“Bishop of the Universalists”


Presented for your amusement. You hear of bishops from time to time among the Universalists — Paul Dean’s Charleston, S.C. ministry comes to mind — but always accompanied by hot words.

From the California Digital Newspaper CollectionSan Francisco Call, (Volume 85, Number 166), May 15, 1899


LOS ANGELES, May 14.— The most important action during the recent Universalist State Convention in Pasadena was the election of a state superintendent of churches, or what in other denominations would be called a bishop. The convention having created the office, Rev. L. M. Andrews of Santa Paula was by vote elevated to the position. According to the records. Rev. Mr. Andrews is the first Universalist bishop of California.


By Scott Wells

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


  1. It’s interesting how different polities handle the issue of multi-church, regional administration. But in terms of polity-geek curiosity, I’ve wondered if the functions Anglicans and Lutherans invest in bishops, are functions that the Universalist State Convention handled collectively? Effectively making the apostolic function, a function of the collective convention, with the superintendent functioning as a kind of field secretary?

    The contemporary (UUA) assignment of those apostolic functions (eg. clergy endorsement, discipline of congregational misconduct, regional cultivation of the faith, etc.) seems even more complicated (and perhaps less accountable to the body of the membership).

  2. By congregational misconduct I am not writing of clergy misconduct, but about instances where congregations as a community engage in unethical behavior.

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