Universalist polity document from 1951

Since I earlier opined that some of our conflicted Unitarian Universalist polity is the product of Universalist and Unitarian inheritances, I thought it best to “show my work” — or rather, some original documents.

1951 Universalist Laws of Fellowship, Government and Discipline

Some carryovers are obvious, and some fixes necessary. I recall a senior minister telling me of how a General Convention in the 1950s ground to a halt, as it was the final court of review. Can you imagine a General Assembly stopping in its tracks over a MFC matter? Well, I can, but I wouldn’t want to… But I also think there are protections lost from over-correction. What other continuations do you see? Things you’d like to see come back?

I’m also reorganizing and cleaning up the my documents site — UniversalistChurch.net — a bit, and will add more documents as time allows.

One day later: I’ve edited and put up the set from 1946. http://universalistchristian.net/…/1946-universalist…/

Noteworthy changes 1946 to 1951: higher standards for parishes and the education of ministers; easier to deactivate or sidestep under/dysfunctional state conventions. Note sure it’s germaine, but the 1946 set was job printed and bound, and the 1951 set was mimeographed and stapled. But the laws would go through three more revisions, until 1958, which should be seen less as Universalist than as pre-UUA.

Author: Scott Wells

Scott Wells, 46, is a Universalist Christian minister doing Universalist theology and church administration hacks in Washington, D.C.

1 thought on “Universalist polity document from 1951”

  1. I want to comment more about this later (if I get some free time to organize my thoughts)… But it seems very interesting to me to apply the practice of fellowship to congregations and conventions. Its also very interesting to see a Fellowship Committee that is more than just an organ of the ministerial guild / professional association. But an entity that combines lay and ordained leadership at multiple levels (regional and national) of crafting right relationships across the community.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *