Sunday, June 15, 2008

Georgia Universalist Churches: the later years 1960s - now

I'm starting near the end here, rather than the beginning.
This is because I'm not sure when it started in Georgia , and neither was "The No Hell People" (circa 1986) written by William H. Belkan. The first Georgia Universalist Convention was established July 1838.

Georgia was another state that didn't enjoy the Roaring 20s, suffering under the rural depression effecting other southern states - which resulted in Preachers and residents heading north, looking for work.

the SC Universalist Convention ended, so Clayton Memorial of Newberry SC joined the Georgia Convention in 1939 (NHP).

Merger talks with the Unitarians started seriously in the 1950s and several of the Georgia churches were against it; and sent a pention denoucing the idea. Among those churches were Allatoona, Bowers Chapel. and Loganville (Windsor). In 1959, the vote was held and the Georgia Universalist Convention affiliated churches voted against it.

by the time of the merger with the Unitarians in 1961, there were maybe 6 Churches left.
Canon, Senoia, Winder, and Windsor. Atlanta was a resurrection by the Unitarians of the Unitarian killed "United Liberal Church" and the fellowship in Athens was listed in the 1961 and 1962 Unitarian Universalist Directory as the "Universalist Unitarian Fellowship".

What happened to Bowers Chapel and Allatoona, I cant at this time say. they either disbanded or never joined the UUA.

Atlanta was the biggest by far with 355 members in 1961, and 419 members in 1962. We dont know the membership of Athens for those years. Canon had 46 members, Windsor has 28 and Senoia had 20. We dont know the membership of Winder for those years.

by 1976 and 1978, Athens was a regular Unitarian Universalist Fellowship . Atlanta had increased its numbers to over a thousand, and changed their name to Unitarian Universalist Congregation. Their Universalist roots appear lost - and It doesnt seem that either was a member of the Georgia Universalist Convention. Canon had 15-20 members, Senoia had 14-15, Winder had 10. Windsor (Loganville) was no longer affiliated with the UUA.

By the mid 1980s, Windsor (Loganville) was struggling with the decision to stop services, and at some point in the late 1980s, it do so, now having a yearly reunion that continues to this day (per Scott Wells 2008 website). Winder dropped out of the UUA sometime in the late 1990s, but is apparently still having services in their historic Rockwell Church.
The Georgia Convention continues and Canon and Clayton Memorial (Newberry SC) continue to have services twice monthly. But have regular ministers preaching on those Sundays. Both have web pages.

there are (I hear) other small u Universalist Churches in modern Georgia, but they are not connected with the historic Universalist Convention. I also dont know enough about the modern Georgia UUA congregations to speculate on their universalism (of any kind) or lack thereof.

addition: somehow I forgot to mention that the Senoia Church ended in the late 1990s, the building was sold to a couple that made a home of it. As of early 2000, they welcomed old members of the congregation into their home.

late addition: Removed was my comment of the end of the Georgia Universalist Convention. I was misinformed, and glad to hear that I was.



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2 comments:

SC Universalist said...

from GW

"The convention last until at least middle 2000. the last president was a "young man" who was member of the Windsor church but actually live i think in Athens. Windser still has monthly services by a fairly Orthodox preacher.
Unfortunately never attended a convention.
At the merger I tried to get someone from the Univ church named to the TJ board--but they said there was already someone. A nice but useless man from the Atlanta church who had been born a Univ but grew up in Atlanta. By 1962 Atlanta was really just Unit. I think he was the only Univ in the church.
The TJ director was Hoffman who said to me "we are not here to serve southerners, but rather UU from the north who are now living here." A polemic leftist.
If I remember the Charleston church had a blue ceiling with white fan trim but this is depending on 50 year old memory so no guarantee."

SC Universalist said...

typo here, it's Winder that has monthly services.