV. Christ in the Life. By Rev. Warren S. Woodbridge, Medford, Mass.
V. Salvation. By Orello Cone, D.D., President of Buchtel College, Akron, O.
VI. The Birth from Above. By Rev. Charles Follen Lee, Boston, Mass.
VII. The Saviour of the World. By Rev. Charles Ellwood Nash, D.D., Brooklyn, N.Y. (book notice)
VIII. The Church. By Rev. Henry W. Rugg, D.D., Providence, R.I. (1891)
IX. Heaven. By Rev. George Sumner Weaver, D.D., Canton, N.Y.
X. Atonement. by Rev. William Tucker, D.D., Camden, O.
XI. Prayer. by Rev. George H. Deere, D.D., Riverside, Cal.

James Relly's book, "Union"

While I’m cleaning out and finding useful files, I thought I would re-share the PDF book I made of James Relly’s 1759 “Union: or, a Treatise of the Consanguinity and Affinity between Christ and his Church.”

I have made this available at my (somewhat dormant) UniversalistChurch.net site, so I think this is the first time I’ve made it available here.


Different tune with Adin Ballou hymn text

C.W.S. at Conjubilant With Song, who commented on my recent Universalist hymnal post, recently wrote about Emily Swann Perkins, a Presbyterian tune composer. She matched one of her own tunes to “Years Are Coming, Speed them Onward”, a hymn by Universalist minister Adin Ballou.

An alternative to the much-labored Hyfrodol, as used in Singing the Living Tradition?

Cleaning up, finding resources and a Georgia resolution

I’ve been in a blogging funk lately. I have a couple of big articles I can’t bear to write, a house that Hubby and I need to begin packing, and when all else fails, I’ll blame the Washington August malaise.

I have however, been cleaning out more than a decade of old floppies and CD-ROMs, with the hope of having a workable sets of files and a backup “in the cloud,” that is, distributed over a set of large servers. But the nice thing about starting with more than 81 gigabyes (!) of data, is you find lovely old tidbits. I’ll be pulling those out until the funk passes.

The first, a resolution from the 1923 Georgia Universalist Convention on the death penalty:

Since our church believes and teaches that the purpose of all punishment is remedial that is should be administered in such a way as to cure the wrong doer,

Therefore be it resolved that we favor any legislation that looks to the ultimate abolishment of capital punishment.

Rev. Crumpton declared that in his opinion the Convention should not go on record as interfering with the law makers as regards capital punishment, and he desired this resolution be withdrawn.

Rev. Strain declared that he heartily favored the adoption of this resolution, and it was regularly moved and seconded that the resolution be adopted, and a show of hands gave a large majority in favor of its adoption.

UGC resolution . . . from 1874

Funny what you’ll find when you look. A couple of weeks ago, I was reading old Universalist General Convention minutes, available at Google Books. The proceedings of the 1874 convention, in New York City, were particularly interesting.

The sixty-seven delegates served a different role than our General Assembly delegates today. For one thing, the General Convention created State Conventions, which handled many of the routine fellowship matters centralized in Boston today. Commercial publishing houses and what we might call independent affiliates took care of many of the program pieces. There were no workshops or celebrations apart from morning and evening worship and a Convention sermon. (Deceased ministers and significant laypersons were remembered by resolution.) This left the General Convention with committee work, report auditing and meta-responsibilities, like domestic and international mission work (including building funds) and establishing fellowship in areas not covered by a State Convention, like my own Washington, D.C. (Not so much because it is the Federal City but because it didn’t have enough churches — indeed, it has only ever had one Universalist church — to qualify for Convention status. I don’t think Maryland or Virginia did either.)

But past these differences, some business verities remain. The delegates considered fund raising, defining fellowship with churches, making policy decisions, budgeting and support for multi-cultural ministries (funding a transferring Lutheran minister to establish Universalist parishes in German ethnic communities).

Much of the decision making was hashed out in a committee created by the Convention to create subcommittees to consider the Board of Trustees report and other overtures. The membership — the Rev. A. A. Miner, Mrs. Eliza W. Bailey, Rev. E. H. Chapin, E. W. Crowell, M. R. M. Wallace, Rev. D. C. Tomlinson and the Rev. B. F. Bowles — included some Universalist heavyweights.

They introduced an omnibus resolution which included remarkable non-discrimination planks. Women’s history buffs should particularly note these:

  • That it be the established polity of this Convention to exclude no person from its Board of Trustees, from any office or from any general committee now existing, or that it may create, on account of sex; and that it be its established policy to encourage the existence of no organization composed exclusively or men or women.
  • That to make possible the acceptance of the forgoing invitation, we recommend to State Conventions the election of Delegates to this Convention, without reference to sex, but with reference alone to fitness.

The reasoning? I suspect it has to do with the leadership women made with fundraising through the congregation-based Missionary Box program. (Indeed, later in the same meeting, a Committee of Five was established to superintend the program, with a majority of three positions reserved for women.) The same resolution encouraged support of the program, and “gratefully recogniz[ed] the good service” of the Woman’s Centenary Association and that the “proved capacity of women” to raise fund should lead the convention not only to include women in fund raising but “awaken[ing] a religious interest.”

And, with some bumps, that’s what happened.

There’s an old lesson there, and excuse me for bringing this to date. Power flows from showing up and producing, especially money needed to keep the staff paid and the lights on. Alas, the youth and young adult resolution passed this General Assembly makes demands on principle which sound a bit too much like an ultimatum — give us what we want or we’ll leave; yet, so many already leave — and, which all too often don’t hold up in practice. (The lesson of age, perhaps?) As I said before, if the youth and youth adults raised money — as indeed their predecessor organizations did — perhaps the attrition problem would take care of itself.