Archives search: a nicely laid-out order of service

My day at the Andover-Harvard Library archives was running out, so I wanted to see what I could as quickly as possible, including the files related to an ad hoc organization opposed to the creation of the Unitarian Universalist Association, from a minority of Universalists and Unitarians alike.

One of the opposing Unitarian churches was First Church, Boston, and the minister editorialized through orders of service, so these were included in the  file. The controversy aside, I thought it had value as a format.

The order was four pages: one leaf folded, and printed the usual way like a booklet. Since I don’t know the copyright status of the order of services, I won’t post them; it may be legitimate fair use, but the value is in the form (rather than the content) so I may replicate that later. A description will do.

Page one:

  • Name of the church
  • Names and title of the ministers
  • Date and time
  • Outline order of service with dialogues, responses and doxology printed out
  • Name and title of organist

Page two:

  • Responsive reading

Page three:

  • A pastoral meditation (being the anti-consolidation opinion piece), signed with initials
  • Staff list (or on page four)

Page four:

  • Notices, in a mix of one and two columns
  • Staff list and address (or on page three)

Not radical, but a some interesting features.

  • tightly edited notices reduce or eliminate the need for a church newsletter
  • the minister’s meditation provides another avenue for principled and educational communication; I wonder if it was used for pledging?
  • bored with the service? you can read that meditation instead
  • folded backwards, to expose pages 2 and 3, you have a welcome reminder of church to be extracted later in the week from your bag…
  • …or a pleasing representation of the church to share with others
  • one leaf means less paper and less cost, and extras can easily be printed on the fly

Of course, yours would be photocopied or laser printed, rather than job printing. That’s something you couldn’t do in 1959!

By Scott Wells

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


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