Saturday, October 28, 2006

from 1923 address....

"Sometimes I fear we fail fully to realize the conditions of many in our rural and small-town churches. We assemble in some fine church in a big city and from velvet cushions and gilded pews study the problems of the Church at large. Yonder in the background, quite beyond the range of our vision, are the poor, struggling congregations, burdened by debt, and with failing numbers, in hostile communities where the very name Universalist is anathema. Then, too, there are the scattered Universalists, hundreds of miles from their nearest fellows, no State Convention, no support from without, no fellowship even with kindred souls. For these, especially in the South and West, Universalism is a hard religion, and those who persist and carry on are the real heroes of the faith. I appeal to you in comfortable, united and prosperous congregations not to forget those less favored churches and church members."

- from Universalist General Convention President Roger S. Galer address
to the Universalist General Convention October 25, 1923

I first started to quote this because I was thinking of using "For these, especially in the South and West, Universalism is a hard religion, and those who persist and carry on are the real heroes of the faith." as a subhead for this blog - and I still might -- but then as I thought of it, particuarly the isolated Universalist, I thought ya know this is why God invented the internet......

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

UUCF Revival: Universalism - God's Reviving Grace

Theme: Universalism: God's Reviving Grace

When: Nov. 2-5, 2006 (full time and one-day registrations available)
Where: Fourth Universalist Society, 160 Central Park West at 76th St.,
( .
Who: UU Christians, UUs of any theological orientation, Christians of
different traditions, and all who are interested in a spirited engagement of the
heart and mind.
Keynoters: Professor and author Dr. Gary Dorrien lecturing Saturday, Nov.
4th, at 10:30 a.m. on "Liberal Theology Today: Crisis and Renewal in
Progressive Religion" and Pastor and Author Jim Mulholland lecturing Friday morning,
Nov. 3 at 10:30 a.m. on "Resisting Good News."
Schedule also includes:
Opening Worship, Thursday, Nov. 2, 7 p.m. led by Kim Hampton of St. Louis
Friday morning Nov. 3, Taize Service, 9 a.m. led by Chris Walton, editor of
UU World
Saturday morning Nov. 4 Communion Service, 9 a.m. led by Rev. Jeffrey Lane
Gould of Wilmslow, England
Saturday afternoon, Nov. 4, Prayer and Healing Service, 5 p.m. led by Rev.
Peter Boulatta of Peterborough, Ontario, Canada.
Sunday Morning Nov. 5 Worship, 10:45 a.m. led by Rev. Rosemary Bray McNatt
Workshops on Talkback with the Keynote Lecturers; UU Christianity, the UUCF,
church history, art, music, Small Groups, Sacred Poetry, led by Gary
Dorrien, Jim Mulholland, Tom Schade, Tim Jensen, Barbara Gadon, Dave Dawson, Suzanne
Small groups for more intimate conversation and focused bible study.
Socializing out in Manhattan together in the evenings.
Friday evening Catered Meal and Program.

Lodging Possibilities listed on the website:

Fees: Full time Adult $150. Full Time Under 18 $100. One-Day Adult $100.
One-Day Under 18 $50. Seminarians and Young Adults (under 35) Full Time $75 One
Day $50.

Thanks and blessings,
Rev. Ron Robinson

Sunday, October 22, 2006

The Real 1870s Story: the correction

"A Clerical Humorist

A friend relates to us the following anecdote: -
"Stopping over Sunday with a brother minister in New Hampshire, who lives near the Connecticut River, and being ourself a clergyman, we were naturally invited to preach for him. Just before the sermon, he said to us it was their custom to close with the Lord's Prayer, and as he should have a notice to give he would attend to the closing of the meeting. At the conclusion of the sermon we stepped aside and the pastor entered the desk and said: "Next Sunday I shall exchange pulpits with Brother B, of S., and, as congregations generally like to know something of strange ministers that they are to hear, I will say that Brother B is called the handsomest man in the State of Vermont. Let us pray". The oddity and ludicrousness of the remark about his Brother B. so distracted our thoughts that we could not command our attention in season to engage in the prayer that followed."

If Brother B. of S, Vermont was Universalist, it would be B. M. Tillotson of St, Johnsbury, Vermont.

Story from the Universalist Register 1875, written by one of the Rev. Skinner(s).

So, now that I ran the real story; anybody got a picture of the Rev Tillotson so we can see if he was indeed the best looking guy in the state of Vermont.

blogging and 1870s story

I was going to post this below mild story on another blog - but that blog just removed commenting and their email address -- and now only allow "team members" to post. Not sure if this is just a response to an abusive poster (my guess) or a temporary accident or what. But it does explain why everyone of my blogs in now comment moderated.

and as soon as I post a non-history stuff, I hear about the possiblity of linkage of various history sites and blogs -- so now I have to figure if I want to continue to add non-history universalism stuff to this blog or not... hmmm


you might then (or might not) appreciate this story - taken from an 1870s Universalist publication.

The preacher told us that the Church always ended with the Lords Prayer, and that he gave annoucements right before that. So after the sermon, he got to the annouements and said "Next week, the pulpit will be supplied by Rev Skinner. I know that most of you want to know a little bit about a strange pastor, so I'll say that he has been called the best looking pastor in Maine....." Needless to say after annoucement, we didnt pay as much attention as we should have to the prayer.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Universalists and Universalism thoughts - non-history

I talked to someone today who's daughter died this week - and the parent had to make a decision about continual lifesurport....
lots of problems in their relationship, and she died as a result of her troubles. Her lifestyle was extemely unhealtful and as everyone told her, it would kill her, which of course it did. I could go on describing how wretched she had made herself in the name of what she thought was happiness. I listen to a griving parent who sacrificed time, money, energy, peace of mind, for a child that never said "I love you".....
"Why did" i was asked "she have to die?"

That's the question ministers are asked, but Im no minister - when it's a parent of a young woman, aasking about the death of the mother of a 6 year old child, it's more heart rendering too....
... I was able to bring some relief....

To bring the title of this thought to the topic, I thought of Universalism and Universalists, and why I am an Universalist.
One of the basic tennets (as I understand it) is that God is Love, and that to do wrong (ie: sin) is to suffer from not being with God. This woman (who I knew for years before I knew her parent) was definately doing wrong, and I certainly feel she was suffering for years. I can not speak with authority, I can only speak my heart -- that parent loved their child with all their heart, and stuck with her as best they could, and would God do less that that? and after trying for 26 years, would God then shrug and punish her for 26,000 plus years? That's the classic Universalist question, to which the Us would say a stong "No!". There is just punishement for doing wrong (sin), but just punishement is just that: just.
Would God punish the parent for the sins of the child? Some folks actually believe God would, and certainly that parent is suffering now as well...but to suffer for their child through all eternity?

I didnt mention Universalism to this parent, but I did attempt to give them "Not Hell, but Hope and Courage".

I dont usually offer much non-history here, Im not a minister, nor claim to be...nor a theologian,
I do see human suffering on a daily basis, so I certainly see the need for the Hope, Charity, Kindness, Love... and the need for Universalists of any denomination....

Universalists in Charleston - part B

Jehovah's Fitness wrote inquiring about Universalists in Charleston...
- see

for what I know on the Charleston Universalists.

I also previously on this blog wrote a blurb about the missing "No-Hell cemetery" in Charleston.

however, recently I read in the Charleston Geanological society newsletter than a new "old" cemetery was found there this year (2006), and I wondered if this might the Universalist cemetery. As far as I know Shecut's (who is historically important in SC history) - gravesite is unknown.
your question awakens me to the fact that they are not listed in the 1846 or 1850 Universalist Companion. I don't have any of the earliest issues - but if Rev Case was there until 1844, and Rev Newell in the 1850s, why isn't it in the Register?

Maxey B. Newell (1807 - 1868)
born Ma, in Ma in 1840,in Norfork Va from 1840 - 1844, in Rhode Island 1845, 1849, Vermont 1868. (dates may be wrong) - but does have time to be in Charleston in the 1850s. Fisk made the papers quite a bit when he was there, quite a rebel rouser (and left the ministry to become a professional rebel rouser).
nor do I have access to anything that might give a clue as to who besides Shecut was a member.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

S. M. Simons (1817 -1893)

The Rev S. M. Simons was the puzzle in my search for pre-Civil War Universalist ministers. I've been unable to find out a thing about him, he wasn't mentioned in Father Clayton's autobiography - he wasn't famous like N. P. Walker or J. A. Chapman; or a writer and circuit rider like Allen Fuller - and unlike J. Mullikin, he wasn't even in the census ....

While actually, he was in the census.... But between Census takers getting his name wrong and Universalist Almanac getting his name in a non-traditional spelling, I couldn't find him. Earlier this week, I found his full name, his burial site, and a beginning of information about him.

Silas Milton Simons (1817-1893) was born in South Carolina and spent most of his life in what is now Aiken County (it had been both Lexington and Orangeburg County while he was there), near Black Creek and Steedman's. He, like so many southerners, went by his middle name. His wife was Susan Simons. In 1843, he was ordained an Universalist minister. He maintained those work until his death in 1893. Sometime between 1881 and 1888, he and his family and sons and daughters moved to Ramsey, Arkansas. Where he is burred in a family cemetery.
After his death, some tragedy (I assume viral) took the life of his two sons and a daughter in just a week in 1913.

At this time, I don't know what kind of person Rev Simons was. The 1880 census has him listed as a farmer (not surprising, all ministers living on a farm in SC are listed in that census as farmers); I don't know is doctrine, or his passions, I don't know what sort of person he was. But I do know he preached and believed in the Universal Reconciliation of man and God. And he preached that in rural South Carolina for 40 years.
Today inbetween Steedman and the Black Creek is the ( a small u) universalist Pauline Church of Christ. While I have no idea how much their other beliefs and the Rev Simons beliefs coincide, and I don't want to suggest that Simons had anything to do with their church - other than to say that he helped tilled the soil that they are now weeding. And I suspect that Rev Simons would be appreciative of knowing that preaching of God's eventual reconciliation with all mankind continues in his backyard.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Universalist Miscellany 1843

Because of family emergencies, I wasnt able to sit down with Rogers book and an atlas,
this weekend....

so instead, Southern Universalism taken from the Universalist Miscellany July 1843- June 1844. Rev Otis Skinner and E. H. Chapin, co-editors
Chapin had been minister in Richmond Virginia.

#1 July 1843
"Experimental Proof the Highest Evidence for the Truth of Christianity" (E. H. Chapin)

#5 November 1843
United States Convention of Universalists. met in Akron Ohio, in September 1843.
Rev. E. M.Pringree of kentucky, asst Clerk
"resolved that this Convention does not recognize, but diapproves any test of fellowhip in our denomination, or a fitness for a seat in our councils, other than those founded on christian faith and characther, and established by Chirst and his apostles."
(this is response to a vote last session that it is improper for persons who drink alchol to be a delegate). also passed a motion that slave owners re-consider the policy of bondage. Next convention to be in Baltimore in September of 1844.
George Rogers was a deligate from Ohio. E. M. Pingree and A.W. Bruce representing Kentucky.

#8 Febuary 1844
"Dissertation on the Word Gehenna (L. Willis) currently in Mass, later Charleston

#9 March 1844
"The Father Seen In the Son" (E. M. Pingree)
"Christ and the Woman of Samaria" (E. H. Chapin)

#11 May 1844
"Human Nature" (E. H Chapin)

not alot, but next volume (1844-5) contains lists of new ministers and new churches.